Winners of 15th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition

Posted on May 11th, 2010 in News | Tags: education, essentially ellington, jazz at lincoln center, new york

Three high school jazz bands took top honors last night in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 15th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. Each band was chosen by a panel of judges composed of distinguished jazz musicians and historians – Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Artistic Director WYNTON MARSALIS; composer, conductor, and Ellington authority DAVID BERGER; leading Mary Lou Williams scholar TED BUEHRER; legendary jazz saxophonist and composer/arranger JIMMY HEATH; and bassist and educator RODNEY WHITAKER- from among the 15 finalist bands that came to the Competition & Festival in New York City.

Essentially Ellington culminated at last night’s concert, where the top placing bands performed with Wynton Marsalis as a soloist followed by a performance by the 15-piece Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (JLCO) -all of whom served as mentors for each of the finalist bands during this weekend’s festival. Vocalist Gregory Porter also performed as a special guest.
The JLCO’s performance included compositions by Duke Ellington plus, for the first time in the history of the program, music composed for the Count Basie Orchestra which will be distributed by Jazz at Lincoln Center for the 2010-2011 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program.

At the awards ceremony, Wynton Marsalis presented prizes and cash awards to each of the 15 finalist bands. – Clarence Acox, Director of the Garfield High School Jazz Band, accepted the 1st place trophy and an award of $5,000. – Christopher Dorsey, Director of the Dillard Center for the Arts Jazz Band accepted the 2nd place trophy and an award of $2,500. – Stephen C. Massey, Director of the Foxboro High School Jazz Band, accepted the 3rd place trophy and an award of $1,000. – Roosevelt High School Jazz Band was named honorable mention band and received an award of $750.

The remaining 11 finalist bands and winning community ensemble were awarded certificates of merit and cash awards of $500. All monetary awards go toward improving schools’ jazz programs. Awards for outstanding soloists and sections were also presented (see listing below).

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s
15th Annual Essentially Ellington
High School Jazz Band
Competition & Festival 2010 Awards


Garfield High School


Dillard Center for the Arts


Foxboro High School


Roosevelt High School


Tucson Jazz Institute


On Clarinet
Outstanding Clarinet:
Dylan Ovanin, Wauwatosa East High School

On Alto Saxophone
Honorable Mention Alto Saxophone:
Dan Young, King Philip Regional High School
Erik Anundson, King Philip Regional High School
Katie Johnston, Eau Claire Memorial High School
Richard Lee, The Lovett School
Scott Lindeman, Plano Senior High School

Outstanding Alto Saxophone:
Evan Shay, Garfield High School
Graham Smith, Rio Americano HS
Zach Giberson, Rio Americano High School
Sam Priven, Albany High School

Outstanding Doublers – both on Alto and Clarinet
Max Goldschmid, Tucson Jazz Institute
Patrick Bartley, Dillard Center for the Arts

On Tenor Saxophone
Honorable Mention Tenor Saxophone:
Aneil Dhillon, Rio Americano High School
Anthony Burrell, Dillard Center for the Arts
Jonovan Sackey, The Lovett School

Outstanding Tenor Saxophone:
Zach Darf, Rio Americano High School
Xavier Del Castillo, Roosevelt High School
Rane Roatta, New World School of the Arts
Ian Frost, Garfield High School
Charlie Phillips, Garfield High School

On Baritone Saxophone
Honorable Mention Baritone Saxophone:
Brandon Clayton, Wauwatosa East High School

On Flute
Outstanding Flute:
Richelle Tanner, Garfield High School

On Trumpet
Honorable Mention Trumpet:
Gilbert Pas, New World School for the Arts
Dillon Allrud-Faltisco, Edmonds-Woodway High School

Outstanding Trumpet:
Adam O’Farrill, F. H. LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts
Cody Rowlands, Tucson Jazz Institute
Matt Muirhead, Foxboro High School

On Trombone
Honorable Mention Trombone:
Chris Krasnow, F. H. LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts
Christopher Dorsey III, Dillard Center for the Arts
Derek Hawkes, Plano Senior High School
Thomas Dover, New World School of the Arts
Willem De Koch, Garfield High School

Outstanding Trombone:
Andy Clausen, Roosevelt High School

On Piano
Honorable Mention Piano:
Jackson Todd, The Lovett School

Outstanding Piano:
Victoria Mariconti, King Philip Regional High School
Preston Sahabu, Edmonds-Woodway High School
Oliver Marsh, F. H. LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts
Julian Garvue, Garfield High School
Ian Zapolsky, Garfield High School
Grant Cherry, Tucson Jazz Institute
Antonio Madruga, New World School for the Arts

On Bass
Honorable Mention Bass:
Ian Haegele, Wauwatosa East High School
Eva Lawitts, F. H. LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts
Alex Dyring, Edmonds-Woodway High School

Outstanding Bass:
Pat Kuehn, Eau Claire Memorial High School

Outstanding Bass Sound:
Stephen Falkenberg, Carroll Senior High School

Outstanding Bass Performance:
Russell Hall, Dillard Center for the Arts
Carmen Rothwell, Garfield High School
Conner Schultze, Foxboro High School

On Drums
Honorable Mention Drums:
Ali Howard, The Lovett School

Outstanding Drums:
Miles Laven, Edmonds-Woodway High School
Corey Evans, Albany High School

On Guitar
Honorable Mention Guitar:
Max Williams, Roosevelt High School
David McKee, King Philip Regional High School

Outstanding Guitar:
Ian Ayres, Foxboro High School
Victor San Pedro, Rio Americano High School

The Ella Fitzgerald Outstanding Soloist Award:
Riley Mulherkar, Garfield High School


Dillard Center for the Arts
Foxboro High School

Carroll Senior High School

Roosevelt High School

Honorable Mention Trumpets:
Eau Claire Memorial High School
F. H. LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts

Outstanding Trumpets:
Foxboro High School

Rhythm Section
Honorable Mention Rhythm Section:
Rio Americano High School

Outstanding Rhythm Section:
Garfield High School
Dillard Center for the Arts
Foxboro High School

In addition, Jazz at Lincoln Center recognized the first and second place winners of the ninth Essentially Ellington Writing Contest. The contest invited students from all participating high schools to submit an essay or short story based on themes relating to this year’s EE repertoire. Jazz at Lincoln Center received over 60 submissions from which Robert G. O’Meally, Ph.D., Founding Director of the Center for Jazz Studies and Zora Neale Hurston Professor for English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, chose the winners. As members of two of the 15 finalist bands, the first place winner, Katie Johnston (Eau Claire Memorial High School, Eau Claire, WI) and second place winner, Jack Chelgren (Edmonds-Woodway High School, Edmonds, WA) were in attendance at the Competition & Festival. Their outstanding work was recognized at the Final Concert and Awards Ceremony. In addition, Katie Johnston’s winning short story, “No Words Needed,” was printed in the Festival playbill and a seat in Rose Theater will be engraved in her honor.

For more information on the annual Essentially Ellington Student Writing Contest visit:

After a three-day Competition & Festival, May 8, 9 & 10, 2010 at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, honors were announced during the Final Concert & Awards Ceremony that took place May 10 at Avery Fisher Hall.

A photo gallery of the entire Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival and recordings of the competition performances will be available in upcoming weeks on


The three-day festival began on Saturday, May 8 when the finalist bands arrived at Frederick P. Rose Hall for a “One-On-One With Wynton Marsalis,” workshops, rehearsals, a banquet dinner, and jam sessions with members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO). On Sunday, May 9, the winning community ensemble performed at 2:30pm followed by the first of three Competition parts. The Competition, where each band’s performance of three Ellington and/or Williams works was judged by a panel of judges, continued on Monday, May 10 at 10am and 1pm. At the May 10th, 7:30pm Concert and Awards Ceremony in Avery Fisher Hall, the three top-placing bands each performed pieces, one with Wynton Marsalis as a guest soloist, followed by a JLCO performance of Duke Ellington and Count Basie repertoire with special guest vocalist Gregory Porter. The concert ended with the culminating awards ceremony honoring outstanding soloists and sections and the three top-placing bands. The 2010-11 Essentially Ellington season is the first time in the history of the program that repertoire composed for the Count Basie Orchestra will be included in the program. Repertoire includes, “Every Day I Have the Blues,” “Swingin’ The Blues,” and “Tipping on the QT” and by Duke Ellington, “Harlem Speaks,” “Portrait of Mahalia Jackson” from The New Orleans Suite plus “Prelude to a Kiss” composed by Ellington and arranged by Billy Strayhorn.

Each year, Jazz at Lincoln Center selects and transcribes original transcriptions of Duke Ellington compositions and arrangements by other seminal big band arrangers and composers. The six selections for 2010 included by Duke Ellington: “Feet Bone,” “Lady Mac,” by Ellington and Billy Strayhorn: “After All,” and by Mary Lou Williams: “New Musical Express,” “Roll ‘Em,” “Walkin’ and Swingin’.” The music along with reference recordings and other resources were distributed to all high school jazz bands that expressed interest in the program by returning a free-of-charge membership application.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of EE, Jazz at Lincoln Center launched a national search to reconnect with its community and added new program initiatives:

  • The winner of the EE Community Ensemble category, Tucson Jazz Institute from Tucson, AZ, played in exhibition and attended all activities during the annual Competition & Festival.
  • A short story component was added to EE’s annual Writing Contest
  • A fifth regional festival at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana took place April 24, 2010.
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center continues to support the promotion of screening events featuring the acclaimed documentary CHOPS that follows a finalist band through their EE experience. Visit for more information.
  • Students, band directors, parents, and general fans were encouraged to share their experiences and favorite stories via an online survey to reflect and document the impact of the program. More than 600 responses were compiled and select profiles were presented during the Competition & Festival.

Throughout March and April, Jazz at Lincoln Center sent, free of charge, a professional musician to each of the 15 finalist schools and community ensemble winner to lead an intensive workshop of rehearsals, lessons, and master classes.

The free clinics are part of the rich 15-year history of this unique music education program, which has reached more than 300,000 students in more than 3,000 high schools across all 50 U.S. states, Canada, Australia and American schools abroad. Essentially Ellington has produced and distributed more than 90,000 copies of 86 previously unavailable scores and 207 finalist bands have traveled to New York City to participate in the annual Competition & Festival.
This year Jazz at Lincoln Center distributed more than 9,600 newly transcribed scores, reference recordings, and additional educational materials.

  • This year 1,550 high schools in the United States, Canada, and American schools in Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, and Switzerland received Essentially Ellington materials.
  • 96 bands entered the competition by submitting a recorded performance of three compositions.
  • The entries were evaluated in a blind screening by jazz education experts RONALD CARTER, CHRIS CRENSHAW, TED NASH, and LOREN SCHOENBERG.
  • 15 finalists and one community ensemble winner were selected.
  • Alfred Publishing is the commercial distributor of the Essentially Ellington print music library. View the 2010 EE titles and the entire JALC print music catalog at

The 15 finalists for Essentially Ellington 2010 were:

Albany High School, Albany, CA
Rio Americano High School, Sacramento, CA
Dillard Center for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL
New World School of the Arts, Miami, FL
The Lovett School, Atlanta, GA
Foxboro High School, Foxboro, MA
King Philip Regional High School, Wrentham, MA
F. H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, New York, NY
Plano Senior High School, Plano, TX
Carroll Senior High School, Southlake, TX
Edmonds-Woodway High School, Edmonds, WA
Garfield High School, Seattle, WA
Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA
Eau Claire Memorial High School, Eau Claire, WI
Wauwatosa East High School, Wauwatosa, WI
Community Ensemble Winner:
Tucson Jazz Institute, Tucson, AZ

For a full schedule of Essentially Ellington, visit:

The 15th annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program is made possible by The Jack and Susan Rudin Educational and Scholarship Fund, The Con Edison Community Partnership Fund, The Irene Diamond Fund, Alfred and Gail Engleberg, The Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, The Heckscher Foundation for Children, The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation, The Mericos Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The New York Times Company Foundation, Surdna Foundation, United States Congress, and Wachovia Foundation.