Courtesy of the Ballard High School Music Department
The Ballard High School Jazz Band was selected as one out of 15 bands nation-wide to participate in the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival in New York City this May.

BHS musicians awarded outstanding soloist awards at l Essentially Ellington jazz festival

Ballard High School was one of 15 finalists at the 17th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.

It was the first time in BHS' history that the school's jazz band participated in the Festival, and some musicians even received some outstanding soloist awards.

Sam Zisette was awarded Outstanding Trumpist, and Jade Likkel took home the award for Outstanding Vocalist.

Fellow Seattle school Roosevelt High School took second place and was awarded $2,500.

The Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival is one of the most innovative jazz education events in the world. Each year top high school bands are chosen to travel to New York City and spend three days immersed in workshops, jam sessions, rehearsals and performances at the "House of Swing" of the Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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Ballard High School jazz musicians chosen to participate in the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival in New York
By Anne-Marije Rook
2012-03-05

For the first time in Ballard High School's history the school's jazz band will be headed to New York City this May to participate in the prestigious Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival.

Now in its 17th year, the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival (alc.org) is one of the most innovative jazz education events in the world. Each year 15 high school bands are chosen to travel to New York City and spend three days immersed in workshops, jam sessions, rehearsals and performances at the "House of Swing" of the Jazz at Lincoln Center.


The festival concludes with a final evening Concert and Awards Ceremony open to the public at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall featuring the three top-placing bands and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

"It's the first time Ballard has ever gone to the Ellington Festival. It's big news and a big honor," said band director Michael James.

In the application process, all bands were required to submit three recordings, one song of which had to be a Duke Ellington tune.

"In our case we chose all Ellington songs.Two swing tunes and one slow tune," said James, adding that the festival is big on solos and he wants to feature a senior trumpet player, a piano solo, as well as a vocal solo.

James is in his eighth year at Ballard High School and has seen a lot of success with his bands throughout those years.

"I think we're successful because [choir Courtney Rowley and I have a strong vision for the department and set challenges for our students. The students always rise to the occasion, and meet and surpass our expectations," James said.

Getting 18 students as well as chaperones to New York City is costly so the Ballard High School Jazz bands are hosting various fundraising events.

Coming up on March 30th is the Starbucks Hot Java Cool Jazz concert at the Paramount Theater.

Sponsored by Starbucks, the event features five local high school bands for a night of good old jazz. One hundred percent from every ticket sold will go toward the participating schools.

"The concert is a good way for people to come hear us perform and support us," James said. "We plan on using that money to get us to New York."

Starting March 5th, the Starbucks on N.W. Market Street will sell tickets to the concert to support the BHS band. Tickets will be $20.

Also coming up is the second annual Ballard Jazz Gala at the Ballard Elks Lodge.

"This is an opportunity for the community to hear all our Jazz bands," James said. "We'd love some community support because there are a lot of exciting things going on with the music department."

The Ballard Jazz Gala will be on April 28, starting at 7 p.m. at the Ballard Elks Lodge, 6411 Seaview Avenue N.W.
Tickets are $25 and available online at showtix4u.com.

The Music Department will also gladly accept donations for the Ellington Festival trip. Checks can be sent to:

Ballard High School Music Department
c/o Michael James
1418 NW 65th St
Seattle, WA  98117.
With "New York trip" or "Jazz Band Trip" in the memo line of the check.

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