Jazz bands from two Florida high schools made the list of 15 finalists selected to play the 15th annual Essentially Ellington competition and festival in New York, May 8-10 at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
The Sunshine State bands headed to NYC are both from South Florida: Dillard Center of the Arts, in Fort Lauderdale; and New World School of the Arts, in Miami. Bands from those high schools and one other school in the Southeast — The Lovett School in Atlanta — will compete with a dozen others from Washington State (3), Wisconsin (2), Texas (2), Massachusetts (2), California (2) and New York City (1).
The bands will participate in a variety of jam sessions and workshops. The closing concert, May 10 at Avery Fisher Hall, will feature performances by the top three bands, with JALC head Wynton Marsalis sitting in as guest soloist; and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Judges for the competition: Wynton Marsalis, David Berger, Ted Buehrer, Jimmy Heath, and Rodney Whitaker. Festival clinicians: Walter Blanding, Ronald Carter, Vincent Gardner, Wycliffe Gordon, Dana Hall, Sherman Irby, Loren Schoenberg, and Reginald Thomas.
The Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program encompasses the competition and festival, as well as regional festivals, resources for jazz curriculum, a summer teaching session for band directors, and monthly newsletters.
For more information on “Essentially Ellington,” click here.