Columbus Circle just outside of Jazz at Lincoln Center (JLC) on the southwest corner of Central Park was filled with Essentially Ellington participants today at 10 a.m.
The parade, though effective in creating a festive atmosphere for the festival, caused a few scheduling issues for the Terrace ensemble. Performing tomorrow morning, Terrace originally had their rehearsal scheduled at 9:45 a.m. But to accommodate for the parade, rehearsal was moved up half an hour.
Nevertheless, the parade brought 300 young musicians closer to each other and the members of the JLC Orchestra band who joined the tight throng of students.
“My first EE was 20 years ago. It’s always stayed really close to my heart and I just remember all this excitement,” said JLC Orchestra piccoloist and saxophonist Erica Von Kleist at the parade. “It’s so important to keep education like this happening in the schools and to set an example like this morning. Like a worldwide example of like ‘Okay, this is how cool this is. This is how impactful this is for young people.’”
Music filled the surrounding streets as the students played “2nd Line” and “When the Saints Come Marching In” while marching around Columbus Circle and into the front entrance of Jazz at Lincoln Center.
The head of the group included professional musicians Wynton Marsalis on bass drum and Marcus Printup on trumpet. Unsurprisingly, the presence of such well-known and young musicians attracted a large crowd. National television stations had on-site interviewers and cameras pointed at the students, gaining nationwide hype for the competition.
Interviewers picked out march participants including Terrace director Darin Faul and sophomore Matthew Hipolito, who were interviewed by NBC news outside of JLC.
The parade was a refreshing break from the inside of JLC. Many of the students could be caught taking a break from the music to look up at the skyscrapers and enjoying the sunshine.
Later in the day Friday, eight bands performed between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. EST, including Snoqualmie-based Mount Si, which was the third band to play.
A guest band from Cuba opened the festival with a couple tunes before the judges put pen to paper for the competing bands.
On Saturday, four bands will be performing between 10 and 11:30 a.m. EST (7-8:30 a.m. PST), including MTHS, scheduled as the last of the four. The remaining three bands, including Edmonds-Woodway High School, perform 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST (10-11:30 a.m. PST). You can watch those performances here.
–By Harper Thomas, The Hawkeye
This story and photos were provided through a collaboration between MLTnews.com and The MTHS Hawkeye, which has sent two student journalists to cover the Jazz I band competition at Essentially Ellington. The contest features two Edmonds School District bands.