Blair Around the World: Jazz students tour Columbia

Colombia-bound Blair students Nate Spratford, saxophone; Patrick Kenny, guitar; Gabe Barnard, bass; and Miles Buchmann, drums.

A quartet of Blair jazz students, program director Ryan Middagh, and bass instructor Rob Linton will embark on a performance and educational tour of Colombia June 9-23. The schedule will include seven live performances and 10 workshops hosted by the group at the Universitaria Del Bella Artes in Medellín, Bellas Artes Institute in Amenia, Universidad de Caldas, and other schools.

Spearheaded by Ryan Middagh, the trip marks the third Blair visit to Colombia since 2016. Most recently, the award-winning Blair Big Band toured the country in 2019. Student musicians traveling this month include Nate Spratford, saxophone; Patrick Kenny, guitar; Gabe Barnard, bass; and Miles Buchmann, drums.

“Each of our visits has been highly impactful for our students and the relationships we continue to build in the region,” said Middagh. “We look forward to being ambassadors for our university and exploring a multitude of collaborations, which is at the heart of the art of jazz.”

Blair’s jazz program continues to earn national accolades, recently winning a 13th Downbeat Magazine Student Music Award. The Blair Big Band was a 2023 finalist in the Jack Rudin Jazz Championship at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, and Blair School of Music hosted the International Jazz Composers’ Symposium May 16-18, 2024.