More Than 200 Top High School Jazz Students in The U.S. To Participate in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2021 Essentially Ellington Virtual Festival
Nation’s premier jazz education event is free and open to the public
June 2-5, 2021
Beginning today through June 5, 2021, more than two hundred of the top high school students from coast to coast will participate in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2021 Virtual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival.
These students comprise the 15 finalist bands that represent thousands of young people throughout the world that study, rehearse, and perform music from the Essentially Ellington library.
Festival events include a Q&A with Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis; workshops providing rehearsal strategies, historical context, and other tips; virtual jam sessions; and virtual performances.
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2021 Virtual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival schedule of events, free and open to the public, is posted on jazz.org/ee
The Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival is media-accessible via Jazz at Lincoln Center social media on Facebook: facebook.com/jazzatlincolncenter, Twitter: @jazzdotorg, Instagram: @jazzdotorg.
Faced with enormous challenges due to concerns around COVID-19, band directors and high school student jazz musicians around the country have applied innovative and creative approaches to perform with and learn from each other. Inspired by this dedication and commitment, Jazz at Lincoln Center continues its support for this unique community through the 2021 Virtual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival.
The following high school jazz bands participating in the festival were selected from a competitive pool of 66 bands that submitted a recording from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Library:
- Agoura High School (Agoura Hills, California)
Directed by Chad Bloom
- Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts (West Palm Beach, Florida)
Directed by Christopher De Leon
- Byron Center High School (Byron Center, Michigan)
Directed by Marc Townley
- Carroll Senior High School (Southlake, Texas)
Directed by David Lown
- Champaign Central High School (Champaign, Illinois)
Directed by John Currey
- Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
Directed by Christopher Dorsey
- Foxboro High School (Foxboro, Massachusetts)
Directed by Aaron Bush
- Memphis Central High School (Memphis, Tennessee)
Directed by Dr. Ollie Liddell
- Newton South High School (Newton, Massachusetts)
Directed by Lisa Linde
- Noblesville High School (Noblesville, Indiana)
Directed by Bethany Robinson
- Olathe Northwest High School (Olathe, Kansas)
Directed by Robert Davis
- Plano West Senior High School (Plano, Texas)
Directed by Preston Pierce
- Roosevelt High School (Seattle, Washington)
Directed by Scott Brown
- Tucson Jazz Institute (Tucson, Arizona)
Directed by Johnathan Black
- William H. Hall High School (West Hartford, Connecticut)
Directed by James Antonucci
In addition to celebrating the top high school jazz bands in the U.S., Jazz at Lincoln Center will recognize the winner of the 9th Annual Essentially Ellington Dr. J. Douglas White Student Composition and Arranging Contest. This year, out of 23 submissions, the prestigious honor is bestowed upon Daiki Nakajima from Pro-spect High School in Saratoga, CA. On Friday, June 4, Daiki’s winning composition, “Fracture,” will premiere online, along with a public composition and arranging lesson with GRAMMY award-winning musician and longtime Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member, Ted Nash. For his winning composition, Daiki will receive a $1,000 cash prize.
JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER’S 2021 VIRTUAL ESSENTIALLY ELLINGTON HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ BAND FESTIVAL EVENTS
WED., JUNE 2, 6:00PM EDT
INSIDE THE SCORE
JALC’s Vice President of Education, Todd Stoll and JLCO Trombonist Chris Crenshaw will take a deep dive into four tunes to be featured as part of next year’s Essentially El-lington library, providing rehearsal strategies, historical context and other tips especially for our EE participants.
THURS, JUNE 3, 5:00PM EDT
The famous cheer tunnel! Every Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival kicks off with Jazz at Lincoln Center staff, volunteers, and musicians cheering on each finalist band as they make their way through our halls and into Rose Theater for the first time. This year, we’re taking the celebration online. Be a part of the festivities and cheer on the finalist bands!
THURS, JUNE 3, 5:15PM EDIT
Q&A WITH WYNTON MARSALIS
After the cheer tunnel, the next event for students is always a Q&A with Wynton Mar-salis. This year’s Essentially Ellington is no different. Join finalist bands from around the country as students pick Wynton’s brain. The session will be open for public view-ing live on Facebook, while the finalist students will directly participate and interact with Wynton on Zoom.
THURS, JUNE 3, 7:30PM EDT
VIRTUAL JAM SESSION
Another tradition we’ve made sure to maintain is the Jam Session. Select students from each finalist band will perform alongside the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra rhythm section, whose members recorded from home via Zoom. Our rhythm section will serve up a soulful and swinging foundation for student improvisors. Check out some of the finest high school musicians in the world with these world-class swingers!
FRI., JUNE 4, 2PM EDT
STUDENT COMPOSITION MASTERCLASS WITH TED NASH
Experience a virtual composition masterclass between the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s master saxophonist and composer Ted Nash, and this year’s winner of the Student Composition and Arranging Contest, Daiki Nakajima. Viewers will get to then watch Ted conduct a broader masterclass based on Daiki’s piece for all interested students and composers.
FRI., JUNE 4, 6:00PM EDT
INSIDE THE SCORE
JALC’s Vice President of Education, Todd Stoll and JLCO Trombonist Chris Crenshaw will take a deep dive into four tunes to be featured as part of next year’s Essentially Ellington library, providing rehearsal strategies, historical context and other tips especially for our EE participants.
SAT., JUNE 5, 1PM EDT
FESTIVAL PERFORMANCES + PART I
It’s time to hear the bands in action! After each director introduces their ensemble and song selections, the audience, judges, and fellow students get to enjoy the fruits of everyone’s labor and preparation for this Festival. After each performance, Jazz at Lincoln Center Vice President of Education, Todd Stoll, will conduct live interviews with band directors and select students.
SAT., JUNE 5, 4PM EDT
FESTIVAL PERFORMANCES + PART II
As the day gives way to evening, our youngsters will still be swinging. After each director introduces their ensemble and song selections, the audience, judges, and fellow students get to enjoy the fruits of everyone’s labor and preparation for this Festival. After each performance, Jazz at Lincoln Center Vice President of Education, Todd Stoll, will conduct live interviews with band directors and select students. See the schedule of per-formers here.
SAT., JUNE 5, 7:30PM EDT
The judges – Wynton Marsalis, Darcy James Argue, John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton and Catherine Russell – will provide closing remarks and reflect on what they heard throughout the performances!
SAT., JUNE 5, 8:00PM EDT
JLCO FINAL CONCERT
Join the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis as they perform a set of tunes to be featured as a part of next year’s Essentially Ellington program live from Chapman Music Hall at Tulsa Performing Arts Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
SAT., JUNE 5, 8:45PM EDT
Wynton Marsalis will share his closing remarks and announce the names of each individual student and band section to receive an award. The awards announced during this ceremony-including Outstanding Soloist and Sections -represent extraordinary individual and group achievements.
Essentially Ellington is the nation’s premier jazz education program which has helped foster the talent and appreciation for jazz music to over one million young musicians throughout its history. The annual festival marks the culmination of the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program, which includes non- competitive regional festivals around the country, free transcriptions of original recordings by Duke Ellington and other seminal big band composers and arrangers, additional teaching re-sources, free adjudication, and more.
The Essentially Ellington program has reached nearly 7,000 schools and independent bands in 55 countries. This important work is made possible by contributions of individuals and institutions who support the mission. Please support Jazz at Lincoln Center in this challenging time to ensure the organization is able to continue to entertain, en-rich and expand a global community for jazz through online learning and social media platforms.
For more information, including background, history, and audio recordings of the Essentially Ellington repertoire, visit: jazz.org/ee
Video of Wynton Marsalis announcing the 2021 Virtual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival finalists is available here
Founding leadership support for Essentially Ellington is provided by The Jack and Susan Rudin Educational and Scholarship Fund and Gail and Alfred Engelberg.
Leadership support is provided by Helen and Robert Appel, Jody and John Arnhold, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, and The Weissman Family Foundation.
Major support made possible through the support of America’s Cultural Treasures, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Major support also provided by Augustine Foundation, Robin and Peter Berger, Susan and J. Alan Kahn, Barry F. Schwartz, and Vital Projects Fund, Inc.
Generous support is provided by one Anonymous Donor, Tina and Jeffrey Bolton, Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Fund, Cher Lewis and Daughters Charitable Trust, Diane Coffey, Patricia Cliff and Karl Von Frieling, Robin and Jay L. Lewis, and Sy Syms Foundation.
Jazz at Lincoln Center proudly acknowledges its major corporate partners: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Grand Seiko, Con Edison, Entergy, Steinway & Sons, and The Coca-Cola Company.