Sad news for MLT jazz fans: Essentially Ellington competition and annual Jazz Connection event canceled

MTHS Jazz Band I playing at the Jazz Connection in 2016. (MLTnews file photo)

Two events of note related to high school jazz musicians and jazz music fans in Mountlake Terrace: The annual Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival — which would have included Mountlake Terrace High School’s Jazz I band at Lincoln Center in New York City — has been postponed and the annual Edmonds Jazz Connection event involving local middle and high school students has been canceled.

MTHS was one of 18 schools selected as 2020 finalists to participate in this year’s prestigious Essentially Ellington event, which organizers canceled due to concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak. Organizers said the event would be rescheduled at a later date.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Essentially Ellington, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis will host an online Q&A exclusively for the 2020 finalist bands, with further details to be announced soon.

This would have been the 20th anniversary of the Edmonds Jazz Connection —  a day of performances by outstanding local middle and high school jazz bands. Organizers said they decided to cancel it due to school closures and social distancing concerns related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sponsored by the Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary Club, the event involves student musicians across the Edmonds School District.

Proceeds have gone to student scholarships and to support a music lab program in the local schools. To show its commitment to supporting music education, the club is continuing its fundraising efforts, with all monies received going to music education.

“The Rotary Club of Edmonds Daybreakers is now in its 24th year serving our community,” the club said in an announcement. “As they look to their 25th anniversary, they want to assure everyone that they will resume the Edmonds Jazz Connection next year.”


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