Esperanza may mean hope in Spanish, but by the end of Sunday night, hope was replaced with satisfaction.
The Cultural Attractions Committee, with help from AC Entertainment, presented jazz/fusion artist Esperanza Spalding on Sunday night at the Tennessee Theatre as a part of her Radio Music Society tour.
"For all of our events we're looking for different kinds of cultures that will benefit the UT campus and the Knoxville community specifically," Wade Scofield, the corresponding secretary for the CAC, said. "Esperanza ... fit really well with our mission as a jazz/fusion cultural conglomeration that people aren't usually getting, at least not here in Knoxville."
A partnership with AC Entertainment allowed the CAC to charge students with a valid student ID $5 for tickets. Scofield, a junior in religious studies, said that the committee strives to make their events available and accessible to all students.
"The WannaBeatles and Bela Fleck, which were free to UT students, were some of our largest turnouts that we've seen from students in a long time," Scofield said regarding other shows the CAC has hosted this past year. "Five dollars doesn't seem like much, but when people actually have to get a five dollar bill out and pay, or get it from the bank, or get a twenty and break it up, they're less likely to go to the concert."
Evan Ford, sophomore in philosophy and economics, said he appreciated CAC's low ticket price, especially considering Spalding's "jaw-dropping performance."
"I actually might not have paid $50 to come because of the whole college student thing," Ford said. "But I definitely would have wanted to and been sad that I couldn't.
"Esperanza made a joke about being highbrow, but these are really good attractions so I'm really happy that CAC had Esperanza come and perform."
As a part of her Radio Music Society tour, Spalding performed songs from her latest album of the same name. Centered on the importance of the radio, the stage featured a radio graphic printed on a canvas in front of the band. Spalding performed her fittingly named "Radio Song" at the end of the set.
"She was offering a positive commentary on why radio is important, why we need to keep the radio on, how people benefit from the radio, and even on a smaller level, how aesthetically minute happiness that radio gives out," Scofield said. "The way she incorporated those ideas with her music was thrilling to me."
Spalding grew up attending various music schools and participating with a number of music companies at a young age, having completed her GED by age 16. With the release of her first album in 2006, titled "Junjo," the Portland, Ore., native gained enough fans and recognition to continue her music career.
The band, which included a set of brass instruments, a piano and an electric bass, were introduced twice by Spalding herself, showing the dynamics of the relationship between instruments in jazz music. Spalding's jazz bass and euphonious voice filled the Tennessee Theatre and combined with her talented band to create a soulful atmosphere.
"The Tennessee Theatre is a big place and we've had trouble filling the Tennessee Theatre with our events. I am thrilled to see not only a number of people here, but the diverse group of people that showed up," Scofield said. "People really seemed to be into it. Overall, the event was invigorating and it was nice for us to see the number of people who were interested in this kind of genre."
For her encore, Spalding, clad in a tiered, cream-colored dress and metallic gold heels, performed a solo with only her bass. Although East Tennessee is known for its wealth of country and Americana music, Ford said he was impressed by the turnout for a jazz artist.
"I was surprised by the number of people who were here that seemed to know their stuff, jazz wise," he said. "It was exciting, especially being from Nashville where you expect it to be 'Music City.' You seem to see more musical open-mindedness in Knoxville as was shown tonight.
"I personally think she was great because she sort of acted as a way for people who don't know jazz to come out for $5 and see one of the best jazz artists out there, and it's also really interesting to people who don't know anything about that style of music."
Spalding is the last performer for the CAC's spring 2013 season.
"I think she was a great choice to finish off the season," Melissa Lee, senior College Scholar studying neuroscience, said. "I think the people that came seemed to really enjoy it."
Scofield said that having the Grammy award-winning artist finished off the CAC season with a bang.
"She's on her way up," he said. "(Spalding) was exciting, innovative, electric and really generally awesome. I had a really great time, and with the committee we hope that everyone enjoyed the show just as much as we did."