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Jazz at Lincoln Center Announces Winners of 27th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival 2022

Osceola County School for the Arts (photo: Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

New York, NY – May 7, 2022 – Jazz at Lincoln Center today announced the three top-placing high school jazz bands in the nation and more than 35 other individual and section awards in the prestigious 27th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center and the hallmark program for the largest jazz education network in the world. Grounded in the nonprofit JALC’s 34-year history of educational excellence in jazz, Essentially Ellington has fostered the talent and appreciation for jazz music in over one million young musicians.

At a ceremony on Saturday night, Wynton Marsalis presented awards to each of the 15 finalist high school jazz bands. Osceola County School for the Arts accepted the first place trophy and an award of $5,000. Foxboro High School accepted the second place trophy and an award of $2,500. Orange County School of the Arts accepted the third place trophy with an award of $1,000. The remaining ten bands were each awarded $500. All monetary awards are to be used for improving the jazz education programs of each respective high school.

Through the Essentially Ellington program, the 15 finalist high school jazz bands were immersed in mentoring, jam sessions, and workshops. The competition culminated in a blowout Saturday nights concert on the iconic Jazz at Lincoln Center stage 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.

“The most important part of a competition is the communal element, which allows us to come together and embrace the creativity of others,” said Wynton Marsalis, Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. “What I love the most about Essentially Ellington is seeing bands sit and listen to their colleagues, and experience a depth of feeling about the music that’s genuine. My hope for the future is for this feeling to continue growing deeper with meaning. We need these young musicians because we need change, and the humanity, understanding, and depth in musicianship that they bring.”

In the spirit of creativity and continuing the jazz legacy, Jazz at Lincoln Center also recognized the winner of the 10th Annual J. Douglas White Essentially Ellington Student Composition and Arranging Contest, Skylar Tang from Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough, California. Skylar’s composition was recorded by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at their annual Essentially Ellington recording session on Wednesday, May 4. In addition, Skylar received a $1,000 cash prize, a composition lesson with Ted Nash, and a free trip to New York City for the weekend.

Arts education has been a pillar of Jazz at Lincoln Center since it was founded over thirty years ago, with the Essentially Ellington competition serving as a programming cornerstone for 27 of those years. As part of the more than 1,000 digital programs made available by Jazz at Lincoln Center since 2020, the Essentially Ellington Festival was held virtually in 2020 and 2021, expanding its reach internationally and connecting high school students to jazz resources and experts online.

This annual Competition & 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 Duke Ellington recordings, additional teaching resources, free adjudication, and more. The Essentially Ellington program has reached over 7,000 schools and independent bands in 58 countries. The program provides students with insight into American vernacular music and jazz, teaches about the communal history of jazz in a sociopolitical context, and builds awareness and appreciation of historical and contemporary jazz musicians.

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 27th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival Awards:

1st PLACE
Osceola County School for the Arts
Kissimmee, FL
(Director, Jason Anderson)

2nd PLACE
Foxboro High School
Foxboro, MA
(Director, Aaron Bush)

3rd PLACE
Orange County School of the Arts
Santa Ana, CA
(Director, John Reynolds)

HONORABLE MENTION RHYTHM SECTION:

  • New World School of the Arts
  • Osceola County School for the Arts
  • Mount Si High School

OUTSTANDING RHYTHM SECTION:

  • Beloit Memorial High School
  • Byron Center High School
  • Orange County School of the Arts
  • Roosevelt High School
  • Newark Academy
  • Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

HONORABLE MENTION SAXOPHONE SECTION:

  • Beloit Memorial High School

OUTSTANDING SAXOPHONE SECTION:

  • Jazz House Kids
  • Plano West Senior High School
  • Orange County School of the Arts
  • Foxboro High School
  • Roosevelt High School
  • Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble
  • Mount Si High School

HONORABLE MENTION REEDS:

  • Osceola County School for the Arts

OUTSTANDING REEDS:

  • Byron Center High School

HONORABLE MENTION TROMBONE SECTION:

  • Byron Center High School

OUTSTANDING TROMBONE SECTION:

  • New World School of the Arts
  • Osceola County School for the Arts
  • Mount Si High School

OUTSTANDING TRUMPET SECTION:

  • Jazz House Kids
  • Noblesville High School
  • Newark Academy
  • Osceola County School for the Arts
  • Mount Si High School

OUTSTANDING BRASS SECTION:

  • Bothell High School
  • Foxboro High School
  • Osceola County School for the Arts
  • Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

OUTSTANDING BRASS WITH PLUNGER:

  • Mount Si High School

BEST BAND BALANCE:

  • Mount Si High School

HONORABLE MENTION PIANO:

  • James Pakhomou – Jazz House Kids
  • Marshall Graves – Newark Academy

OUTSTANDING PIANO:

  • Kai Wong – Beloit Memorial High School
  • Isaac Goodman – Rio Americano High School
  • Nathan Tatsuta – Orange County School of the Arts
  • Theodore Shouse – Roosevelt High School
  • Ben Collins-Siegel – Newark Academy

HONORABLE MENTION GUITAR:

  • Benjamin Carter – Foxboro High School

OUTSTANDING RHYTHM GUITAR:

  • Lance Taber – Mount Si High School

HONORABLE MENTION BANJO:

  • Maco Dacanay – Roosevelt High School

OUTSTANDING VIOLIN:

  • Jacquie Lee – Jazz House Kids

HONORABLE MENTION BASS:

  • Ruth-Mary Shackelford – Rio Americano High School
  • Joseph Thornbury – Noblesville High School
  • Cade Medearis – Plano West Senior High School
  • Sierra Hudson – New World School of the Arts

OUTSTANDING BASS:

  • Sam Konin – Jazz House Kids
  • Ryder Mendelson – Orange County School of the Arts
  • Grace Kaste – Roosevelt High School
  • Ben Collins-Siegel – Newark Academy

HONORABLE MENTION DRUMS:

  • Ethan Horn – Mount Si High School

OUTSTANDING DRUMS:

  • Jonathan Garrett – Beloit Memorial High School
  • Colton Wolfe – Byron Center High School
  • Christian St. Marseille – Orange County School of the Arts
  • Yoshi Stroh – Roosevelt High School
  • Alexander Polyakovsky – Roosevelt High School
  • Ben Schwartz – Newark Academy
  • Ethan Oliver – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

OUTSTANDING FLUTE:

  • Shyam Thandullu – Plano West Senior High School

HONORABLE MENTION CLARINET:

  • Lucas Netto – New World School of the Arts
  • Kiara Rouse – Osceola County School for the Arts

OUTSTANDING CLARINET:

  • Naoki Nikora – Beloit Memorial High School
  • Mark Ricco – Jazz House Kids
  • Paloma Cobbs-Silva – Rio Americano High School

OUTSTANDING SOPRANO SAXOPHONE:

  • Luke Toner – Orange County School of the Arts

OUTSTANDING ALTO SAXOPHONE:

  • Ginger Meyer – Jazz House Kids
  • Paloma Cobbs-Silva – Rio Americano High School
  • Nicolo Boselli – Plano West Senior High School
  • Noah Chirnomas – Newark Academy
  • Solomon Geleta – Osceola County School for the Arts
  • Nathaniel Wray – Mount Si High School

HONORABLE MENTION TENOR SAXOPHONE:

  • Trent Horio – Orange County School of the Arts
  • Kiara Rouse – Osceola County School for the Arts

OUTSTANDING TENOR SAXOPHONE:

  • Adarius Konche – Bothell High School
  • Oliver Kringel – Rio Americano High School
  • Owen Gwinn – Roosevelt High School
  • Ethan Lee – Newark Academy
  • Zeb Jewell-Alibhai – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

HONORABLE MENTION BARITONE SAXOPHONE:

  • Jackson McMorris – Rio Americano High School

OUTSTANDING BARITONE SAXOPHONE:

  • Samuel Chung – Orange County School of the Arts

OUTSTANDING DOUBLER:

  • Emma Lacy – Foxboro High School

HONORABLE MENTION TROMBONE:

  • Eamonn Rougvie – Beloit Memorial High School
  • Colin Thowtho – Rio Americano High School
  • Alex Heidelbaugh – Plano West Senior High School
  • Ethan Czaja – Byron Center High School
  • Leo Sui – Orange County School of the Arts
  • Sean Kelly – Foxboro High School
  • Luke Ramee – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble
  • Urielle Lockwood – Mount Si High School

OUTSTANDING TROMBONE:

  • Colin Woniewski – Byron Center High School
  • Bruno Tzinas – New World School of the Arts
  • Andre Perlman – New World School of the Arts

HONORABLE MENTION TRUMPET:

  • Violet Mujica – Jazz House Kids

OUTSTANDING TRUMPET:

  • Ellie Prindle – Bothell High School
  • Alvaro Caravaca – Jazz House Kids
  • Levi Rozek – Noblesville High School
  • Nolan Kirkwood – Byron Center High School
  • Cameron Shave – Foxboro High School
  • Javier Gonzalez – Roosevelt High School
  • Sid Chalasani – Newark Academy
  • Nathaniel Williford – Osceola County School for the Arts
  • Zeb Jewell-Alibhai – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

THE SNOOKY YOUNG AWARD:
Nathaniel Williford – Osceola County School for the Arts

THE BENNY CARTER AND IRA SULLIVAN MULTI INSTRUMENT AWARD:

  • Zeb Jewell-Alibhai – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

THE ELLA FITZGERALD OUTSTANDING SOLOIST AWARD:

  • Emma Lacy – Foxboro High School

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 trombonist Christopher Crenshaw; Joe Lovano; Carmen Bradford; and Jeff Hamilton.

The 15 Finalists for Essentially Ellington 2022 (in alphabetical order):

  • Beloit Memorial High School (Beloit, WI)
  • Bothell High School (Bothell, WA)
  • Byron Center High School (Byron Center, MI)
  • Foxboro High School (Foxboro, MA)
  • Jazz House Kids (Montclair, NJ)
  • Mount Si High School (Snoqualmie, WA)
  • New World School of the Arts (Miami, FL)
  • Newark Academy (Livingston, NJ)
  • Noblesville High School (Noblesville, IN)
  • Orange County School of the Arts (Santa Ana, CA)
  • Osceola County School for the Arts (Kissimmee, FL)
  • Plano West Senior High School (Plano, TX)
  • Rio Americano High School (Sacramento, CA)
  • Roosevelt High School (Seattle, WA)
  • Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble (Raleigh, NC)

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

Photos of the three finalist bands can be found here. Credit should be attributed to: Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center. B-roll can be found here

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