More than 100 jazz ensembles in the country applied.
To be considered, each school submitted recordings of three tunes performed from the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington library. Besides having their recordings judged, the 15 finalists were selected through a screening process.
In the May final competition, the Agoura band will present a set of music for a panel of judges.
Chad Bloom is the AHS band director.
Each finalist band will receive a workshop at their campus led by a professional musician before coming to New York to put up their “Dukes” and perform before jazz artist Wynton Marsalis and the judges.
On May 10, the bands will arrive in New York City to spend three days in workshops, jam sessions, rehearsals and performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
On May 12, the festival will conclude with a concert and awards ceremony featuring the three top-placing bands and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Marsalis.
Festival events, including the final concert, will be webcast live on jazz.org/live.
The festival is the culmination of the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program, which also includes regional festivals, teaching resources and a summer Band Director Academy.
More than 4,600 high school bands are members of the 2017- 18 Essentially Ellington program.
—Acorn staff report