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The first-place winner is Dillard Center for the Arts from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The second-place winner is Newark Academy from Livingston, NJ and third-place winner is Tucson Jazz Institute from Tucson, AZ. Honorable Mention is Beloit Memorial High School from Beloit, WI and Roosevelt High School from Seattle, WA .
Beginning on May 10, the top 15 high school jazz bands in the country participated in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival and were immersed in three days of mentoring, jam sessions, and workshops. The competition culminated in tonight’s concert wherein each top-placing band performed with their choice Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member as a soloist. The final concert also featured the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis – whose members served as mentors for the finalist bands throughout the week – performing repertoire made famous by Duke Ellington.
Each finalist band was chosen by a panel of judges comprised of distinguished jazz musicians and historians: Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis; composer, arranger, acclaimed pianist Bill Charlap; big band leader, drummer and Grammy-nominated recording artist Jeff Hamilton; acclaimed musician and former Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member Todd Williams and renowned flautist, saxophonist, composer, educator, and EE Alum Erica von Kleist.
At the ceremony, Wynton Marsalis presented awards to each of the 15 finalist high school jazz bands. Dillard Center for the Arts accepted the first place trophy and an award of $5,000. Newark Academy accepted the second place trophy and an award of $2,500. Tucson Jazz Institute accepted the third place trophy with an award of $1,000. Roosevelt High School and Beloit Memorial High School received honorable mention with an award of $750. The remaining ten bands were each awarded cash awards of $500. All monetary awards are to be used for improving the jazz education programs of each respective high school.
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 23rd Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival Awards.
In the spirit of creativity and continuing the jazz legacy, Jazz at Lincoln Center also recognized the winner of the 6th Annual J. Douglas White Essentially Ellington Student Composition/Arranging Contest, Summer Camargo of Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale, FL). Each submission was critiqued by composer, arranger, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra saxophonist, Ted Nash, and the winning selection was recorded by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at their annual Essentially Ellington recording session on Wednesday, May 9. In addition, the winning composer received a cash prize, a composition lesson with Ted Nash, and a trip to New York City to observe the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra recording session and the 2018 Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival.
The Competition & Festival is the culmination of the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program (EE), 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 42,400 newly transcribed scores by the end of this school year. For more information including background, history and audio recordings of the Essentially Ellington repertoire, and more, visit: www.jazz.org/ee
This year, the Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival was accessible via social media on Facebook, Twitter @EssEllington, and Instagram @jazzdotorg. Throughout the weekend, students, viewers, and participants shared their thoughts and photos by using the hashtag #EssentiallyEllington.
The 15 Finalists for Essentially Ellington 2018 (in alphabetical order):
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)
Additional information may be found at jazz.org