Jazz At Lincoln Center Announces Winners Of Its Seventh Annual Essentially


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The Best High School Jazz Bands In The Country!

1st Place - ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL, Seattle, Washington
2nd Place - GARFIELD HIGH SCHOOL, Seattle, Washington
3rd Place - NEW WORLD SCHOOL OF THE ARTS, Miami, Florida

New York, NY, May 13, 2002: Tonight, three high school jazz bands two from Seattle, Washington and one from Miami, Florida took top honors in the Jazz at Lincoln Center (J@LC) Seventh Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. The three winners were chosen by a panel of judges composed of distinguished jazz musicians composer, conductor and Ellington authority DAVID BERGER, pianist and composer STANLEY COWELL, pianist and bandleader ARTURO OFARRILL, and trumpeter and J@LC Artistic Director WYNTON MARSALIS from among the 15 finalist bands from around the country that came to the competition and festival on May 11, 12, & 13, 2002.

Essentially Ellington culminated in tonights 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 J@LC will distribute to high schools for Essentially Ellington 2003. The LCJO was also joined by Mr. Cowell for a rousing rendition of C Jam Blues.

At the awards ceremony, Mr. Marsalis presented prizes to each of the 15 finalist bands. SCOTT BROWN, director of the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band accepted the 1st place trophy and award of $2,000 (they placed second last year). CLARENCE ACOX, director of the Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble, accepted the 2nd place trophy and award of $1,500. JIM GASIOR, director of New World School of the Arts High School Jazz Ensemble, accepted the 3rd place trophy and award of $1,000. Mountlake Terrace Jazz Ensemble I received honorable mention and an award of $750, while 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 third year in a row, J@LC also presented the Ella Fitzgerald Vocalist Award, made possible by a grant from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.

In addition, J@LC recognized the top three winners in the first Essentially Ellington Essay Contest: 1st place winner KWAMI COLEMAN of LaGuardia High School, 2nd place winner DEREK BREEN and 3rd place winner MARK OLSON, both of Eau Claire Memorial High School. Sponsored by MTV Networks, the contest invited students from all participating high schools to submit an essay describing a personal experience with jazz. J@LC received 84 essays, from which author, scholar, and J@LC board member Albert Murray chose the winners. As the 1st place winner, Coleman was invited to name a seat in Frederick P. Rose Hall the new home of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

At the awards ceremony, Mr. Marsalis said, This is one year I will always remember. It was a festival where every band truly understood the music of Duke Ellington and the spirit of jazz, regardless of region. Bands grasped the concept of swinging and playing in balance. Plus, our soloists are getting much better, year after year. As a result, this has been by far the most difficult year to judge.

Essentially Ellington is the largest of the over 400 events that J@LC will produce this year. This unique music education program has provided original arrangements of Duke Ellingtons music to over 150,000 high school musicians nationwide in its first seven years.

The 15 finalists for Essentially Ellington 2002 are:
  • Rio Americano High School, Sacramento, CA
  • SF Jazz All-Star High School Ensemble, San Francisco, CA
  • Connecticut Youth Jazz Workshop, Middletown, CT
  • Hall High School, West Hartford, CT
  • New World School Of The Arts, Miami, FL
  • Thornton Township High School, Harvey, IL
  • Foxboro High School, Foxboro, MA
  • King Philip Regional High School, Wrentham, MA
  • 315 All-Stars, Greater Syracuse, NY
  • LaGuardia High School For The Performing Arts, New York, NY
  • Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra, Columbus, OH
  • Mountlake Terrace High School, Mountlake Terrace, WA
  • Garfield High School, Seattle, WA
  • Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA
  • Eau Claire Memorial High School, Eau Claire, WI

The three-day festival began on Saturday, May 11, when the finalist bands observed the LCJO in rehearsal and attended a welcome banquet and combo showcase at BB King Blues Club & Grill. During the festival on Sunday, May 12 & Monday, May 13, the finalist bands each paired with a professional musician as a mentor participated in a film program and rehearsals, and each performed three Ellington works in the competition in Avery Fisher Hall for the judges, fellow students, family members, and the general public.
The most comprehensive program of its kind in the world, Essentially Ellington disseminates Duke Ellington compositions to high school jazz bands, encourages the study and performance of Ellingtons music, and fosters mentoring relationships between students and professional musicians. The program has seen major growth in its seven 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 in 1998. In 1999, the program opened up to all 50 states and U.S. territories. In 2000, J@LC inaugurated an annual companion program, the Essentially Ellington Band Director Academy (co-produced with Jazz Aspen Snowmass), in Snowmass, Colorado. In 2001, the program expanded to include high school jazz bands from throughout Canada. As with last year, those band directors whose bands place #16-20 receive free scholarships to this years Band Director Academy on June 27-July 1. This year, J@LC inaugurated the Essentially Ellington Essay Contest (see below for compete list of winners). In addition, Essentially Ellington Down Under, the first overseas pilot program, will be held in August 2002 (see below).
For each years competition, J@LC selects and transcribes original arrangements of several Duke Ellington compositions, all previously unavailable, which are then published by Warner Bros. Publications, Inc. The six selections for 2002, which reflect the variety of styles and forms in Ellingtons body of work, are: IT DONT MEAN A THING (IF IT AINT GOT THAT SWING), RAINCHECK, SUCH SWEET THUNDER, SULTRY SUNSET, THINGS AINT WHAT THEY USED TO BE, and ZWEET ZURZDAY. These arrangements are distributed, for a nominal registration fee, to all high school jazz bands that express interest in the program by returning an application card. In addition, the 15 finalists receive two additional Ellington compositions, ALL HEART and THE EIGHTH VEIL.

Of the 1,240 bands that received this years six compositions and educational materials, 149 submitted recordings of three of those compositions to enter the competition. J@LC selected 15 finalists based on the criteria of soulfulness, improvisation, interpretation, technique, and tone/intonation. 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 of merit.

Throughout April 2002, J@LC sent, free of charge, a professional musician/clinician to each of the 15 finalist schools to lead an intensive daylong workshop of rehearsals, lessons, and master classes. The clinicians include trumpeters TERELL STAFFORD and SENECA BLACK, trombonist WYCLIFFE GORDON, drummer JUSTIN DiCIOCCIO, and reed players RON CARTER and VICTOR GOINES. J@LC also awarded $40,000 in travel stipends to assist bands traveling to New York City, many of whom also organized local fund-raising efforts.

Major support for Essentially Ellington is provided by The Jack and Susan Rudin Educational and Scholarship Fund, Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation, PepsiCo Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and Verve Music Group. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Citigroup Foundation, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation, MTV Networks, 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 Nyala Wright, Education Assistant, at (212) 258-9812 or ee@jazzatlincolncenter.org.

Fall 2001 All bands receive six Ellington scores and other educational materials.
February 5, 2002 Application and tape due
March 1, 2002 Finalists announced
April 2002 Free workshops held in finalist schools by J@LC musicians
May 11-13, 2002 Festival in New York City
June 27-July 1, 2002 Essentially Ellington Band Director Academy in Snowmass, Colorado
August 16-18, 2002 Essentially Ellington Down Under in Perth, Australia

In the first expansion of Essentially Ellington beyond North America, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) has collaborated with J@LC to create the pilot program of Essentially Ellington Down Under in August 2002. The program will disseminate six Duke Ellington charts and other educational materials to high school jazz bands in Western Australia, after which the bands will submit taped entries for adjudication in July 2002. Sixteen finalists will be selected to receive an in-school workshop and participate in three days of competition, workshops, and performances on August 16-18, 2002 at the WAAPA campus at Edith Cohen University in Perth. Two Essentially Ellington clinicians will travel to Perth for two weeks to lead workshops, adjudicate bands, and perform with the top-placing bands in the finale concert.


Roosevelt High School Jazz Band
Seattle, Washington
Scott Brown, Director

Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble
Seattle, Washington
Clarence Acox, Director

New World School of the Arts High School Jazz Ensemble
Miami, Florida
Jim Gasior, Director

Mountlake Terrace Jazz Ensemble I
Mountlake Terrace, Washington
Darin Faul, Director


Alex Mabe, alto saxophone, Roosevelt High School
Ben Roseth, alto saxophone, Garfield High School

Benjamin White, clarinet, Garfield High School

Tim Sullivan, tenor and baritone saxophone, Eau Claire Memorial High School

Eric Arellano, tenor saxophone and clarinet, Rio Americano High School

Peter Fanelli, trombone, 315 All Stars
Nicholas DePinna, trombone, SF Jazz All-Star High School Ensemble
Willie Applewhite, trombone, Thornton Township High School

Maxilmilien Darch, trumpet, Connecticut Youth Jazz Ensemble

Brian Kinsella, piano, Roosevelt High School
Aaron Diehl, piano, Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra
David Melton, piano, Hall High School
Fabian Almazan, piano, New World School of the Arts

Jaideep Dargan, bass, Hall High School
Andrea Verrochi, bass, Foxboro High School
Ivan Taylor, bass, Thornton Township High School

Marcus Gilmore, drums, LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and the Performing Arts
Dvonne Lewis, drums, Roosevelt High School

Andrew Smiley, guitar, Hall High School
Aaron Tasjihan, guitar, Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra

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

Amanda Brown, vocals, LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and the Performing Arts
Ann Pedersen, vocals, Rio Americano High School


Reeds, Garfield Jazz Ensemble
Reeds, Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra
Reeds, Foxboro High School Jazz Ensemble
Reeds, 315 All Stars
Reeds, Mountlake Terrace Jazz Ensemble

Trombones, King Philip Regional Jazz Ensemble

Trumpets, Roosevelt Jazz Band

Brass, Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra
Brass, Connecticut Youth Jazz Workshop

Rhythm Section, Roosevelt Jazz Band
Rhythm Section, LaGuardia Concert Jazz Ensemble
Rhythm Section, New World School of Arts High School Jazz Ensemble


Vito Giacalone, alto saxophonist, King Philip Regional High School
Noah Preminger, tenor saxophone, Hall High School
Tim Shade, trombone, Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra
Bram Kincheloe, drums, SF Jazz All-Star High School Ensemble
Caroline Potter, vocals, 315 All Stars

(sponsored by MTV Networks)

First place: Kwami Coleman, LaGuardia High School
Second place: Derek Breen, Eau Claire Memorial High School
Third place: Mark Olson, Eau Claire Memorial High School

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