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25th Annual Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival Details Announced

Jazzed Magazine • News • October 31, 2019

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This season marks the 25th anniversary of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program, the organization’s premier education program designed for high school students, and jazz educators. The year-long program culminates every year with the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival wherein the top high school bands in North America compete for top honors at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, New York.

The 25th Annual Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival will take place on May 7-9, 2020, and submissions are open for high school jazz bands across North America.

To celebrate this notable anniversary, Jazz at Lincoln Center introduces new initiatives to expand the Essentially Ellington community and opportunities for students. For the first time, the screeners will select 18 finalist bands ─ an increase from 15 ─ from around the country, for acceptance to the 25th annual event in May. This will allow three additional bands to experience the transformative educational experience that takes place when the most serious of high school students come together to learn, perform and collaborate with one another and today’s leading jazz educators and performers.

Jazz at Lincoln Center also launches the Essentially Ellington Equity and Inclusion Initiative. In the spirit of honoring jazz heritage, Jazz at Lincoln Center seeks to enrich high school-aged jazz band programs by helping to develop and support systemically underserved and/or underrepresented jazz programs that show outstanding promise. Recipients will receive: continued support from Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) Education staff; access to sheet music from previous years in the Essentially Ellington library; workshops in your band room with JALC-sponsored and local clinicians; full tuition scholarship to the 2020 Band Director Academy in New York City; and the opportunity to attend a Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra sound check while on tour (as available).

All submissions must be submitted by Friday, November 15, 2019 by 11:59 p.m. For more information on eligibility and how to apply, contact 212-258-9943 or

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