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Monday, March 30th, 2015

Jazz at Lincoln Center Launches Essentially Ellington Alumni Association with a Sweepstakes

For Immediate Release

Jazz at Lincoln Center Launches
Essentially Ellington Alumni Association
with a Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes and new alumni association among activities
commemorating 20th anniversary of prestigious national program

NEW YORK, NY – March 30, 2015 – Jazz at Lincoln Center today announced the launch of the Essentially Ellington Alumni Association, commemorating the milestone 20th anniversary of the organization’s annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. Past Essentially Ellington participants are invited to join the new Essentially Ellington Alumni Association and enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win two round trip airline tickets to this year's Essentially Ellington festival on May 7-9, 2015 at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The Essentially Ellington Alumni Association will serve as a professional network and allow past participants to reconnect in a community that celebrates jazz. Participants who have participated in the program throughout its 20 year history are invited to join the Essentially Ellington Alumni Association by visiting http://academy.jazz.org/ee/eestory/

The Essentially Ellington Alumni Association sweepstakes will be accepting entries through April 8, 2015. By sharing their Essentially Ellington stories via http://academy.jazz.org/ee/eestory/ participants will be eligible to win two round trip airline tickets and concert tickets to the semi-finals and finals of this year's Essentially Ellington festival on May 7-9, 2015. The first 100 sweepstakes participants will also receive an Essentially Ellington T-shirt. Contact Rose Rutledge at rrutledge@jazz.org for more information.

About the 2015 Essentially Ellington Festival
Fifteen finalist high school jazzbands from across the United States will compete in the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival – one of the most innovative jazz education events in the world – at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s home, Frederick P. Rose Hall, on May 7 – 9, 2015. This year marks the 20th anniversary of this national competition that has been considered “the ‘Cadillac’ of student band competitions” (Seattle Times).

The 2015 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Finalists: 

     Agoura High School (Agoura Hills, CA)
American Music Program (Portland, OR)
Beloit Memorial High School (Beloit, WI)
   Community Arts Program (Coral Gables, FL)
Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Foxboro High School (Foxboro, MA)
Garfield High School (Seattle, WA)
Lexington High School (Lexington, MA)
Lyons Township High School (LaGrange, IL)
Mount Si High School (Snoqualmie, WA)
New World School of the Arts (Miami, FL)
Newark Academy (Livingston, NJ)
Roosevelt High School (Seattle, WA)
Sun Prairie High School (Sun Prairie, WI)
Tucson Jazz Institute (Tucson, AZ)

High school jazz bands across the U.S. and Canada submitted recordings of charts from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s vast Essentially Ellington library. On May 7, the finalist bands will arrive in New York City to spend three days immersed in workshops, jam sessions, rehearsals and performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center. On May 9, the Competition & Festival will conclude with a concert and awards ceremony featuring the three top-placing bands and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. 

Held each May, the Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival is the culmination of the yearlong Essentially Ellington program, which distributes free music and supplemental resources to high school and college jazz ensembles throughout the U.S., Canada, and American schools abroad. The 2014-15 season includes more than 3,200 member programs.

Participating bands are invited to submit a recording, and 15 finalists are selected through a rigorous screening process. Each finalist band receives an in-school workshop led by a professional musician before coming to New York to put up their “Dukes” and perform before Wynton Marsalis and a panel of esteemed judges. Past workshop clinicians have included trumpeter Terell Stafford; jazz educator Ronald Carter; Justin DiCioccio, director of Jazz Studies at Manhattan School of Music; saxophonist Loren Schoenberg; pianist and educator Reginald Thomas; Rodney Whitaker, Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University; and members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Past judges include former Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra conductor and arranger David Berger; Gunther Schuller, “composer, conductor, horn player, jazz performer, writer, administrator, publisher, and teacher, all wrapped up into one tiny bundle of seemingly endless energy” (All Music Guide); Pulitzer Prize-nominated jazz musician and composer David Baker; renowned drummer and big band leader, Jeff Hamilton; and Wynton Marsalis.

Founding leadership support for  Essentially Ellington  is provided by  The Jack and Susan Rudin Educational and Scholarship Fund.     

Major support is provided by Jessica and Natan Bibliowicz, Alfred and Gail Engelberg, Casey Lipscomb, Augustine Foundation, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation, and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

For more information:
Christina Riley, Associate, Public Relations
212.258.9868
criley@jazz.org