[Spotlight] A family affair: Coltrane siblings play at annual festival named for father
Thousands filled High Point’s Oak Hollow Festival Park over Labor Day Weekend to see numerous acts perform but the event meant something special to at least two performers.
Michelle and Ravi Coltrane were two of the acts at the eight annual John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival.
“I’m always honored to partake in something that is historical and helps prolong the legacy of my parents, Alice and John Coltrane,” Michelle said.
The star-studded event was included performances from Gregory Porter, Pete Escovedo Orchestra featuring his daughter Shelia E., Dianne Reeves, Jackie Venson, Lee Ritenour, Jazzmeia Horn, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Coltrane Jazz All-Star Band and the Coltrane Jazz Youth Band.
“This festival was never meant to emulate Coltrane but to honor him. Coltrane loved all types of music. That’s why we work to make sure the festival is made up of good, solid talent,” said festival organizer Joe Williams.
The student essay contest, offered by the Friends of John Coltrane, Inc., gives middle and high school students across North Carolina an opportunity to receive a free instrument of their choosing by submitting an essay explaining their music aspirations, affinities and needs. The new instruments are presented, on stage, to winning students by the festival headliners.
This year, those instruments were presented by Michelle Coltrane, herself with some words of encouragement. She called the contest “reverberations” of her parent’s hard work.
“This is the lasting memory of what both of my parents wished – a legacy,” she said. “Someone in that group is going to connect with that instrument, and they will leave a legacy of their own behind.”
Danielle Foust is beginning her freshman year at North Carolina A&T State University and said the new piccolo she received is not only a great burden off her shoulders but instrumental to her new position in the school’s marching band.
“I get to have my own instrument versus having to use a university instrument and knowing that when I do go home and need to practice, I’ll have something that I can rely on,” Foust said. “It’s a new beginning for me and my musical career with a new instrument.”
Jordan Hamilton, a junior a Dudley High School, received a Euphonium he plans to put to good use. He said he received the news after coming home from his second day of school and was ecstatic to learn he’d won.
“This feels like a major accomplishment. At my school, we have a lack of instruments. This will allow me to practice on my own time and help out others who need help with their instruments,” Hamilton said. “I will let my peers to know about this, so they can learn about Coltrane, what he did and hopefully win an instrument for themselves.
For more information on the John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival or how to apply for the student essay contest, visit the website.