NEW YORK (AP) – 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 the competition.
Given the COVID-19 crisis that has led to shutdowns across the nation, there will be no travel. Instead, the event will be 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 Jazz at Lincoln Center’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 outstanding soloists and outstanding sections.
Essentially Ellington, named after jazz great Duke Ellington, is a free program that provides instruction and resources to jazz students. The competition was originally scheduled to be held this month.