JALC Announces North America's Best H.S. Jazz Bands!

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Jazz At Lincoln Center Announces Winners Of Its Ninth Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival

1st Place: Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble
2nd Place: Foxboro High School Jazz Ensemble
3rd Place: Sun Prairie High School Jazz Ensemble I

Three high school jazz bands took top honors in the Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) Ninth Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. They were chosen by a panel of judges composed of distinguished jazz musicians - composer, conductor and Ellington authority DAVID BERGER; veteran bandleader and clarinetist/saxophonist BOB WILBER; bassist, former LCJO member and current director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University RODNEY WHITAKER, and JALC Artistic Director WYNTON MARSALIS - from among the 15 finalist bands from the U.S. and Canada that came to the competition and festival on May 22, 23, & 24, 2004.

Essentially Ellington culminated in tonight's concert, at which each of the three top-placing bands performed two Ellington compositions, one alone and one with Mr. Marsalis as guest trumpet soloist. The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (LCJO) then performed a set of Ellington compositions that JALC will distribute to high schools for Essentially Ellington 2005.

At the awards ceremony, Mr. Marsalis presented prizes to each of the 15 finalist bands. Clarence Acox, director of the Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble accepted the 1st place trophy and award of $2,000. Steve Massey, director of the Foxboro High School Jazz Ensemble accepted the 2nd place trophy and award of $1,500. Steve Sveum, director of the Sun Prairie High School Jazz Ensemble I, accepted the 3rd place trophy and award of $1,000. Lovett High School of Atlanta, Georgia, and New World High School of the Arts, Miami, Florida, were named Honorable Mention bands and awarded $750 each. The remaining 11 bands were awarded certificates of merit and awards of $500 each. All monetary awards go toward improving the schools' jazz programs. Awards for outstanding soloists and sections were also presented (see attached listing for details). For the fifth year in a row, JALC also presented the Ella Fitzgerald Vocalist Award, made possible by a grant from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.

In addition, JALC recognized the top three winners in the third Essentially Ellington Essay Contest: 1st place winner MARC ENGEL of North Springs High School, Roswell, GA; 2nd place winner KRISTOFFER FRIBERG of Delaware Valley High School, Milford, PA; and 3rd place winner GRANT WEAVER of Arapahoe High School of Centennial, CO. The contest invited students from all participating high schools to submit an essay describing a personal experience with jazz. JALC received many essays, from which author, scholar, and JALC board member Albert Murray chose the winners. As the 1st place winner for the winning essay entitled “A Meeting with Miles," Engel was invited to name a seat in Frederick P. Rose Hall - the new home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, which will open in October 2004.

The winner of the Conglomerate Band Workshop is Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra.

At the awards ceremony, Mr. Marsalis said, “It was an honor to witness the remarkable performance of each finalist band - it's clear that every musician here tonight has dedicated endless time and energy to the competition. I applaud each of you." Mr. Marsalis also emphasized the life lessons that he hopes young musicians learn from playing jazz, stating: “Our youth is the future of American culture and it's inspiring to see our youth embracing jazz. Swing is coordination and integrity. Swing is knowing control, knowing when to make appropriate choices, when to listen and when to respond. These are choices that help us every day. Let the feeling of swing permeate in everything you do."

Essentially Ellington is the largest of the over 450 events that JALC will produce this year. This unique music education program has provided original arrangements of Duke Ellington's music to nearly 200,000 high school musicians nationwide in its nine-year history.

The 15 finalists for Essentially Ellington 2004 are:

Agoura High School, Agoura Hills, CA
Denver School of the Arts, Denver, CO
Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Jacksonville, FL
New World School of the Arts, Miami, FL
The Lovett School, Atlanta, GA
St. Charles North High School, Saint Charles, IL
River East Collegiate, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Foxboro High School, Foxboro, MA
Honeoye Falls - Lima High School, Honeoye Falls, NY
Westerville South High School, Westerville, OH
Temple High School, Temple, TX
Garfield High School, Seattle, WA
Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA
Mead High School, Spokane, WA
Sun Prairie High School, Sun Prairie, WI

The three-day festival began on Saturday, May 22, when the finalist bands arrived for “One-On-One With Wynton Marsalis," workshops, rehearsals, a banquet dinner, and jam sessions with members of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (LCJO). Also included in the weekend activities was a film program on Duke Ellington. In the two-part competition on Sunday, May 23 at 4pm and Monday, May 24 at 10:30am in Avery Fisher Hall, the judges judged each band's performance of three Ellington works. At the May 24 concert, the top three bands performed alone and with Mr. Marsalis as soloist, followed by the LCJO performing an all-Ellington set with special guests 15-year old Italian prodigy, saxophonist FRANCESCO CAFISO and vocalist DARYL SHERMAN.


Essentially Ellington disseminates Duke Ellington compositions to high school jazz bands, encourages the study and performance of Ellington's music, and fosters mentoring relationships between students and professional musicians. The program has seen major growth in its nine years; open originally, in 1996, to schools in the New York tri-state area, it expanded to 13 states and D.C. in 1997 and then to all 26 states east of the Mississippi River in 1998. In 1999, the program opened up to all 50 states and U.S. territories. In 2000, JALC inaugurated an annual companion program - for educators only - the Band Director Academy. In 2001, Essentially Ellington expanded to include high school jazz bands from throughout Canada.


For each year's competition, JALC selects and transcribes original arrangements of several Duke Ellington compositions, previously unavailable, which are then published by Warner Bros. Publications, Inc. The six selections for 2004, which reflect the variety of styles and forms in Ellington's body of work, were: Jack The Bear, Rhapsody In Blue, Sugar Rum Cherry from the “Nutcracker Suite," Stompy Jones, Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue and Bli-Blip from “Jump for Joy." These arrangements were distributed for a $50 registration fee to all high school jazz bands that expressed interest in the program by returning an application card.

Of the 1,140 bands that received this year's six compositions and educational materials, 102 submitted recordings of three of those compositions to enter the competition. These recordings were evaluated in a blind screening by jazz education experts DAVID BERGER, RON CARTER, LOREN SCHOENBERG and REGINALD THOMAS. The 15 finalists were selected based on the criteria of soulfulness, improvisation, interpretation, technique, and tone/intonation. In addition, they were each evaluated within one of two categories. In Category A, 77 school groups who were not finalists in the past two years, competed for 10 finalist slots. In Category B, 17 school groups who were finalists in EE 2003 or 2002, competed for five finalist slots. These 15 bands competed against each other in New York City on May 23 & 24. This year a new Category C was created for conglomerate groups, those made up of students from more than one school. There were eight submissions to Category C, and the winning group received a workshop with Ellington authority DAVID BERGER.

Bands not wishing to enter the actual competition were invited to send in a recording for comments only. Each band that sent in a recording received a detailed critique of their performance and a certificate signed by artistic director Wynton Marsalis.

Throughout April 2004, JALC sent, free of charge, a professional musician to each of the 15 finalist schools to lead an intensive daylong workshop of rehearsals, lessons, and master classes. The clinicians included trumpeter TERELL STAFFORD; drummer JUSTIN DICIOCCIO; reed players RON CARTER and VICTOR GOINES, and pianist ARTURO O'FARRILL. During the festival, each finalist band was paired up with one of these clinicians or a LCJO member as a mentor. This summer, JALC will host the annual companion program - for educators only - the Band Director Academy in East Lansing, Michigan.

Major support for Essentially Ellington is provided by The Jack and Susan Rudin Educational and Scholarship Fund, Surdna Foundation, Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation, and Verizon Communications. Additional support is provided by The Heckscher Foundation for Children, the National Endowment for the Arts, Citigroup Foundation, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation, The New York Times Company Foundation, Gail & Alfred Engelberg, Elroy and Terry Krumholz Foundation, Robert E. and Elizabeth Anne La Blanc Foundation, and other generous funders.

Warner Bros. Publications, Inc. is the official print music publisher of Jazz at Lincoln Center. High school jazz band directors seeking more information on Essentially Ellington should contact Jonas Cartano, Education Associate, at (212) 258-9812 or ee@jalc.org.


Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble

Foxboro High School Jazz Ensemble

Sun Prairie High School Jazz Ensemble I

The Lovett School
New World School of the Arts

Jacob Zimmerman, alto saxophone, Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble
Aaron Holbrook, alto saxophone, Westerville South High School
Aaron Holbrook, tenor saxophone, Westerville South High School
David Palma, tenor saxophone, New World School of the Arts
Jeff Richardi, tenor saxaphone, Foxboro High School
Roxy Coss, tenor saxophone, Garfield High School
Tivon Pennicott, tenor saxophone, The Lovett School
Logan Strosahl, tenor saxophone, Roosevelt High School
Matt Walsh, baritone saxophone, Mead High School
Miles Fielder, trombone, Denver School of the Arts
Samuel Schlosser, trombone, Garfield High School
Corinne Bennett, trombone, Honeoye Falls-Lima High School
Joshua Richardson, trombone, St. Charles North High School
Brad Hoffman, trombone, Westerville South High School
Alphonso Horne, trumpet, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts
Michael Chapman, trumpet, Roosevelt High School
Andrew McGovern, trumpet, Roosevelt High School
Robert Sanon, trumpet, New World School of the Arts
Benjamin White, clarinet, Garfield High School
David Palma, clarinet, New World School of the Arts
Will Squires, piano, Garfield High School
Anne Moxon, piano, Roosevelt High School
Joshua Moshier, piano, St. Charles North High School
David Robaire, bass, Agoura High School
Marliese Ballon, bass, Foxboro High School
Kendall Becker, bass, Garfield High School
Andy Detra, bass, Sun Prairie High School

Ella Fitzgerald Outstanding Vocalist Awards:
(made possible by Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation):

Tyler Karlen, vocals, The Lovett School

Brian Carpentier, alto saxophone, Foxboro High School Jazz Ensemble
Robert Hanlon, tenor saxophone, Garfield High School
Ron Jacoby, trombone, Sun Prairie High School
Rodrigo Gallardo, trumpet, New World School of the Arts
Costa Deir, trumpet, Honeoye Falls-Lima High School
Jamelle Houston, piano, Temple High School
Dustin Higgins, guitar, Agoura High School
Kevin Brown, guitar, River East Collegiate
Costa Deir, vocals, Honeoye Falls-Lima High School


Foxboro High School
Garfield High School
New World School of the Arts

Foxboro High School

Roosevelt High School
Sun Prairie High School

New World School of the Arts

Rhythm Section
Agoura High School
Foxboro High School
Garfield High School
Sun Prairie High School
Pep Section
The Lovett School


FIRST PLACE: Marc Engel, North Springs High School
SECOND PLACE: Kristoffer Friberg, Delaware Valley High School
THIRD PLACE: Grant Weaver Arapahoe High School

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