The accolades keep rolling in from the internationally acclaimed musicians who played the recent 10th annual Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival.
The common theme is of the musicians being amazed at the quality of the Festival for a small rural Iowa town, and the expertise, friendliness, and charm exhibited by the event organizers, volunteers, supporters, and music-loving fans.
International jazz and blues singing star, teacher, and clinician Kevin Mahogany, who performed in the first Festival 17 years ago, was very impressed with this year's Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival and asked repeatedly why it took so long for Cherokee to have him back to perform.
All in good humor, former Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation Director R.J. Baker, who initially started the Festival back in the early 90s and atended Mahogany's Concert this year, was asked by Mahogany if he had lost his telephone number because Cherokee never called to invite him back.
When asked for his take on this year's Festival, Mahogany replied, "It has been a long time since I was last in Cherokee. But the people are still as nice as they were then and everyone was very helpful. I wish our concert was a little better attended, but I know it was a lot of music over that weekend.
"I didn't get to attend any of the Pub Crawls. I got in the day before my performance and was too tired to go out. Also, coming from the weather in Florida to the weather in Iowa made it easier for me to stay in and get some rest (smile).
While the laid-back Mahogany was well-pleased with his time here, guitarist nonpareil Glenn Alexander, a frequent performer here, was, once again amazed with this year's Festival.
Alexander plays with the Mark Pender Band and also has his own Glenn Alexander Trio, and is a coveted guitarist on the entire East Coast and abroad.
"I thank everyone for an amazing weekend," Alexander e-mailed to Festival principal organizers Jim Adamson and Dan Meloy. "I have never performed anywhere in the world where the people are as inspiring, hospitable, supportive, gracious, helpful, hard working, and friendly as in Cherokee.
"It is truly a magical place and I am in awe every time I come there. Everyone works together to put on an event that you simply cannot describe to anyone (as they are in disbelief) and that you have to be there to experience. I came home completely exhausted but loved every minute of it.
"I have made some great friends in Cherokee, played great music with great musicians, partied way too hard, and laughed hard................I haven't cried yet.......Dan (Meloy) please don't make that happen!!!
"Again, to all of you, 'I Thank You.' As Sam & Dave sang, "You didn't have to do what you did but I Thank You!"
These are striking testimonials to the quality and love-spreading vibes involved in the Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival, right from the heart of some of the world's most talented Jazz & Blues performers, who simply can't wait for the next one.
Take a bow, Cherokee!