The Carroll Dragons are becoming popular finalists at the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition in New York City. The contest, hosted May 8-10 at the Lincoln Center, was the third time Carroll Jazz was invited to participate. This year, the Dragons were the only high school in the state to be invited to play and the only school to be named a finalist three times. The Dragons were invited to Ellington in 2007, 2010 and again in 2014.
This year more than 2,700 U.S. high schools became members of the Essentially Ellington program, 94 schools submitted audition recordings, and the Carroll Jazz Orchestra was one of only 15 selected by blind audition to compete in the finals.
Director David Lown said the students turned in their best performance of the year, bringing down the house down with a standing ovation. Carroll Jazz received awards for Outstanding Brass and Outstanding Vocals (Chris Weisberg). The event was streamed live on Saturday, May 10 and will remain posted here for the next few weeks: http://new.livestream.com/jazz/ee2014/videos/50548710.
The band also received additional media coverage from local PBS station, KERA News. Click here to listen to the report. Earlier this spring while attending a clinic at Carroll High School for area jazz students, University of North Texas Jazz Studies Professor, Steve Wiest spoke about the talent of the Carroll Jazz band. Click here to watch the video.
Carroll ISD is proud to announce the Carroll ISD Jazz Orchestra was named a 2014 Essentially Ellington finalist. Essentially Ellington is the largest and most prominent national High School jazz contest and is often referred to as the “Super Bowl” of jazz competitions. Carroll was selected in a blind audition process to join 14 other bands from across the country at the finals in New York City, May 8-11.
This is not the first time Carroll Jazz has been named an Essentially Ellington finalist. The program has been selected before, a testament to the talent and dedication of Carroll students and staff.
“I am so excited,” said Carroll ISD Superintendent, Dr. David Faltys. “This is an incredible honor. I am so proud of our students and instructors for once again, qualifying for this incredible competition. This competition is an awesome opportunity for our kids to compete on a national scale against some of the finest musicians in the country.”
“Returning to the Essentially Ellington finals has been a goal of the students in the Carroll Jazz program since we were last there in 2010,” said David Lown, Carroll ISD Director of Jazz Bands.
“They are in this position because of the dedication shown to them by their parents, a school district that values the importance of Fine Arts, and tremendous help from private lesson teachers, clinicians, band directors and their peers,” said Lown.
New rule changes make the competition more difficult which, Lown said made the announcement that Carroll Jazz was a finalist all the more special. Carroll was the only school from Texas to be selected as a finalist this year.
Hosted at New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, Essentially Ellington finalists participate in the three-day festival that includes performances, clinics and mentorship from prominent musicians focusing on the music of Duke Ellington. Click here to read the official announcement.
This year’s Carroll ISD Jazz Orchestra members are: