Jazz at the Lincoln Center Announces 15 High School Band Finalists

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Christina Riley
Bands will compete in 23rd Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival

Jazz at Lincoln Center proudly announces the 15 finalist bands that will compete in the 23rd Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival – one of the most innovative jazz education events in the world – at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s home, Frederick P. Rose Hall, on May 10 – 12, 2018. The following finalists are among 109 high school jazz bands across North America that entered the competition. Each school submitted recordings of three tunes performed from charts from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington library. Over 4,600 high school bands are members of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2017-18 Essentially Ellington program and benefited from free charts and resources.

Jazz at the Lincoln Center congratulates high school bands returning to the decades-long competition including Agoura High School, Ballard High School, Beloit Memorial High School, Carroll Senior High School, Champaign Central High School, Dillard Center for the Arts, Mountlake Terrace High School, Newark Academy, Osceola County School for the Arts, Roosevelt High School, Sun Prairie High School, Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble, Tucson Jazz Institute, William H. Hall High School as well as first-time contenders Newton South High School.

All Essentially Ellington member bands were invited to submit a recording, and 15 finalists were selected through a rigorous screening process. Each finalist band receives an in-school workshop led by a professional musician before coming to New York to put up their “Dukes” and perform before Wynton Marsalis and a panel of esteemed judges.

On May 10, the finalist bands will arrive in New York City to spend three days immersed in workshops, jam sessions, rehearsals and performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center. On May 12, the Competition & Festival will conclude with a concert and awards ceremony featuring the three top-placing bands and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

Summer Camargo, the winner of the 2018 Essentially Ellington Student Composition/Arranging Contest, will have her composition recorded by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. In addition, the winning composer will receive a $1,000 cash prize, a composition lesson with Ted Nash, GRAMMY award winning musician and longtime member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center, and a trip to New York City to observe the recording session and the Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival.

Festival events, including the final concert featuring the three top-placing bands and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, will be webcast live on jazz.org/live.

The Competition & Festival is the culmination of the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program which also includes non-competitive regional festivals around the country, teaching resources, a summer Band Director Academy, and more. The year-long Essentially Ellington program will have distributed more than 36,800 newly transcribed scores by the end of this school year.

The 2018 Essentially Ellington Student Composition/Arranging Contest Winner: 

Summer Camargo, Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

 The 2018 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Finalists:

Agoura High School (Agoura Hills, CA)
Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)
Beloit Memorial High School (Beloit, WI)
Carroll Senior High School (Southlake, TX)
Champaign Central High School (Champaign, IL)
Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Mountlake Terrace High School (Mountlake Terrace, WA)
Newark Academy (Livingston, NJ)
Newton South High School (Newton, MA)
Osceola County School for the Arts (Kissimmee, FL)
Roosevelt High School (Seattle, WA)
Sun Prairie High School (Sun Prairie, WI)
Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble (Raleigh, NC)
Tucson Jazz Institute (Tucson, AZ)
William H. Hall High School (West Hartford, CT)

For more information including background, history, photos, and audio recordings of the Essentially Ellington repertoire, and more, visit: jazz.org/ee

The Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival is media-accessible via Jazz at Lincoln Center social media on Facebook, Twitter@EssEllington, Instagram@jazzdotorg, and Tumblr.