Auburn Knights Orchestra

The Auburn Knights Alumni Association (AKAA) will be hosting its 89th annual reunion on July 12 and 13 to celebrate the music and legacy of the Auburn Knights Orchestra — America’s oldest, continually operating jazz big band.

The reunion will take place at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort & Spa at Grand National.

Founded in 1930 by 10 students at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, the Auburn Knights Orchestra quickly evolved into a formidable regional jazz band playing gigs throughout the Southeast.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the Auburn Knights Orchestra gained widespread recognition as one of the top college swing bands in the country. Now, 89 years later, the Auburn Knights Orchestra continues to thrive as a favorite for wedding receptions, swing dances and other special occasions where audiences expect high caliber music.

Notable Knights alums have included Marion Evans, the Grammy Award-winning arranger for Tony Bennett; Urbie Greene, Guggenheim Fellowship jazz trombonist; Tony Tennille of the Captain and Tennille; Dave Edwards, longtime saxophonist with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra; drummer Sonny Harris, member of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame; and Auburn’s own Jonathan Smith, music director of the recent Broadway musical, “A Bronx Tale.” Countless other alums have enjoyed successful careers as band directors, teachers, businessmen, engineers, lawyers, physicians and performers.

Each year, Auburn Knights alums and friends return to the Plains to celebrate their musical heritage. To that end, the AKAA extends a warm invitation to the public to enjoy the incredible musical performances during this year’s festivities.

Evening concerts will feature several bands playing the music of various eras, reaching a climax on Saturday night when the current Auburn Knights Orchestra will take the stage to blow the roof off the joint!

A cash bar will be available as well as a dance floor for those so inclined to “trip the light fantastic!”

Nightly admission at the door will be $10 for adults and $5 for students with identification.

A poolside Jazz Brunch featuring Knights alums and other musicians will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 12. The music will be free and music lovers will be able to purchase food from the Patio Bar or a Barbecue Buffet. Afterwards, a “Matinee Band” composed of Auburn Knights and friends will be performing in the Grand Ballroom from 2 to 3:30 p.m. There will be no charge for this very casual event.

In the Knights Archives Room, memorabilia from the storied history of the Auburn Knights will be available for viewing. Silent Auction items will also be on display and folks will be able to bid on fabulous items donated by local businesses, as well as unique items crafted or donated by Auburn Knights families and friends.

Proceeds from the Silent Auction will benefit the AKAA Scholarship Fund which has awarded over $70,000 in AU scholarships to qualified Auburn Knights since 1971. Besides Silent Auction bids, individuals or businesses who wish to support the AKAA nonprofit organization are encouraged to make a tax free donation.

Performances each night will be:

 

Friday, July 12

7 p.m. — The 30s Alumni Tribute Band

7:30 pm. — The 40s/50s Era Alumni Band

8:30 p.m. — Urbie Green Trombone Tribute

9 p.m. — The 60s Era Alumni Band

10 p.m. — The 70s/80s Era Band

 

Saturday, July 13

7 p.m. — The 30s Alumni Tribute Band

7:30 p.m. — The 90s/2000 Era Band

8:30 p.m. — Urbie Green Trombone Tribute

9 p.m. — The 2019 Auburn Knights Orchestra

 

For more information, go to auburnknightsalumni.org.

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