Jazz 1 on the road to prestigious festival

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© HAWKEYE Lindee Cutler

By Theresa Van, Lifestyle Editor

Terrace’s Jazz Ensemble 1 has once again been selected to participate in the 25th annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival hosted by Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. The group was informed on Feb. 12.

Essentially Ellington is an event held each year during which high school jazz bands from across the country travel to the Big Apple to compete and attend three days of workshops, jam sessions, rehearsals and performances from renowned jazz musicians. This year’s festival will be from May 7 to 9 at Rose Hall in Lincoln Center in Manhattan.

I really benefited from listening to the advice from the musicians and seeing all the great high school bands. Each of us in Jazz 1 have worked really hard over the past couple of months, through hours and hours of practicing to get really good.”

— Alec Raring

During the event, students will have the opportunity to attend master classes with renowned musicians such as recording artist Elliot Mason, trombonist Chris Crenshaw, saxophonist Sherman Irby and trumpeter Marcus Printup. These master classes will include demonstrations, presentations, advice and time for the artists to help students improve their musical skills with the general goal of mentoring the musicians of the future.

Senior trombonist and Jazz 1 member Alec Raring previously attended the festival during his sophomore year.

“I learned so much. I really benefited from listening to the advice from the musicians and seeing all the great high school bands,” he said about the experience. “Each of us in Jazz 1 have worked really hard over the past couple of months, through hours and hours of practicing to get really good.”

Previously, just 15 schools were accepted from across the country and certain regions were only allowed to send a specific number of schools.

This year, event organizers got rid of the restrictions and are allowing 18 schools from anywhere in the nation to attend. This gives more opportunities for a greater number of schools to audition and compete.

Terrace’s Jazz 1 is one out of the 18 that will be attending the festival, and remarkably, there are four other schools from the Seattle area, including Roosevelt, Garfield and Mount Si high schools and the Seattle JazzED Ellington Ensemble.

With months of preparation ahead, Jazz 1 will present three pieces at the festival, along with sectionals (pieces performed by each instrumental section of the band) and solos from certain players. Instrumental sections that will be performed include the trombones (led by Raring), saxophones (led by senior Caden Hargrave), trumpets (led by senior Ernesto Torres) and the rhythm section (led by senior Josh Setala).

For some students, a serious problem arises with the scheduled festival dates. In order to leave for Essentially Ellington and arrive before the festival begins, the group will have to depart on Monday, May 5, which is also the beginning of the two-week national Advanced Placement testing period.

Most AP students in Jazz 1 will be missing at least one AP test to attend the festival. This means they will have to make up their tests when they return on Tuesday, May 12.  The AP testing makeup dates set by the College Board will be from May 20 to 22.