Editorial: The Auburn Knights – 7/22/10
In 1930 a group of student musicians at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now known as Auburn University, formed a swing band… not such an unusual event at the time. What is unusual is that The Auburn Knights Orchestra is still playing music… 80 years later.
Unless you're a fan, you may not know that the likes of Ziggy Elman, Buddy Rich and even Frank Sinatra have performed with the Knights. Through the years band members have gone on to play with Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, and Lawrence Welk, to name a few. Montgomery's own Toni Tenille was a singer with the Knights.
This weekend, as they have done every year since 1956, The Auburn Knights are having their annual reunion, and the public is invited. Knights orchestras from every decade will play a set, even a 1930's decade group, of which there is still at least one living, playing member.
Through recent years of rock and roll, punk, electronica and hip hop, big band music may seem an anachronism, but the Auburn Knights Orchestra is always comprised of college age musicians, keeping that genre alive.
Music, arguably, has a greater impact on the human condition than politics or scandals or even governments. What these student musicians have done over the past 80 years and continue to do is important and noteworthy, not to mention enjoyable.