Winners of 18th Essentially Ellington Competition 2013

Jazz at Lincoln Center Announces Winning High School Jazz Bands In The 18Th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival

First Place: Tucson Jazz Institute, Tucson, AZ
Second Place: Jazz House Kids, Montclair, NJ
Third Place: Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA
Honorable Mention: Dillard Center for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL

New York, NY (May 12, 2013) Tonight, Jazz at Lincoln Center proudly announced the high school jazz bands in the nation who took the highest honors at the prestigious 18th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival (EE) at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

After a packed three days of mentoring, jam sessions, and workshops, EE culminated with tonight’s final concert, where the top-placing bands each performed with a Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) member. The second half of the final concert featured the world renowned JLCO with Wynton Marsalis – whose members served as mentors for the finalist bands throughout the weekend – performing a repertoire of tunes made famous by Duke Ellington.

Each band was chosen by a panel of judges composed of distinguished jazz musicians and historians: Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Artistic and Managing Director Wynton Marsalis; composer, conductor, and Ellington authority David Berger; composer and arranger Rich DeRosa; educator and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member Victor Goines; and bassist extraordinaire and educator Ron Carter.

At the awards ceremony, Wynton Marsalis presented awards to each of the 15 finalist high school jazz bands. Doug Tidaback, director of Tucson Jazz Institute, accepted the 1st place trophy and an award of $5,000. Julius Tolentino, director of Jazz House Kids, accepted the 2nd place trophy and an award of $2,500. Scott Brown, director of Roosevelt High School, accepted the 3rd place trophy and an award of $1,000. Dillard Center for the Arts, directed by Christopher Dorsey, received honorable mention and an award of $750. The remaining eleven bands were each awarded certificates of merit and cash awards of $500. All monetary awards are to be used for improving the jazz education programs of each respective high school.

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 18th Annual
Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival Awards

First Place
Tucson Jazz Institute, Tucson, AZ

Second Place
Jazz House Kids, Montclair, NJ

Third Place
Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA

Honorable Mention
Dillard Center for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Outstanding Sections
Jazz House Kids

Outstanding Saxophone Section
Beloit Memorial High School
Garfield High School
Community Arts Program
Rio Americano High School
Roosevelt High School
Dillard Center for the Arts
Lexington High School
Honorable Mention
New World School of the Arts

Edmonds-Woodway High School

Outstanding Trombone Section
Roosevelt High School
Tucson Jazz Institute

Garfield High School
Badger High School
Roosevelt High School
Tucson Jazz Institute

Rio Americano High School

Outstanding Soloist
Kyra Silbernagel, Sun Prairie High School
Jack Swiggett, Garfield High School
Isaiah Thompson, Jazz House Kids
Franchesca Romera, New World School of the Arts
Evan Tarrh, Lexington High School
Alex Olsen, Foxboro High School
Joey Cozza, Rio Americano
Daniel Arthur, Roosevelt High School

Outstanding Soloist
Sam Olson, Sun Prairie High School
Alex Warshawsky, Jazz House Kids

Outstanding Soloist
David Zyto, Jazz House Kids
Josh Bermudez, New World School of the Arts
Henry Lunetta, Rio Americano High School
Honorable Mention
Kevin Scollins, Foxboro High School

Outstanding Soloist
Aaron Crawford, Beloit Memorial High School
Luke Woodle, Roosevelt High School
Honorable Mention
Nick Adair, Foxboro High School
Paul Slater, Rio Americano High School

Outstanding Soloist
Kyle Brooks, Edmonds-Woodway High School
Dexter Callender III, Community Arts Program
Honorable Mention
Laura Kidder, Badger High School
Crissy Cavallaro, Foxboro High School

Alto Saxophone
Outstanding Soloist
Tim Leslie, Beloit Memorial High School
Aaron Reihs, American Music Program
Nathan Altman, Sun Prairie High School
Zoe Obadia, Jazz House Kids
Julian Lee, Jazz House Kids
Sarah Clausen, Badger High School
Emery Mesich, Rio Americano High School
Anna Dolde, Roosevelt High School
Alan Acosta, Tuscon Jazz Institute
Honorable Mention
Ariel Loud, Garfield High School
Markus Howell, Dillard Center for the Arts
Kira Daglio-Fine, Lexington High School

Tenor Saxophone
Outstanding Soloist
Rony Gimenez, Beloit Memorial High School
Jack Ferguson, Jazz House Kids
Nathan Rice, Jazz House Kids
Lucas Bere, Rio Americano High School

Outstanding Doubler
Isak Washburn-Gaines, Garfield High School, on Clarinet and Tenor
Honorable Mention
Angie Jepsen, Foxboro High School, on Flute and Alto

Outstanding Tripler
Robbie Lee, Tucson Jazz Institute, on Piano, Vocal, and Saxophone

Outstanding Soloist
Charlie Sommers, Badger High School
David Ayala, Badger High School
Taylor Young, Dillard Center for the Arts
Sam Chess, Tucson Jazz Institute
Honorable Mention
Connor Hargus, Garfield High School
John Colan Bukowski, Community Arts Program

Outstanding Soloist
Noah Conrad, American Music Program
Wallace Roney, Jazz House Kids
Anthony Hervey, Dillard Center for the Arts
Fernando Ferrarone, Community Arts Program
Andrew Stephens, Rio Americano High School
John Otten, Roosevelt High School
Noah Halpern, Roosevelt High School
Jeffrey Gustaveson, Roosevelt High School
Alex Melnychuk, Tucson Jazz Institute
Honorable Mention
Carter Hall, New World School of the Arts

Honorable Mention
Isabella Yanke, Badger High School

The Ella Fitzgerald Outstanding Soloist Award
Coleman Hughes, Jazz House Kids

In the spirit of creativity and continuing the jazz legacy, Jazz at Lincoln Center also recognized Devon Gillingham, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, as the winner of the first Essentially Ellington Gerhard W. Vosshall Student Composition/Arranging Contest. Each submission was critiqued by composer, arranger, and Ellington authority David Berger, and the winning selection was recorded by the JLCO at their annual Essentially Ellington recording session on May 9, 2013. In addition, the winning composer received a cash prize, a composition lesson with David Berger, and a trip to New York City to observe the JLCO recording session and the 2013 Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival. The Contest was made possible through a generous gift from the Vosshall family in honor of their father Gerhard W. Vosshall.

The three-day festival began on Friday, May 10, with the finalist bands’ arrival at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s home, Frederick P. Rose Hall. The students made their way to Rose Theater for a “One on One with Wynton Marsalis” through a congratulatory “cheer tunnel” of staff members, musicians, and press. Friday events included section workshops, rehearsals, a banquet dinner, and jam sessions with members of the JLCO. Saturday, May 11, kicked off with a JLCO open rehearsal, followed by Competition Part I. Competition Part II and Competition Part III took place on Sunday morning, May 12. On Sunday night, at the Concert and Awards Ceremony in Rose Theater, the three top-placing bands performed two tunes, with their choice of a JLCO member as guest soloist. The JLCO then performed the 2013-14 Essentially Ellington repertoire: the music of Duke Ellington and Gerald Wilson. The concert culminated with the awards ceremony honoring outstanding soloists and sections, and the top-placing bands.

In celebration of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 25th anniversary, the 18th annual Essentially Ellington repertoire honored the music made famous by Duke Ellington. The 2012-13 Essentially Ellington repertoire included Billy Strayhorn’s “Blood Count,” Clarence and Spencer Williams’ “Royal Garden Blues,” and Duke Ellington’s “Bonga,” “Echoes of Harlem,” “Lightnin’,” and “Second Line.”

The 2013 Essentially Ellington Finalists: 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.

As part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s goal to make the organization’s productions as globally accessible as possible, the entire Essentially Ellington 2013 Competition and Festival was live webcast at

An Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival photo gallery and recordings of the competition performances will be available on

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

  • This year, for the first time, band directors received access to charts and other JALC resources available through instant digital download.

  • By the end of this year, JALC 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.

  • Throughout March and April, JALC sends, 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.

  • 252 finalist bands have traveled to New York City to participate in the annual Competition & Festival.

  • This year 2,000 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.

  • This year, 96 bands entered the competition by submitting a recorded performance of three tunes performed from JALC’s Essentially Ellington library.

For more information including background, history, photos, and audio recordings of the Essentially Ellington 2013 repertoire, and more, visit:

Founding leadership support for
Essentially Ellingtonis 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,
Augustine Foundation,
Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation,
Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation,
Mericos Foundation, 
Jennifer and Michael Price,
Donald and Darlene Shiley,
The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, 
and the Vosshall Family.

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