Jazz At Lincoln Center Announces 15 Finalists For The 2014 Essentially Ellington Competition


Bands Compete for Top Honors at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall on May 8 – 10, 2014

NEW YORK, NY – February 19, 2014 – Jazz at Lincoln Center proudly announces the 15 finalist bands that will compete in the prestigious 19th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival at Frederick P. Rose Hall on May 8 – 10, 2014. The following finalists are among nearly 100 high school jazz bands across North America that entered the competition. Each school submitted recordings of three tunes performed from charts from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington library.

Beloit Memorial High School (Beloit, WI)
Carroll Senior High School (Southlake, TX)
Community Arts Program (Coral Gables, FL)
Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Garfield High School (Seattle, WA)
Jazz House Kids (Montclair, NJ)
Lexington High School (Lexington, MA)
Medfield High School (Medfield, MA)
Mt. Si High School (Snoqualmie, WA)
Osceola County School for the Arts (Kissimmee, FL)
Rio Americano High School (Sacramento, CA)
Roosevelt High School (Seattle, WA)
Sun Prairie High School (Sun Prairie, WI)
Tucson Jazz Institute (Tucson, AZ)
Whiteland Community High School (Whiteland, IN)

Throughout March and April, Jazz at Lincoln Center will send, free of charge, a professional jazz musician and educator to each of the 15 finalist band schools to lead an intensive four-hour workshop of rehearsals, lessons, and master classes. The Essentially Ellington Program will also provide free workshops to an underserved school in each of the finalist band communities. The free finalist clinics are part of the rich 19-year history of this unique music education program, which has reached more than 504,000 students in more than 4,200 high schools across all 50 United States, Canada, and American schools abroad.

Beginning on May 8, the 15 bands will compete for top honors and participate in workshops, jam sessions, and more during the three-day Competition & Festival in New York City. The first half of the final concert on May 10 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 announcement three top-placing bands. In the program’s history, 267 finalist bands have traveled to New York City to participate in the annual Competition & Festival.

The 2013-14 Essentially Ellington repertoire includes, Duke Ellington’s, “Chinoiserie,” “Flirtibird,” “I Like the Sunrise,” and “Uptown Downbeat”; Gerald Wilson’s “Dissonance In Blues,” “Nancy Jo,” and “Teri,” as well as Gerald Wilson’s arrangement of “Perdido,” composed by Ervin Drake, Harry Lenk, and Juan Tizol.

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 non-competitive regional festivals around the country, teaching resources, a summer Band Director Academy, newsletters, and more. The year-long Essentially Ellington program will have distributed 21,600 newly transcribed scores by the end of this school year. For more information including background, history, photos, and audio recordings of the Essentially Ellington 2014 repertoire, and more, visit:

This year, the Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival will be more media-accessible than ever via JALC social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. Students, viewers, and participators can share their thoughts and photos by using the hashtag #EE2014.

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2013-14 Concert and Education Season boasts a diverse range of artistry and embodies the concept “all jazz is modern.” Click here for the complete season schedule.

All ticket sales will be handled via or the Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office at Broadway and 60th Street inside the Time Warner Center, beginning April 1.   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 Alfred and Gail Engelberg, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation, Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and the Vosshall Family.

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  1. GREAT FESTIVAL! Some great music being performed and great teaching. However, if you are going to make it a SCHOOL competition, then it should be for academic institutions only…OR… make a separate division for the community schools. Those “all-star” bands may be labeled “schools”, but the participants are not under any academic influences that public and private (academic) schools are under. Those bands have more than one instructor and most likely are able to rehearse more than the 5 hours a week the public schools are limited to. Competitions should have fair and equal qualifications. If the Seattle area put together a band like some of these other community “schools”, I’ll bet there would be lot of people complaining about their dominance. Look what two PUBLIC high schools have done in the history of the EE Festival. What has been the response? The evolution of these “all-star” bands whose primary goal is to win trophies and make names for themselves in a non-academic setting. Any community could do that.


    jon on May 12th, 2014 at 2:09pm