Children gather to listen to jazz professionals play at the Rootabaga Jazz Festival, which is supported through a grant from Galesburg Community Foundation's The Turnout.

The Turnout strikes a high note for area children and students

Knox College’s Jazz Year brings artists from the world’s stages to the region for multiple events and educational programming. Through The Turnout, area children and students of all ages can participate in these immersive experiences with world-renowned artists, learning about the power of creativity and improvisation and developing an interest in the arts.

“Our best teachers are often these professional musicians. Being able to see and interact with them is an amazing opportunity for our students,” says Andy Empey, Galesburg CUSD 205 Director of Bands and District Fine Arts Coordinator. “It also inspires our elementary students to one day pick up an instrument and join our band or choir programs.”

Every year, Galesburg Community Foundation awards grants to regional nonprofits through its annual grant cycle, The Turnout. In addition to Knox Jazz Year, 36 organizations that submitted proposals were fully funded in 2023.

Grants for The Turnout come from the Community Foundation’s unrestricted Impact Fund and Field of Interest Funds along with contributions from generous community donors who hold Donor Advised Funds at the Community Foundation. “Through The Turnout, funders have the opportunity to learn about the work of local nonprofits and support the causes they care about, elevating the culture of philanthropy in our region,” says Jillian Isaacson, Director of Grants and Programs at the Community Foundation.

This year’s Rootabaga Jazz Festival, part of Knox College’s Jazz Year, is May 14-18. Grammy-nominated trumpeter Victor Gracia and his quartet will tour seven area schools, performing for elementary, junior high, and high school students. Rootabaga Kids, an interactive program for children and families, will be at the new Galesburg Public Library featuring Victor Garcia’s Latin Sextet.

Local junior high and high school jazz bands will even have the opportunity to perform at the festival. “The highlight of the week is seeing our students perform for our community at the Galesburg Community Art Center as well as seeing the Knox Jazz Ensemble,” says Empey. “It is such a fun and inspirational week of music!”

To learn more about The Turnout, contact Jillian Isaacson at 309-344-8898 or email

Photo courtesy of Andy Empey, Galesburg CUSD 205

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Haley Sloss

Charitable Giving Coordinator

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Haley provides support to enhance the function and success of the Charitable Giving and Affiliate Teams. She ensures donors receive a personal approach to philanthropy through outstanding customer service by supporting charitable giving for donors and fund holders across the state.