After hearing the loud, syncopated beats of the jazz song "El Taco Rocko" played by the Blue Hill jazz band, veteran trumpet player John Mills stood up in front of the group of high school students and gave them a challenge.
"We need you," he said. "There aren't too many young people who are excited about jazz music, and you guys already have that appreciation. You can take that with you for the rest of your lives. You are the audience of the future."
Mills, a trumpet teacher and director of the Hastings College jazz program from 1974-1980, was one of six professional jazz musicians who offered their critical and stylistic advice to area high school and middle school jazz bands at the Hastings College Jazz Festival Monday.