Wanted: Alumni of Essentially Ellington Program

Jazz at Lincoln Center in search of former participants in the acclaimed jazz education program for online survey

Duke Ellington, New York 1962
Duke Ellington and Strayhorn playing 4-handed piano, perhaps their favorite duet "Tonk." Note Duke's suits in the background.
Mary Lou Williams

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The Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. Since 1995, Jazz at Lincoln Center has offered this program that brings Ellington’s music to high schools across the country, by providing charts as well as recording and educational materials, in order to facilitate jazz education. Over the years, the Essentially Ellington program expanded to include other composers, arranger and improvisers, including Benny Carter and Mary Lou Williams.

Now the folks at JALC want to hear from students, parents, band directors and even fans to learn how the Essentially Ellington program impacted them and their community. Former participants are encouraged to share the experiences with the program through on online survey.

In a press release sent to JT, Erika Floreska, Director of Education at JALC said: “Over the years we’ve kept in touch with many of our Essentially Ellington alumni and found that they’ve followed a diverse path of interests and careers, from music and education to business, writing, marketing, etc. Many have indicated that their experience playing this music helped shape their decisions and pursuits. We also know directors, parents, and general fans who have expressed their connection to the program and we’re hoping to gather stories to learn more about the broader impact Essentially Ellington has had over the past 15 years in all these communities.”

The responses will be compiled and presented during the upcoming Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival, May 8-10, 2010. To take the survey, visit the Jazz at Lincoln Center web site.