This annual festival is focused on the music of Duke Ellington but also includes some music this year from the Count Basie Orchestra. The band submitted a recording at the end of January and learned this week that they have been selected. Roosevelt High School was selected to participate in the festival as well. Other bands will be coming from Florida, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, California, Manitoba, Iowa, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and California.
The festival, often called the “world series” of high school jazz festivals, is held in May and the band members will travel to Jazz At Lincoln Center in New York City for the competition. Between now and then, they will continue to work on the music as well other music that they will be performing at other events such as Hot Java Cool Jazz at the Paramount Theater on April 15th. Jazz at Lincoln Center will send a renowned jazz educator to hold a workshop with the members of the band before the festival.
The three top-placing bands perform with Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis, as guest soloist, followed by a performance by the 15-piece Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra ? whose members serve as mentors for the finalist bands throughout the weekend. The Festival’s finale is an awards ceremony honoring outstanding soloists, sections and the top three bands. The Competition & Festival is the culmination of the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program (EE), which also includes regional festivals, teaching resources, a summer Band Director Academy, monthly newsletters, and more.
Mountlake Terrace has made the finals five times and it came in third in 2005.