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Something beautiful

(From left) Missouri natives McKayla Smith and Emma Short enjoy Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue's performance at The 2018 Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in Columbia on Sunday Sept. 30. The pair traveled from their current home of New Orleans, Trombone Shorty's birthplace, for the festival. Photo by Maya Bell.


As the clouds reflected the bright orange of the sunset, thrilling solos and energetic call and responses echoed through the crowded fields of Stephens Lake Park. For the second time, New Orleans, LA, native Troy Andrews amazed the audience during the 2018 Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival. Andrews, a talented trombonist, gained the nickname “Trombone Shorty” at a young age for his musical abilities; trombone, singing, percussion and keyboard.

Trombone Shorty broke into a breathless minutes-long trombone solo. The audience stood still and then suddenly roared in admiration as he jokingly collapsed to the ground, bringing an end to the spotlight moment.

With powerful riffs and magnetic charisma, Trombone Shorty drew flocks of festival-goers to the Missouri Lottery Stage of Roots N Blues. One audience member recounts the performance and a part of the show that stood out to her.

“I have a lot of favorite [artist from Roots N Blues], but this one is in my top two,” Marjorie Beenders said. “I think it was outstanding, one of the most energetic shows of the entire festival. They did not stop one second.”

Theatrics, bright lights and liveliness characterized the Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue show. Despite the rambunctious nature, the performers occasionally paused and connected to the audience on a personal level. Trombone Shorty sang “Something Beautiful” and pointed to one woman in a crowd of hundreds of fans.

“I was on this side [of the stage], but [I saw that] he gave a shout out [to my niece],” Beenders said.

So she could see Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue in concert, Beenders’ niece, Emma Short, travelled to Columbia from her home of New Orleans for Roots N Blues. Sporting her New Orleans’ Saints football team jersey with a beer in one hand, Short danced and smiled at the very front of the crowd.

“He’s coming to Central [Missouri], and during the first performance of the first song, he noticed the Saints’ shirt, so he gave a shout out to New Orleans,” Beenders said. “And so I think it was just a comfort thing.”

Whether Trombone Shorty recognized her jersey in the audience or simply found Short stunning, the moment of connection between fan and performer speaks to the atmosphere of Roots N Blues.

“Anybody that was here that didn’t have a good time,” Beenders said, “just didn’t know what a good time was.”

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