Jazz at Lincoln Center announces 2013 Essentially Ellington Finalists

Jazz at Lincoln Center proudly announces the 15 finalist bands that will compete in the prestigious 18th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival (EE) at Frederick P. Rose Hall on May 10 – 12, 2013.

The following finalists are among nearly 100 high school jazz bands across the country that entered the competition. Each school submitted recordings of three tunes performed from charts from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington library.

  • American Music Program, Portland, OR
  • Badger High School, Lake Geneva, WI
  • Beloit Memorial High School, Beloit, WI
  • Community Arts Program, Coral Gables, FL
  • Dillard Center for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Edmonds-Woodway High School, Edmonds, WA
  • Foxboro High School, Foxboro, MA
  • Garfield High School, Seattle, WA
  • Jazz House Kids, Montclair, NJ
  • Lexington High School, Lexington, MA
  • New World School of the Arts, Miami, FL
  • Rio Americano High School, Sacramento, CA
  • Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA
  • Sun Prairie High School, Sun Prairie, WI
  • Tucson Jazz Institute, Tucson, AZ

Beginning on May 10, the 15 bands will compete for top honors and participate in workshops, jam sessions, and more during the three-day EE competition and festival in New York City. The first half of the final concert on May 12 will feature the three top-placing bands performing with a member of the world renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) as guest soloist. The second half will feature the JLCO – whose members serve as mentors for the finalist bands throughout the weekend – performing a repertoire of tunes made famous by Duke Ellington. The festival concludes with an awards ceremony honoring outstanding soloists, sections and the three top-placing bands.

For the first time, the entire weekend of EE events, including the final concert featuring the three top-placing bands and the JLCO, will be webcast live on

The Competition & Festival is the culmination of the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program (EE), which also includes regional festivals, teaching resources, a summer Band Director Academy, newsletters, and more.

Social Media:
This year, the Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival will be more media-accessible than ever via JALC social media – Facebook at
Twitter EssEllington Instagram Jalcnyc
Students, viewers, and participators can share their thoughts and photos with us by using the hashtag #EE2013.

Throughout March and April, Jazz at Lincoln Center will send, free of charge, a professional jazz musician to each of the 15 finalist band schools to lead an intensive day-long workshop of rehearsals, lessons, and master classes. The free clinics are part of the rich 18-year history of this unique music education program, which, by the end of this school year, will have reached more than 450,000 students in more than 4,000 high schools across all 50 United States, Canada, and American schools abroad.

The 2012-13 Essentially Ellington repertoire includes, Duke Ellington’s “Blood Count,” “Bonga,” “Echoes of Harlem,” “Lightnin’,” “Royal Garden Blues,” and “Second Line.”
This year, for the first time, band directors have access to free charts and other JALC resources available through instant digital download.
By the end of this year, Jazz at Lincoln Center will have distributed 15,000 newly transcribed scores
JALC has sent over 135,000 free copies of 104 previously unavailable big band scores by Duke Ellington and other seminal composers
252 finalist bands have traveled to New York City to participate in the annual Competition & Festival
This year 2,500 high schools in the United States, Canada, and American schools in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom will receive Essentially Ellington materials.
In the first three months of registration, more than 1,500 band directors have registered their high schools and the program is on track for a record number of registrations.
This year, 96 bands entered the competition by submitting a recorded performance of three compositions.
For more information including background, history, photos, and audio recordings of the Essentially Ellington 2013 repertoire, and more, visit:

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street, New York, New York.

All ticket sales will be handled via or the Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office at Broadway and 60th Street inside Time Warner Center. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office is open Monday through Saturday, 10am-6pm, and Sundays, 12pm-6pm. Quantities are limited.

Founding leadership support for Essentially Ellington is provided by The Jack and Susan Rudin Educational and Scholarship Fund.

Major support is provided by
The Con Edison Community Partnership Fund,
Jody and John Arnhold, Alfred and Gail Engelberg,
The Ella Fitzgerald Foundation,
The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation,
The Mericos Foundation, Jennifer and Michael Price, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust,
the Vosshall Family and the Augustine Foundation.

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  1. Great festival! However, I have an issue where a festival/competition, that is promoted for high schools, has a winner and a second place finish from groups that are NOT high schools. Both Tuscon Jazz Institute and Jazz House Kids promote themselves as “community” groups, not high schools. I think if EE is going to allow community groups they should change the wording on their webpage or not allow them to participate in “high school” competitions. If EE wants high school age student groups then they should change the wording or qualifications for participating in this wonderful festival.

    jon on May 14th, 2013 at 11:41pm