Essentially Ellington

A free program for high school jazz bands, Essentially Ellington aims to elevate musicianship, broaden perspectives and inspire performance.

News & Updates

JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ANNOUNCES THE 24th ANNUAL ESSENTIALLY ELLINGTON HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ BAND COMPETITION & FESTIVAL TOP-PLACING BANDS

Three Top-Placing Bands:

First Place: Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA
Second Place: Dillard Center for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Third Place: Foxboro High School, Foxboro, MA

New York, NY – May 11, 2019 – Jazz at Lincoln Center today announced the three top-placing high school jazz bands in the nation at the prestigious 24th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival at Frederick P. Rose Hallhome of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The first-place winner is Roosevelt High School from Seattle, WA. The second-place winner is Dillard Center for the Arts from Fort Lauderdale, FL, and third-place winner is Foxboro High School from Foxboro, MA.

Wynton Marsalis, Managing and Artistic Director, Jazz at Lincoln Center, says, “We’re fortunate to play Duke Ellington’s music, and we realize that the Duke Ellington legacy is about creativity – we heard and saw that in our young people. You lifted our spirits and it’s been our honor.”

Beginning on May 9, the 15 finalist high school jazz bands were immersed in three days of mentoring, jam sessions, and workshops. The competition culminated in tonight’s concert where each top-placing band performed with their choice Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member as a soloist. The 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.

In the spirit of creativity and continuing the jazz legacy, Jazz at Lincoln Center also recognized the winner of the 7th Annual J. Douglas White Essentially Ellington Student Composition and Arranging ContestMiles Lennox of Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale, FL). Miles is an alumnus of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Summer Jazz Academy program and the Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival, where he has previously won Outstanding Soloist for piano. Miles’ composition was recorded by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at their annual Essentially Ellington recording session on Wednesday, May 8. In addition, Miles received a $1,000 cash prize, a composition lesson with Ted Nash, and a trip to New York City for the weekend to observe the Festival.

Arts education has been a pillar of Jazz at Lincoln Center since it was founded over thirty years ago, with the Essentially Ellington Program serving as a programming cornerstone for 24 of those years.

The annual Competition & Festival marks the culmination of the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program, which includes non-competitive regional festivals throughout the U.S. and Australia, free transcriptions of the music of Duke Ellington, reference recordings, additional teaching resources, free adjudication, and more. The Essentially Ellington program has reached over 6,600 schools and independent bands in 55 countries.

Photos of the three finalist bands can be found here. Credit should be attributed to: Ayano Hisa/Jazz at Lincoln Center. 

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 24th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival Awards

1st PLACE:
Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA

2nd PLACE:
Dillard Center for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL

3rd PLACE:
Foxboro High School, Foxboro, MA

SECTION AWARDS:

OUTSTANDING RHYTHM SECTION:
Newark Academy
Dillard Center for the Arts
Foxboro High School

OUTSTANDING SAXOPHONE SECTION:
Foxboro High School

OUTSTANDING BRASS SECTION:
Rio Americano High School
Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble
Roosevelt High School

OUTSTANDING TROMBONE SECTION:
Sun Prairie High School
Roosevelt High School
Dillard Center for the Arts
Foxboro High School
William H. Hall High School
Garfield High School

OUTSTANDING TRUMPET SECTION:
Denver School of the Arts
Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble|
Foxboro High School
Dillard Center for the Arts
Roosevelt High School
Beloit Memorial High School

HONORABLE MENTION PIANO:
Luca Moretti – Newark Academy
Aaron Korver – Roosevelt High School
Sam Hanson – Tarpon Springs High School

OUTSTANDING PIANO:
Mitchell Galligan – Denver School of the Arts
Kallan Engleson – Sun Prairie High School
Miles Lennox – Dillard Center for the Arts

HONORABLE MENTION BASS: 
Will Jammes – Garfield High School
Aviel Delrosario – Dillard Center for the Arts
Gavin Gray – William H. Hall High School

OUTSTANDING BASS:
Vikram Bala – Newark Academy
Will Hazelhurst – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble
John Murray – San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts

HONORABLE MENTION GUITAR:
Megan Cody – Denver School of the Arts
Jack Graves – Garfield High School

OUTSTANDING GUITAR:
Brennen Ravenberg – William H. Hall High School
Tyler Feldman – Garfield High School

HONORABLE MENTION DRUMS:
Henry Mohr – Roosevelt High School
Joel Anderson – Dillard Center for the Arts
Corey Hall – Foxboro High School
Liam Sweeney – Foxboro High School
Meghan Lock – Tarpon Springs High School

HONORABLE MENTION VIBRAPHONE:
Alec Streete – Denver School of the Arts
Nate Mesler – Roosevelt High School
Ben Dunham – Tarpon Springs High School

HONORABLE MENTION CLARINET:
Allen Lin – Newark Academy
Val Barrieau – William H. Hall High School

OUTSTANDING CLARINET:
Toby Keys – Rio Americano High School
Victor Lawton – Dillard Center for the Arts

HONORABLE MENTION ALTO SAXOPHONE:
Connor Ettinger – Rio Americano High School
Andrew Long – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble
Megan Rault – Sun Prairie High School
Liam Vargas – Dillard Center for the Arts
Chris Faison – Tarpon Springs High School
Avinash Chung – Garfield High School

OUTSTANDING ALTO SAXOPHONE:
Michael Wang – Newark Academy
Tiger Diep – San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts

HONORABLE MENTION TENOR SAXOPHONE:
Jackson Beymer – Mount Si High School
Michael Hussey – Foxboro High School
Alvin Paige – San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts

OUTSTANDING TENOR SAXOPHONE:
Jonathan Downs – Middleton High School
Roland Burnot – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble
George Fulton – Roosevelt High School
Noah Yonteff Mathog – William H. Hall High School
Noah Poepping – Beloit Memorial High School
Aidan Siemann – Garfield High School

OUTSTANDING BARITONE SAXOPHONE:
Andrew Stine – Middleton High School
Nick Altemeier – Roosevelt High School

HONORABLE MENTION DOUBLER:
Daniel Reichert – Tarpon Springs High School (Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone)

OUTSTANDING DOUBLER:
Chris Ferrari – Denver School of the Arts (Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone)
Eli Sullivan – Roosevelt High School (Soprano & Alto Saxophone)

OUTSTANDING TRIPLER:
Connor Hoyt – Foxboro High School (Clarinet, Soprano & Alto Saxophone)

HONORABLE MENTION TROMBONE:
Sam Keedy – Denver School of the Arts
Jack Bendure – Denver School of the Arts
James Kolke – Mount Si High School
Tyler Stoll – Sun Prairie High School
Geneva Raymond – Foxboro High School

OUTSTANDING TROMBONE:
Elise Toney – Roosevelt High School
Charles Blagrove – Dillard Center for the Arts
Eli Heinen – William H. Hall High School
August Braatz – Beloit Memorial High School

OUTSTANDING BASS TROMBONE:
Gavin Baker – William H. Hall High School

HONORABLE MENTION TRUMPET:
Emerson Borg – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble
Keon Gooding – Dillard Center for the Arts
Naomi Patten – Beloit Memorial High School
Sylvester Saliba – Tarpon Springs High School

OUTSTANDING TRUMPET:
Grady Flamm – Rio Americano High School
Will Knight – Roosevelt High School
Carter Eng – Roosevelt High School
Summer Camargo – Dillard Center for the Arts
Adam Hobson – Beloit Memorial High School

HONORABLE MENTION VOCALS:

Samantha Powell – Newark Academy
Sage Eisenhour – Mount Si High School

OUTSTANDING VOCALS:

Kaleen Barton – Tarpon Springs High School

ELLA FITZGERALD OUTSTANDING SOLOIST AWARD:
John Murray – San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts

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; Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member and Jazz Ambassador at Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai Walter Blanding; music director and critically acclaimed pianist Aaron Diehl; big band leader, drummer and Grammy Award-nominated recording artist Jeff Hamilton; and band leader and Grammy Award-winning baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian.

At the awards ceremony, Wynton Marsalis presented awards to each of the 15 finalist high school jazz bands. Roosevelt High School accepted the first place trophy and an award of $5,000. Dillard Center for the Arts accepted the second place trophy and an award of $2,500. Foxboro High School accepted the third place trophy with an award of $1,000.  The remaining twelve bands were each awarded cash prizes of $500. All monetary awards are to be used for improving the jazz education programs of each respective high school.

The 15 Finalists for Essentially Ellington 2019 (in alphabetical order): 

Beloit Memorial High School (Beloit, WI)
Denver School of the Arts (Denver, CO)
Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Foxboro High School (Foxboro, MA)
Garfield High School (Seattle, WA)
Middleton High School (Middleton, WI)
Mount Si High School (Snoqualmie, WA)
Newark Academy (Livingston, NJ)
Rio Americano High School (Sacramento, CA)
Roosevelt High School (Seattle, WA)
San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts (San Diego, CA)
Sun Prairie High School (Sun Prairie, WI)
Tarpon Springs High School (Tarpon Springs, FL)
Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble (Raleigh, NC)
William H. Hall High School (West Hartford, CT)

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

The Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival is media-accessible via Jazz at Lincoln Center social media on Facebook: facebook.com/EssentiallyEllington, Twitter: @EssEllington, Instagram: @jazzdotorg.

Founding leadership support for Essentially Ellington is provided by The Jack and Susan Rudin Educational and Scholarship Fund. Major support is provided by: Robert and Helen Appel, Jessica and Natan Bibliowicz, Alfred and Gail Engelberg, Susan Kahn, Eric and Sandra Krasnoff, Jeanette Davis-Loeb, Casey Lipscomb, Dr. J. Douglas White and the King-White Family Foundation, Augustine Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation, Con Edison, The CUNA Mutual Foundation, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Entergy, and The Hearst Foundations.

Additional information may be found at jazz.org | Facebook: facebook.com/jazzatlincolncenter | Twitter: @jazzdotorg | Instagram: @jazzdotorg | YouTube: youtube.com/jalc | Livestream: jazz.org/live