Winners of 16th Annual Essentially Ellington Competition 2011


Competition Webcast Available Monday, May 16

1st Place:
Dillard Center for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL

2nd Place:
Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA

3rd Place:
Mountlake Terrace High School, Seattle, WAHonorable Mention:New World School of the Arts, Miami, FL

Honorable Mention:
New World School of the Arts, Miami, FL

Three high school jazz bands took top honors tonight in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 16th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. Each band was chosen by a panel of judges composed of distinguished jazz musiciansand historians- Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Artistic Director WYNTON MARSALIS; composer, conductor, and Ellington authority DAVID BERGER; composer and arranger RICH DEROSA; trombonist, educator, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member VINCENT GARDNER, and drummer and big band leader JEFF HAMILTON- from among the 15 finalist bands that came to the Competition & Festival in New York City. Competition performances of all the bands were streamed live and can be seen at from Monday, May 16th through Saturday, May 21st.

Essentially Ellington culminated at tonight’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. The JLCO’s performance included pieces by Duke Ellington plus music composed by Dizzy Gillespie which will be distributed by Jazz at Lincoln Center for the 2011-12 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. Christopher Dorsey, Director of the Dillard Center for the Arts Jazz Ensemble, accepted the 1st place trophy and an award of $5,000. Scott Brown, Director of Roosevelt Jazz Bandaccepted the 2nd place trophy and an award of $2,500.Darin Faul, Director of Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Ensemble I accepted the 3rd place trophy and an award of $1,000. New World School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble 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 16th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival 2011 Awards

Dillard Center for the Arts

Roosevelt High School

Mountlake Terrace High School

New World School of the Arts

American Music Program Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra


On Clarinet
Honorable Mention Clarinet:
Matt Choi, Agoura High School

Outstanding Clarinet:
Adam Harris, Hall High School

On Alto Saxophone
Honorable Mention Alto Saxophone:
Kama Bell, American Music Program
Harvey Xia, Wellesley High School
Kristjan Joseph, River East Collegiate
Jorge Roldan, New World School of the Arts
Dara Karbasioon, Agoura High School
Julia Brummel, Sun Prairie High School

Outstanding Alto Saxophone:
Carlos Brown, East St. Louis High School
David Leon, New World School of the Arts
Ian Mengedoht, Roosevelt High School
Carlie Jansen, Agoura High School
Patrick Bartley, Dillard Center for the Arts

On Tenor Saxophone
Outstanding Tenor Saxophone:
Aaron Reihs, American Music Program
Xavier Del Castillo, Roosevelt High School
Adrian Noteboom, Roosevelt High School
Rane Roatta, New World School of the Arts
Forest Jackson, Mountlake Terrace High School
Anthony Burrel, Dillard Center for the Arts

Outstanding Doubler – on Tenor and Clarinet
Matt Kampe, Hall High School
Jared Giunta, Valley High School

Outstanding Tripler – on Tenor, Alto, and Clarinet
Brendan Thomas, Foxboro High School
Jack Walters, Mountlake Terrace High School

On Trumpet
Honorable Mention Trumpet:Frankie Hanson, Sun Prairie High School
Dan Weinreb, Hall High School

Outstanding Trumpet:
Colin Didier, St. Charles North High School
Clark Davis, Wellesley High School
Brady Lewis, East St. Louis High School
Nick Conkle, Roosevelt High School
Taylor Call, Mountlake Terrace High School
Skyler Floe, Mountlake Terrace High School
Max Boiko, Dillard Center for the Arts
Noah Conrad, American Music Program
Austin Casey, American Music Program
Benjamin Seacrest, American Music Program

On Trombone
Honorable Mention Trombone:
Reid Isaak, River East Collegiate
Kirby Fellis, Dillard Center for the Arts

Outstanding Trombone:
Alex Stenzel, Valley High School
Andrew Karboski, Roosevelt High School
Ashton Summers, American Music Program
Ian Garner, American Music Program
Paul Atwood, Temple High School
Thomas Dover, New World School of the Arts
Kendall Irby, Mountlake Terrace High School
Christopher Dorsey II, Dillard Center for the Arts
Brandon Russel, Agoura High School

On French Horn
Outstanding French Horn:
Stewart Nadurak, River East Collegiate

On Piano
Honorable Mention Piano:
Terrion Peete, East St. Louis High School
Sarah Nunes, Hall High School
Ian Williams, Downers Grove High School
Daryl Jones, Dillard Center for the Arts
Ajay Narayanan, Temple High School

Outstanding Piano:
Jon Nelson, Sun Prairie High School
Paul Buser, Wellesley High School
Kenneth Tham, River East Collegiate
Chris McCarthy, Roosevelt High School
Alex Olsen, Foxboro High School

On Bass
Honorable Mention Bass:
Cole Ridd, River East Collegiate
Andrada Pteanc, Downers Grove High School
Julia Woods, Downers Grove High School
Connor Schulz, Foxboro High School

Outstanding Bass:
Russell Hall, Dillard Center for the Arts

On Drums
Outstanding Drums:
Nick Kula, River East Collegiate

On Vibraphone
Outstanding Vibraphone:
Matt Dibiase, Wellesley High School

On Vocals
Honorable Mention Vocalist:
Eric Reiman, Roosevelt High School

Outstanding Vocalist:
Katherine Stuber, Roosevelt High School

On Guitar
Outstanding Guitar:
Harley Basadre, New World School of the Arts
Kevin Scollins, Foxboro High School

Outstanding Rhythm Guitar:
Armando Zamora, Dillard Center for the Arts

The Ella Fitzgerald Outstanding Soloist Award:
Tony Madruga, New World School of the Arts


Honorable Mention Reeds:
Agoura High School

Outstanding Reeds:
Roosevelt High School
Foxboro High School
Dillard Center for the Arts

Outstanding Brass:
Hall High School

Outstanding Trombones:
American Music Program
Wellesley High School
Temple High School
Valley High School
Roosevelt High School
Mountlake Terrace High School

Outstanding Trumpets:
Sun Prairie High School
American Music Program
Roosevelt High School
Rhythm Section
Honorable Mention

Rhythm Section:
River East Collegiate

Outstanding Rhythm Section:
Roosevelt High School
Foxboro High School
New World School of the Arts
Dillard Center for the Arts
Mountlake Terrace High School
Roosevelt High School (two complete sections)

In addition, Jazz at Lincoln Center recognized the winner of the tenth Essentially Ellington Writing Contest. The contest invited students from all participating high schools to submit a nonfiction personal essay or fictional short story based on interpretations of the stories jazz musicians tell with their music. Jazz at Lincoln Center received over 60 submissions from which Jazz at Lincoln Center staff and 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 a member of Foxboro High School’s band, Brendan Thomas was in attendance at the Competition & Festival. His outstanding work was recognized at the Final Concert and Awards Ceremony. In addition, Thomas’ winning essay, was printed in the Festival playbill and a seat in Rose Theater will be engraved in his honor.

For more information on the annual Essentially Ellington Student Writing Contest and to read the winning essay visit:

After a three-day Competition & Festival, May 12, 13, & 14, 2011 at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, honors were announced during the Final Concert & Awards Ceremony that took place May 14 at Avery Fisher Hall.
How: 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 Thursday, May 12 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 JLCO. On Friday, May 13, the winning community ensemble performed at 2:30pm followed by the first of three Competition parts, which were webcast live for the first time in the history of the program. The Competition, where each band’s performance of three Ellington and/or Basie works was judged by a panel of judges, continued on Saturday, May 14 at 10am and 1pm. At the May 14th, 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 Dizzy Gillespie repertoire.

The concert ended with the culminating awards ceremony honoring outstanding soloists and sections and the three top-placing bands. In addition to repertoire by Ellington, the 2011-12 Essentially Ellington season is the first time in the history of the program that repertoire composed by Dizzy Gillespie will be included in the program. Repertoire includes, Duke Ellington’s “Riding On a Blue Note,” “Sepia Panorama,” and from The Queen’s Suite, “Sunset and The Mocking Bird,” and Dizzy Gillespie’s, “Night in Tunisia,” “Oop Bop Sh’Bam,” and “Things To Come.”

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 2010-11 included music composed for the Count Basie Orchestra, “Every Day I Have the Blues,” “Swingin’ The Blues,” and “Tippin’ on the Q.T.” 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.

The music along with reference recordings and other resources were distributed to all high school jazz bands that joined the free program.

Throughout 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 16-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. EE has produced and distributed more than 96,000 copies of 92 previously unavailable scores and 222 finalist bands have traveled to New York City to participate in the annual Competition & Festival.

  • This year Jazz at Lincoln Center distributed more than 9,200 newly transcribed scores, reference recordings and additional educational materials.
  • 1,536 high schoolsin the United States, Canada, and American schools in Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, and Switzerland received Essentially Ellington materials.
  • 110 bands enteredthe competition by submitting a recorded performance of three compositions.
  • The entrieswere evaluated in a blind screening by jazz education experts RONALD CARTER, ANDREW HOMZY, LOREN SCHOENBERG, and TODD WILLIAMS.
  • 15 finalists and one community ensemble were selected.
  • The Competition was webcast live for the first time. All sixteen performances can be viewed from Monday, May 16th until Saturday, May 21st at

The 15 finalists for Essentially Ellington 2011 were:

Agoura High School, Agoura Hills, CA
William H. Hall High School, West Hartford, CT
Dillard Center for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL
New World School of the Arts, Miami, FL
Valley High School, West Des Moines, IA
Downers Grove South High School, Downers Grove, IL
East St. Louis High School, East St. Louis, IL
St. Charles North High School, St. Charles, IL
Foxboro High School, Foxboro, MA
Wellesley High School, Wellesley, MARiver East Collegiate, Winnipeg, MB
Temple High School, Temple, TX
Mountlake Terrace High School, Mountlake Terrace, WA
Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA
Sun Prairie High School, Sun Prairie, WI
Winner of Community Band Category:
American Music Program Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra, Portland, OR

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  1. How can I contact Christopher Dorsery director of Dillard Center for the Arts?

    Steve Starace
    [email protected]

    Steve Starace on Oct 11th, 2011 at 1:53pm

  2. The Coral Gables Music Club is very proud of your outstanding performance and being awarded the Ella Fitzgerald Award for outstanding soloist of the entire “2011 Essentially Ellington Competition”.

    The Coral Gables Music Club will continue to showcase you through the scholarship program throughout this Music Club year.

    Tony, you are special to the world of music, your parents who have nurtured your talent, your music teachers, your school, other mentors and our Music Club.

    Your dedication has awarded you success.

    Patricia “Pat” Clarke, President
    Coral Gables Music Club

    Patricia H. "Pat" Clarke on Jun 18th, 2011 at 5:13pm

  3. The Gold Coast Jazz Society members and leadership are proud of the Dillard School of the Arts 1st Place finish and the New World School of the Arts Honorable Mention at the Essentially Ellington competition.

    Many of these south Florida students from both schools have participated in our Jeannette Russell Jazz Scholarship program over the last several years and it has been our privilege to watch each of them grow musically as well as developing fine character traits as individuals in the community.

    Our appreciation goes out to their parents, mentors, band directors and teachers who have invested extraordinary efforts in their support of these students and our
    thanks to Wynton Marsalis and everyone at JALC for providing these fine young people the opportunity to gain recognition for their hard work and dedication.

    Ron Murfin, Chmn, Gold Coast Jazz Society on May 16th, 2011 at 4:10pm

  4. CONGRATS… Temple High School – Highlighters……What an awesome experience for you all. Special Congrats to Paul & Ajay & the Trombone section !
    All your hard work & dedication paid off. Keep that great music going…..! To Bob Medina – Thanks for all your energy & enthusiam….!
    Karen & Rudy Gonzales – In The Mood Ballroom

    In the Mood Ballroom on May 15th, 2011 at 1:34pm

  5. Congratulations EAST ST. LOUIS SENIOR HIGH AND MR. REDMOND. class of 1968 SALUTES you. You make us PROUD

    James King on May 15th, 2011 at 7:17am

  6. THANKS for inviting East St. Louis Senir High to your competition. What a wonderful experience for these young people. They are the pearls in a rough environment. We are so proud of these young ladies and gentlemen. Praises go out to the Jazz band director, Mr. Redmond

    James King on May 15th, 2011 at 7:14am