Mountlake Terrace HS Jazz Band selected for Essentially Ellington competition

Members of the MTHS Jazz I band perform on the Edmonds Center for the Arts stage in 2019. (File photo by Teresa Wippel)

Mountlake Terrace High School is one of 18 finalist schools that will compete in its 25th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival May 7-9 in New York City.

This is the ninth time since 2000 that Mountlake Terrace High School has had its top jazz band picked for the competition at Lincoln Center. The band last competed there two years ago, in 2018.

For 25 years, the Essentially Ellington program has been the cornerstone of Jazz at Lincoln’s Center’s arts education programming. The program has helped to foster the talent and love of jazz music of over 890,000 young musicians throughout its history.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Essentially Ellington, Jazz at Lincoln Center says it has invited an unprecedented number of the country’s top high school jazz bands to compete for top honors in New York City. he bands were selected from a competitive pool of 106 bands that submitted recordings of three tunes from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Library.

Other bands selected from the Puget Sound area include three bands from Seattle — Garfield and Roosevelt High Schools and the Seattle JazzED Ellington Ensemble — and Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie.

Students who attend will participate in workshops, jam sessions and sectionals before competing for top honors at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, nicknamed the “House of Swing.” Following the competition events, a concert and awards ceremony will take place featuring this year’s top three bands alongside the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

The full list of 2020 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Finalists includes:

  • Agoura High School (Agoura Hills, CA)
  • Beloit Memorial High School (Beloit, WI)
  • Byron Center High School (Byron Center, MI)
  • Carroll Senior High School (Southlake, TX)
  • Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music (Bronx, NY)
  • Denver School of the Arts (Denver, CO)
  • Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
  • Garfield High School (Seattle, WA)
  • Memphis Central High School (Memphis, TN)
  • Mountlake Terrace High School (Mountlake Terrace, WA)
  • Mount Si High School (Snoqualmie, WA)
  • New World School of the Arts (Miami, FL)
  • Plano West Senior High School (Plano, TX)
  • Rio Americano High School (Rio Americano, CA)
  • Roosevelt High School (Seattle, WA)
  • Tarpon Springs High School (Tarpon Springs, FL)
  • Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble (Raleigh, NC)
  • Seattle JazzED Ellington Ensemble (Seattle, WA)

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