Rob Hayes—Berklee assistant VP for external affairs, tour supervisor, and jazzhead—blogs about the Hailey Niswanger Quartet’s summer journey so far.

Last night the eagle appeared, out over the harbor.  Right on time.

Today, this morning, I am filled with hope, and gratitude for all I have, all that’s been done for me.  I am road-managing a jazz band, on tour through some of the most beautiful places that one can see.

I’m Rob Hayes, and I direct Berklee Presents, touring some the college’s most talented musicians around North America.  This (above) is where the band and I woke up today.  That’s the ferryboat we got here on.  Salt Spring Island, a short ferry ride from Victoria, in the island group between Vancouver Island, and the British Columbian (BC) mainland, where the city of Vancouver sits.  Today, all of BC is aTwitter about their professional hockey team, the Canucks.  Tonight is the final — game 7 of of the North American professional hockey championship.

Why on earth am I talking about hockey in a blog on a jazz quartet touring the Pacific Northwest?  Because our group has a show tonight, and we’re scheduled right up against the biggest professional sports event this part of Canada has ever seen.

So, we’ll see who shows up.  Whoever does, they’ll be in for something special.

I’m on tour with the Hailey Niswanger Quartet, four of the most accomplished, intuitive jazz musicians that have studied at Berklee in the last few years.  Our leader, Hailey, is a saxophonist from Portland, Oregon; the drummer, Mark Whitfield, Jr., is from Jersey City, NJ.  Takeshi Ohbayashi is our pianist, from Hiroshima, Japan, and the bass is brought to life by Norfolk, Virginia’s own Aaron Darrell.

Two days ago the band played to sold-out house at Boxley’s, a wonderful jazz club in the shadow of the spectacular Mount Si, 30 miles east of Seattle.  Tonight we’re at Artspring, the performing arts center on Salt Spring, and Friday we’ll be in Hailey’s hometown, Portland, to play the Jimmy Mak’s club. And then we’re off to perform and record in Hawaii.  But more on that later.

To find out more about Berklee’s summer concert series, please visit us at There, you can find out more about your favorite artists and where you can see them next!