Jazz at Lincoln Center Announces 2022 Essentially Ellington Competition Winners

Jazz at Lincoln Center has announced the winning high-school jazz programs in its Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival, held last week at Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City. Osceola County School for the Arts from Kissimmee, Fla., took first place, with Foxboro High School (Foxboro, Mass.) and Orange County School of the Arts (Santa Ana, Calif.) taking second and third place, respectively, out of the 15 bands that participated in the competition. The cash prizes for the winners were $5,000 (first place), $2,500 (second place), and $1,000 (third place). Dozens more awards were given out to sections and individuals from the participating bands. The complete list of awardees is below. Members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) served as mentors for the bands during the week. Held in person for the first time since 2019, the competition culminated with a concert in which each top-placing band performed with the member of their choice from the JLCO as a soloist.

Foxboro High School jazz band performing at Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival (photo by Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

In addition, Skylar Tang from Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough, Calif., won the 10th Annual J. Douglas White Essentially Ellington Student Composition and Arranging Contest. Her was recorded by the JLCO at its annual Essentially Ellington recording session on Wednesday, May 4. Tang also received a $1,000 cash prize, a composition lesson with the JLCO’s Ted Nash, and a free trip to New York City for the weekend.

The annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program includes non-competitive regional festivals around the country, free transcriptions of original Duke Ellington recordings, additional teaching resources, free adjudication, and more. According to the press release received at JazzTimesthe Essentially Ellington program has reached over 7,000 schools and independent bands in 58 countries.

“The most important part of a competition is the communal element, which allows us to come together and embrace the creativity of others,” said Wynton Marsalis, Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in the same press release. “What I love the most about Essentially Ellington is seeing bands sit and listen to their colleagues, and experience a depth of feeling about the music that’s genuine. My hope for the future is for this feeling to continue growing deeper with meaning. We need these young musicians because we need change, and the humanity, understanding, and depth in musicianship that they bring.”

Complete list of awards:

1st PLACE
Osceola County School for the Arts
Kissimmee, FL
(Director, Jason Anderson)

2nd PLACE
Foxboro High School
Foxboro, MA
(Director, Aaron Bush)

3rd PLACE
Orange County School of the Arts
Santa Ana, CA
(Director, John Reynolds)

HONORABLE MENTION RHYTHM SECTION:
New World School of the Arts
Osceola County School for the Arts
Mount Si High School

OUTSTANDING RHYTHM SECTION:
Beloit Memorial High School
Byron Center High School
Orange County School of the Arts
Roosevelt High School
Newark Academy
Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

HONORABLE MENTION SAXOPHONE SECTION:
Beloit Memorial High School

OUTSTANDING SAXOPHONE SECTION:
Jazz House Kids
Plano West Senior High School
Orange County School of the Arts
Foxboro High School
Roosevelt High School
Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble
Mount Si High School

HONORABLE MENTION REEDS:
Osceola County School for the Arts

OUTSTANDING REEDS:
Byron Center High School

HONORABLE MENTION TROMBONE SECTION:
Byron Center High School

OUTSTANDING TROMBONE SECTION:
New World School of the Arts
Osceola County School for the Arts
Mount Si High School

OUTSTANDING TRUMPET SECTION:
Jazz House Kids
Noblesville High School
Newark Academy
Osceola County School for the Arts
Mount Si High School

OUTSTANDING BRASS SECTION:
Bothell High School
Foxboro High School
Osceola County School for the Arts
Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

OUTSTANDING BRASS WITH PLUNGER:
Mount Si High School

BEST BAND BALANCE:
Mount Si High School

HONORABLE MENTION PIANO:
James Pakhomou – Jazz House Kids
Marshall Graves – Newark Academy

OUTSTANDING PIANO:
Kai Wong – Beloit Memorial High School
Isaac Goodman – Rio Americano High School
Nathan Tatsuta – Orange County School of the Arts
Theodore Shouse – Roosevelt High School
Ben Collins-Siegel – Newark Academy

HONORABLE MENTION GUITAR:
Benjamin Carter – Foxboro High School

OUTSTANDING RHYTHM GUITAR:
Lance Taber – Mount Si High School

HONORABLE MENTION BANJO:
Maco Dacanay – Roosevelt High School

OUTSTANDING VIOLIN:
Jacquie Lee – Jazz House Kids

HONORABLE MENTION BASS:
Ruth-Mary Shackelford – Rio Americano High School
Joseph Thornbury – Noblesville High School
Cade Mediaris – Plano West Senior High School
Sierra Hudson – New World School of the Arts

OUTSTANDING BASS:
Sam Konin – Jazz House Kids
Ryder Mendelson – Orange County School of the Arts
Grace Kaste – Roosevelt High School
Ben Collins-Siegel – Newark Academy

HONORABLE MENTION DRUMS:
Ethan Horn – Mount Si High School

OUTSTANDING DRUMS:
Jonathan Garrett – Beloit Memorial High School
Colton Wolfe – Byron Center High School
Christian St. Marseille – Orange County School of the Arts
Yoshi Stroh – Roosevelt High School
Alexander Polyakovsky – Roosevelt High School
Ben Schwartz – Newark Academy
Ethan Oliver – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

OUTSTANDING FLUTE:
Shyam Thandullu – Plano West Senior High School

HONORABLE MENTION CLARINET:
Lucas Netto – New World School of the Arts
Kiara Rouse – Osceola County School for the Arts

OUTSTANDING CLARINET:
Naoki Nikora – Beloit Memorial High School
Mark Ricco – Jazz House Kids
Paloma Cobbs-Silva – Rio Americano High School

OUTSTANDING SOPRANO SAXOPHONE:
Luke Toner – Orange County School of the Arts

OUTSTANDING ALTO SAXOPHONE:
Ginger Meyer – Jazz House Kids
Paloma Cobbs-Silva – Rio Americano High School
Nicolo Boselli – Plano West Senior High School
Noah Chirnomas – Newark Academy
Solomon Geleta – Osceola County School for the Arts
Nathaniel Wray – Mount Si High School

HONORABLE MENTION TENOR SAXOPHONE:
Trent Horio – Orange County School of the Arts
Kiara Rouse – Osceola County School for the Arts

OUTSTANDING TENOR SAXOPHONE:
Adarius Konche – Bothell High School
Oliver Kringel – Rio Americano High School
Owen Gwinn – Roosevelt High School
Ethan Lee – Newark Academy
Zeb Jewell-Alibhai – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

HONORABLE MENTION BARITONE SAXOPHONE:
Jackson McMorris – Rio Americano High School

OUTSTANDING BARITONE SAXOPHONE:
Samuel Chung – Orange County School of the Arts

OUTSTANDING DOUBLER:
Emma Lacy – Foxboro High School

HONORABLE MENTION TROMBONE:
Eamonn Rougvie – Beloit Memorial High School
Colin Thowtho – Rio Americano High School
Alex Heidelbaugh – Plano West Senior High School
Ethan Czaja – Byron Center High School
Leo Sui – Orange County School of the Arts
Sean Kelly – Foxboro High School
Luke Ramee – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble
Urielle Lockwood – Mount Si High School

OUTSTANDING TROMBONE:
Colin Woniewski – Byron Center High School
Bruno Tzinas – New World School of the Arts
Andre Perlman – New World School of the Arts

HONORABLE MENTION TRUMPET:
Violet Mujica – Jazz House Kids

OUTSTANDING TRUMPET:
Ellie Prindle – Bothell High School
Alvaro Caravaca – Jazz House Kids
Levi Rozek – Noblesville High School
Nolan Kirkwood – Byron Center High School
Cameron Shave – Foxboro High School
Javier Gonzalez – Roosevelt High School
Sid Chalasani – Newark Academy
Nathaniel Williford – Osceola County School for the Arts
Zeb Jewell-Alibhai – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

THE SNOOKY YOUNG AWARD:
Nathaniel Williford – Osceola County School for the Arts

THE BENNY CARTER AND IRA SULLIVAN MULTI INSTRUMENT AWARD:
Zeb Jewell-Alibhai – Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

THE ELLA FITZGERALD OUTSTANDING SOLOIST AWARD:
Emma Lacy – Foxboro High School

Each finalist band was chosen by a panel of judges comprising distinguished jazz musicians and historians, including Wynton Marsalis; Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra trombonist Christopher Crenshaw; Joe Lovano; Carmen Bradford; and Jeff Hamilton.

The 15 Finalists for Essentially Ellington 2022 (in alphabetical order):
Beloit Memorial High School (Beloit, WI)
Bothell High School (Bothell, WA)
Byron Center High School (Byron Center, MI)
Foxboro High School (Foxboro, MA)
Jazz House Kids (Montclair, NJ)
Mount Si High School (Snoqualmie, WA)
New World School of the Arts (Miami, FL)
Newark Academy (Livingston, NJ)
Noblesville High School (Noblesville, IN)
Orange County School of the Arts (Santa Ana, CA)
Osceola County School for the Arts (Kissimmee, FL)
Plano West Senior High School (Plano, TX)
Rio Americano High School (Sacramento, CA)
Roosevelt High School (Seattle, WA)
Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble (Raleigh, NC)

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