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MHS jazz band heads to NYC again

Many apply, but so few are selected...

Consider this: nearly 100 high school jazz bands from across the continent submit recordings and apply to Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC with the hope it will be one of just 15 finalists selected for the prestigious Essentially Ellington competition hosted by Wynton Marsalis.

Medfield High School has succeeded in being named one such finalist, and this is not the first time. This year marks the fourth time since 2008 that the MHS Jazz Band has gotten into Ellington, with the most recent just two years ago. This year's festival and competition is May 8 to 10.

Needless to say, Music Director Doug Olsen and the students are ecstatic.

"It's an amazing experience for the band to be playing on stage at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis and so many other well-known jazz artists watching. But it's not just about the performance -- the students get to spend nearly three days in workshops and jam sessions with hundreds of students and professional musicians. It's an incredible opportunity, and one that our students will remember the rest of their lives," said Olsen, who has led the band to achieve all four Essentially Ellington honors, and has come home with numerous soloist awards.

Once again, the Medfield Music Association is spearheading a campaign to raise funds for the 2014 trip, which is expected to cost around $16,000. Generating funds for full or partial scholarships is a top priority, since no band member should be prohibited from experiencing Essentially Ellington due to financial need, says Chris McCue Potts, MMA co-president.

Community members interested in contributing to the jazz band scholarship fund can send a donation to the Medfield Music Association, P.O. Box 115, Medfield, MA. Please write "Essentially Ellington" on the check memo line. The MMA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (incorporated as "Medfield Music Boosters"), so all donations are tax-deductible. The MMA is also organizing a variety of fundraising activities, so Patch readers can look for more information about those soon.

If you want to hear the MHS Ellington-bound Jazz Band, you can check them out at the high school auditorium on Wednesday, April 9 for the annual Jazz Night, sponsored by Needham Bank and supported by the Medfield Cultural Council. Guest artist is Grammy-nominated Donny McCaslin (tenor sax), and other performers will be MHS Jazz Lab Band, Jazz Choir and Blake Jazz Band. Tickets for Jazz Night will go on sale at Park Street Books and Needham Bank on March 14.  Event information will be posted on www.medfieldmusicassociation.com.

For more information about Jazz Night or the Ellington campaign, just send a note to mail@medfieldmusicassociation.com.
CMP March 01, 2014 at 08:40 AM
Correction: MHS Jazz Band first got into Ellington in 2005 (not 2008). If you can change that year, it would be terrific!

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