The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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The Hawkeye May 2024
1st Amend Award School

Outstanding soloist awards revealed at 22nd annual Essentially Ellington final concert

At the end of the final ceremony, Jazz 1 poses together for a group shot outside of the auditorium.

The 22nd annual Essentially Ellington festival comes to a close, with MTHS finishing strong and proud.

The top three placing bands were announced at 4 p.m. EST. These include Dillard Center for the Arts (Fla.), Tucson Jazz Institute (Ariz.) and Denver School of Arts (Colo.).

All five judges came onto the stage and articulated a specific technique for everyone to focus on, including breathing, tone and phrasing when improvising, then finishing with a broader statement of their view of jazz.

Trumpet player and judge Sean Jones articulated for the students to “allow the music to connect you and your peers.” He continued with his own personal story of getting to where he is now in the jazz industry.

“There are two things that got me here: I believed it and I worked for it,” Jones said.

Head judge and trumpet player, Wynton Marsalis, followed Jones’s statement up by pushing the student musicians to stay optimistic and keep working hard even if they make mistakes in some of their performances.

“You can tell them, ‘I missed this one, but check these out!’” Marsalis said.

This concluded the announcement of the winners and a dinner break was taken before the final awards showcase and concert were set to begin. All the bands gathered in Rose Hall (JLC) at 7:30 p.m. EST to watch the top three placing bands play once more in a showcase, and the band rankings and individual awards concluded the festival.

The top three placing bands played two tunes each, all including special guests from past and present members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO). These guests included trombonist Chris Crenshaw, alto saxophonist Sherman Irby and trumpeter Greg Gisbert.

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There are two things that got me here: I believed it and I worked for it.

— Sean Jones

Marsalis and JLCO performed their set after students finished their showcase. Marsalis invited the rest of the judges out to play their last song, titled “Total Jazz” dedicated to Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial.

In addition to the judges, Marsalis also introduced his father, pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr.

“It’s fun for us to hear everyone play, but it’s also fun for us to play,” Marsalis said.

Another short intermission was taken before the solo and ensemble awards were announced for the night.

MTHS proudly received awards based on their work as a team, as well as individuals. Marsalis stood on stage, announcing the different individuals being recognized for their work.

The brass section received an honorable mention. Gian Neri received the award for outstanding guitar and Dylon Rajah received the award for outstanding tenor saxophone.

Senior Andrew Sumabat received a special award titled “The Tripler.” Winners of this award are soloists who perform on three different instruments in an outstanding manner. Sumabat is proficient in playing trumpet, trombone and tenor sax.

“Now let me tell you about this winner,” Marsalis said. “This kid has done something we’ve never seen before. He has played instruments from different families, yet played them each with their own sound.”

He joked about offering Sumabat a gig. He also joked about Sumabat’s many talents, saying, “after you pulled out that tenor, I thought to myself, ‘well you’ve gotta play trumpet next.'”

To close out the competition, the directors of all 15 bands were brought up on stage and recognized for their participation in the festival.

“A lot of sacrifice is required to get you guys here.” Marsalis stated. “[Directors] take out kids by the hand and arm them for the future… they help them to understand that it’s okay to be themselves. They help them to understand to be creative, and to understand that others are creative and how to work with each other and accept that.”

The ranking of the top three bands were announced with Dillard Center of the Arts in third place, Denver School of Arts in second place and Tucson Jazz Academy finishing in first place.


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    Lisa SumabatMay 15, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Thank you for the article. Jazz 1 did an amazing job! The comment Mr.Marsalis made regarding Andrew Sumabat “maybe later, a gig” seemed like a genuine statement according to the audience reaction, live stream of the awards and the professional demeanor of Mr.Marsalis. He is an honest and direct type of person. Thank you.