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Jazz competition for high school students goes virtual

Last Updated May 21, 2020 at 9:14 am EDT

NEW YORK — The coronavirus pandemic has altered the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, but it will still go on, giving students the chance to show their talents virtually.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the program.

High school bands from around the country traditionally head to Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City for a multi-day competition.

Given the COVID-19 crisis that has led to shutdowns across the nation, there will be no travel; instead, the event will take place from June 8-12 on Jazz at Lincoln Center’s website, social media accounts and also through Zoom.

“This year we are even more committed to recognizing our high school student musicians. We applaud the dedication, spirit and commitment of the students, band directors, parents and schools,” said Wynton Marsalis, who is JALC’s managing and artistic director. “We may be isolated from one another in this time, but together, we are connecting and expanding our extended family through the deeply human and liberating feeling of jazz.”

For the first time, the event will also include several international bands. The celebration will end with the crowning of the first-place band, outstanding soloists and outstanding sections.

Essentially Ellington, named after jazz great Duke Ellington, is a free educational program that provides instruction and resources to jazz students nationwide. The competition was originally scheduled to be held this month.

The Associated Press

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