Sunday, May 15, 2011

Essentially Ellington weekend

Is it something in the nearby salt water? Much more likely is the strength of the local music programs at the secondary level – and in the schools that feed up to it.

Bands from Washington State and Florida took the top four awards at last night’s finale of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 16th annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival.

· First Place went to the Dillard Center for the Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

· Second Place: Roosevelt High School, Seattle

· Third Place: Mountlake Terrace High School, Seattle

· Honorable Mention: New World School of the Arts, Miami.

The top placing bands performed with Wynton Marsalis as a soloist followed by a performance by the 15-piece Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at Frederick P. Rose Hall in Manhattan.

Congratulations to the winning bands and all of the winning soloists and sections of players who won supplemental awards.

Brendan Thomas was one of six winners in that regard from Foxboro High School in Massachusetts. He stood out in my eyes by winning Outstanding Tripler - on Tenor, Alto and Clarinet, as well as the 10th 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. His essay was printed in the festival playbill and a seat in Rose Theater will be engraved in his honor.

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