New Love for NOLA

Jazz Band A visited New Orleans for an “immersive” experience in jazz culture.


Photo courtesy of Alexis Battin.

Music is universal; there’s no set time or place to listen to or play it. However, for people who want to see and hear jazz music to its fullest, then there’s one place that’s a must-visit; New Orleans. That’s exactly where Jazz A went on a trip together to immerse in the music and culture.

Katelyn Rose, a junior, describes the trip as a “step forward and up” in the band’s knowledge of jazz music.

“The trip was to help us experience the culture of jazz music and learn more about its roots and origins,” Rose said. 

According to senior Alexis Battin, back in 2020, both jazz bands (A and B) had taken a trip to New Orleans. Jazz A wanted to visit again this year to re-experience “the heart of jazz.” 

“[The city] truly was amazing. There was music everywhere in the streets; both inside and outside restaurants, different bands and musicians were playing,” Battin said. 

The trip lasted from March 13-17. During this time, the band explored New Orleans and learned much about the history and culture of jazz music.

“Before we went to New Orleans, we all liked jazz, of course, but going gave us a greater passion for it,” Rose said.

The band also had an opportunity to perform at Jackson Square- an experience that was in fact, unplanned.

“One of the venues we were planning to perform at fell through,” senior Shreya Wunnava said. “So because of that, we became pretty active in trying to find another outlet to play at. We [found] out that you could perform at Jackson Square- so we got together at the time we were supposed to have our original performance and played our [music] there [instead].”

Battin said that the experience was “incredible”- watching the crowd form and “fuel” their music provided the band with a lot of confidence, according to her. The group also went to the New Orleans Jazz Museum, the National World War II Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art.

“We’re always playing music- but we never see the depths of the background of it, and that [trip] brings forth a whole new perspective,” Rose said.

The New Orleans Jazz Museum was founded in 1961- some of their current exhibits feature the evolution of music in the city and different artists such as jazz musician Louis Prima and visual artist Frederick J. Brown. The museum also has listening stations, various instruments, and recording areas.

“The Jazz Museum was really revealing,” Wunnava said. “It was a beautiful experience.  There were lots of artifacts, artwork and backgrounds of monumental jazz artists. It was great for everyone to be in a space like that.”

Jazz A was also able to participate in a clinic with Jazz Professor Dr. Gordon Towell from Loyola University New Orleans. According to Rose, he was able to help them work out the kinks in their music, as well as give them different ways to play their music together.

“We discovered a deeper meaning behind every note,” Wunnava said. “For every single standard we played, we grew to understand it more. We heard amazing musicians play in a way that a lot of people may not have heard before. We saw the soul and beauty behind [jazz music], and that allowed us to better translate our emotions into how we play our music.”