By Lesley Dubbury Special to The Enterprise
Edmonds-Woodway High School students competed in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival May 8-10 at New York City’s Lincoln Center.
The school’s Jazz Ensemble was one of 15 finalists out of 96 entrants selected to compete in this annual event, directed by jazz musician Wynton Marsalis.
The three-day festival and competition included workshops, rehearsals, clinics and master classes, a banquet dinner, a question and answer session with Marsalis, and jam sessions with members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO), in addition to competitions. Each band performed before a panel of judges, including Marsalis.
Although Edmonds-Woodway didn’t place in the top three, senior Dylan Allrud-Faltisco earned Honorable Mention on trumpet; junior Alex Dyring received Honorable Mention on bass; freshman Miles Laven was named an Outstanding Performer on drums; and junior Preston Sahabu was named an Outstanding Pianist.
Edmonds-Woodway earned $500 to support the school’s jazz program and received new music charts.
“The opportunity … was both a privilege and an inspiration,” said junior Eric Dubbury, a trumpet player. “The audience was consistently supportive of the performers, creating a positive, passionate musical experience.”
Senior Melanie Llona, also a trumpet player, said “the coolest part was bringing so many different people together with one thing in common — the music. We all listened to each other and supported each other in a common and amazing, kind and happy way.”
Junior Jack Chelgren, baritone saxophonist, took second place in the Writing Contest, where students write a short essay or story based on a theme. Chelgren’s essay, “New Musical Express,” chosen from more than 60 submissions, is based on a music chart by Mary Lou Williams.
“The overall experience was greater than just a competition,” Chelgren said. “Although it was the most competitive music event I have ever attended, it was also the most positive one.”
Director Jake Bergevin said he was proud of his students in his third trip to the festival.
“Each student showed a great deal of team energy and dedication. The band really enjoyed themselves and the audience responded well to our selections,” he said.
Lesley Dubbury is a band parent and EWHS Music Booster supporter.