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Finalists Announced for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Festival

15 high-school jazz bands to take part in 23rd annual competition

The Edmonds-Woodway High School band (photo by Harper Thomas) at Essentially Ellington competition
The Edmonds-Woodway High School band (photo by Harper Thomas)

The 2018 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, to be held May 10-12 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, has received submissions from 109 high school jazz bands across the United States. From those hopeful ensembles, 15 finalists have just been announced. In alphabetical order, they are:

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)

Of these 15 bands, 14 have taken part in the event before; Newton South High School is a first-time contender.

In addition, Dillard Center for the Arts student Summer Camargo was named the winner of the 2018 Essentially Ellington Student Composition/Arranging Contest. The composition she submitted will be recorded by the JALC Orchestra, and she will also receive a $1,000 cash prize, a composition lesson with JALC Orchestra member Ted Nash, and a trip to New York to observe the recording session.

For 23 years, Essentially Ellington has brought high school jazz bands together for three days of intensive workshops, jam sessions, and adjudicated performances at JALC’s New York headquarters. At the end of those three days, the three top-placing groups receive awards and perform at a concert with the JALC Orchestra, conducted by Wynton Marsalis. 


For more information about this event, visit the JALC Essentially Ellington website.

Check out this JazzTimes article about high school jazz bands and how they’re finding new audiences.

Originally Published