Editor's note: The following was submitted by Chris McCue.
Two days after returning from , the jazz band learned it would be returning to New York once again – this time as a finalist in the “Essentially Ellington” festival and competition, May 4-6 at Lincoln Center.
This will be the high school's third time earning a spot in the Essentially Ellington festival and competition that pays homage to jazz great Duke Ellington. The program participated in the New York competition in 2005 and most recently in 2008.
Similar to previous years, Medfield was one of 15 bands selected from across the country, with high school jazz bands traveling from as far away as Washington, California and Manitoba, Canada.
“To have gotten into two prestigious national jazz competitions in the same year is incredible,” said Doug Olsen, Medfield High School music director. “Ellington has been around about 10 years longer than Mingus, and with its home at Lincoln Center and the chance to perform before Wynton Marsalis, it tends to attract a lot more applicants. Our competition will be stiff, but the band is certainly up to the challenge.”
Unique to Ellington, each finalist band receives an in-school workshop in their community led by a professional musician before coming to New York. Olsen will have a date for the Medfield High School workshop in the coming weeks.
In the past, finalist bands have had the privilege to work with such workshop clinicians as trumpeter Terell Stafford; jazz educator Ronald Carter; Manhattan School of Music Jazz Studies Director Justin DiCioccio,; saxophonist Loren Schoenberg; pianist and educator Reginald Thomas; and Jazz at Lincoln Center's Victor Goines.
Olsen added that while the band had high hopes for earning another first-place “Big Band” award at Mingus over February vacation, which Lexington High School received, Medfield still came home with an outstanding soloist award earned by senior saxophonist Paul Wagenseller.
“Of course, coming home to the news about Ellington helped us put Mingus in perspective. I couldn’t be any prouder of these students than I am today,” Olsen said.
Congratulate the MHS Jazz Band at Zullo Gallery on March 2
The will be hosting a community reception for members of the Medfield High School jazz band from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. this Friday, March 2. Jazz band members will be performing in small ensembles, showcasing their improvisational talents. Admission is an optional donation to the Zullo Gallery with a suggested amount of $7 per person.