Winners of 17th Essentially Ellington Competition 2012

Three high school jazz bands took top honors on Sunday night at the 17th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center. The bands were chosen by a panel of judges composed of distinguished jazz musicians and historians, including Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Artistic Director WYNTON MARSALIS, DAVID BERGER, BILL DOBBINS, JEFF HAMILTON and SHERMAN IRBY. The three top-placing bands were chosen from a field of 15 finalist bands that participated in the three-day Competition & Festival from May 4-6. 
Competition performances of all the bands were streamed live and will soon be archived at
Essentially Ellington culminated at Sunday night’s concert. Taking place at New York City’s famed Avery Fisher Hall, the concert featured the three top-placing bands performing with a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra 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.

At an awards ceremony after the performances, Wynton Marsalis presented prizes and cash awards to each of the 15 finalist bands. Christopher Dorsey, Director of the Dillard Center for the Arts, accepted the 1st place trophy and an award of $5,000. Scott Brown, Director of Roosevelt High School, accepted the 2nd place trophy and an award of $2,500. Peter Francis, Director of New World School of the Arts accepted the 3rd place trophy and an award of $1,000.
Rio Americano High School, under the direction of Josh Murray, 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 the schools’ jazz programs.  Awards for outstanding soloists and sections were also presented (see listing below). 
“This is possibly the strongest competition we’ve had in 17 years.  As a former Essentially Ellington finalist band director, I have great insight into what it takes to get a band to this level,” said Jazz at Lincoln Center Director of Education Todd Stoll. “It has been inspiring to watch these young people interact with each other, members of our band and Wynton Marsalis over the last 3 days.  This Festival is a testament to the importance of music and arts education in America.  I congratulate all of the bands, the winners and our incredible Essentially Ellington team for a weekend that’s both inspirational and transformational.”

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s
17th Annual Essentially Ellington High School
Jazz Band Competition & Festival 2012 Awards
Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Roosevelt High School (Seattle, WA) 
New World School of the Arts (Miami, FL)
Rio Americano High School (Sacramento, CA)
Tucson Jazz Institute (Tucson, AZ)

Honorable Mention Alto Saxophone:

Emery Mesich, Rio Americano High School

Max McArthur, DeKalb High School

Tim Leslie, Beloit Memorial High School

Angie Coyle, Eau Claire North High School

Marcelo Romero, New World School of the Arts

Outstanding Alto Saxophone:
Jorge Roldan, New World School of the Arts

Honorable Mention Tenor Saxophone:
Nick Hollon, Lakota East High School

Ruby Fore, Ballard High School

Outstanding Tenor Saxophone:

Adrian Noteboom, Roosevelt High School
David Leon, New World School of the Arts

Ben Stocker, Dillard Center for the Arts
Jonathan Hainsworth, Dillard Center for the Arts

Honorable Mention Baritone Saxophone:

Sarah Clausen, Badger High School

Trevor Bazile, New World School of the Arts

Honorable Mention Clarinet
Emma Cocatre-Zilgien, Champaign Central High School


Outstanding Trumpet
John Otten, Roosevelt High School
Max Boiko, Dillard Center for the Arts
Andrew Stevens, Rio Americano High School
Anthony Hervey, Dillard Center for the Arts
Noah Halpern, Roosevelt High School
Sam Zisette, Ballard High School
Aaron Todahl, Lakota East High School
Honorable Mention Trumpet:

Ryan DeWeese, Esperanza High School

Michael Dudley, Lakota East High School

Alex Rosenfeld, Medfield High School

Outstanding Lead Trumpet:
Christian Dorsey, Dillard Center for the Arts
Outstanding Trombone:
Coleman Hughes, Newark Academy
Michael Wang, Rio Americano High School
Ryan Earl, DeKalb High School
Outstanding Multi-Instrumentalist:
Max Goldschmid, Tucson Jazz Institute

Honorable Mention Piano:

Nathaniel Okun, Newark Academy

Taylor Griffin, Mountlake Terrace High School


Outstanding Piano:
Nathan Rice, Newark Academy
Grant Cherry, Tucson Jazz Institute
Pierre Charles, Beloit Memorial High School
Chris McCarthy, Roosevelt High School
Honorable Mention Bass:
Sean Blair, Dillard Center for the Arts

Outstanding Bass:
Russell Hall, Dillard Center for the Arts
Rinah Wilson, DeKalb High School
Jose Albizu Campos, New World School of the Arts

Honorable Mention Drums:

Carmen Rast, Champaign Central High School

Ryland Mandish, Tucson Jazz Institute


Outstanding Drums:
Sydney Henry, Dillard Center for the Arts
Nate Sampson, Roosevelt High School

Ryan Leppich, Mountlake Terrace High School
Nick Hach, Lakota East High School
Paul Slater, Rio Americano High School
Outstanding Vibraphone:
Kabir Thatte, Medfield High School
Honorable Mention Vocalist:
Isabella Yanke, Badger High School

Outstanding Vocalist:
Jade Likkel, Ballard High School
Outstanding Guitar:
Adam Shimabukuro, Roosevelt High School
Harley Basadre, New World School of the Arts

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

Honorable Mention Reeds:
Roosevelt High School

Outstanding Reeds:
Eau Claire North High School
Mountlake Terrace High School
Dillard Center for the Arts
Outstanding Brass:
Tucson Jazz Institue
Badger High School
Roosevelt High School

Honorable Mention Pep Section

Champaign Central High School
Outstanding Trombones:
Dillard Center for the Arts
Outstanding Trumpets:
Dillard Center for the Arts 
Outstanding Rhythm Section:
New World School of the Arts

Mountlake Terrace High School
A photo gallery of the entire Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival and recordings of the competition performances will be available in upcoming weeks on

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 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 17-year history of this unique music education program, which has reached more than 304,000 students in more than 4,000 high schools across all 50 United States, Canada, Australia and American schools abroad.  Essentially Ellington has produced and distributed more than 120,000 copies of 98 previously unavailable scores and 237 finalist bands have traveled to New York City to participate in the annual Competition & Festival.  
This year Jazz at Lincoln Center distributed more than 10,200 newly transcribed scores, reference recordings and additional educational materials. 
1,770 high schools in the United States, Canada, and American schools in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, Zimbabwe, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa, the People’s Republic of China and Switzerland received Essentially Ellington materials.
111 bands entered the competition by submitting a recorded performance of three compositions.
The entries were evaluated in a blind screening by jazz education experts RONALD CARTER, SHERMAN IRBY, LOREN SCHOENBERG, and STEVE FIDYK. 
15 finalists and one community ensemble were selected.
The 15 finalists for Essentially Ellington 2012 were:
Badger High School, Lake Geneva, WI
Ballard High School, Seattle, WA 
Beloit Memorial High School, Beloit, WI 
Champaign Central High School, Champaign, IL 
DeKalb High School, DeKalb, IL 
Dillard Center for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL 
Eau Claire North High School, Eau Claire, WI 
Esperanza High School, Anaheim, CA 
Lakota East High School, Liberty Township, OH 
Medfield High School, Medfield, MA 
Mountlake Terrace High School, Mountlake Terrace, WA New World School of the Arts, Miami, FL 
Newark Academy, Livingston, NJ 
Rio Americano High School, Sacramento, CA 
Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA
Winner of Community Band Category:

Tucson Jazz Institute, Tucson, AZ
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, The Irene Diamond Fund, Gail and Alfred Engelberg, The Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, The Dexter Gordon Foundation, The William Randolph Hearst Foundation, The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation, Nathan P. Jacobs Foundation, The Mericos Foundation, and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
Media Contact: Eva Dilmanian for Jazz at Lincoln Center
Phone: 646.675.8550
Email: [email protected]

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  1. Arriana Grande is Ugly……….. Ugh She look so nasty right now

    Canondre on May 10th, 2012 at 10:15am

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