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  • Donny Thompson, M.S., NPA

2019 Essentially Ellington Regional High School Jazz Band Festival

On January 31-February 1, Jazz Outreach Initiative, in co-sponsorship with Jazz at Lincoln Center and UNLV School of Music, presented the 2019 Essentially Ellington Regional High School Jazz Band Festival hosted on the UNLV campus. The 2019 EE Festival featured 26 bands from California and Nevada and clinicians, Todd Stoll (Vice President of Education at Jazz at Lincoln Center), Vincent Gardner (trombonist with Jazz at Lincoln Center), and JOI President/Artistic Advisor and member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Las Vegas native, trumpeter Kenny Rampton. Jazz drummer and Count Basie alumnus Butch Miles and Kenny Rampton each held a master class for the students. Day 1 was full with high school band performances, judging, and concluded with a concert by the UNLV Latin Jazz Ensemble featuring trombonist Vincent Gardner.

Day 2 concluded the high school band performances and judging. The final concert featured the UNLV Jazz Ensemble 1, under the direction of the Director of the Division of Jazz and Commercial Music, Professor Dave Loeb , with guest artists Butch Miles, Kenny Rampton, Vincent Gardner, Todd Stoll and Assistant Professor Adam Schroeder.

The following awards were presented:

Outstanding Soloists

Tyler Suttibugha, tenor sax

Sean Johnson, guitar

Emma Schaeffer, trumpet

Brendan Fleischer, drums

Gabriel Nieves, tenor sax

Madelyn Kennedy, tenor sax – Cheyenne High School

Knight Favella, trombone – Clark High School

Chase Edwards, guitar – Palo Verde High School

Jeff Menninger, bass – Peninsula High School

Christian Perez, alto sax – Valencia High School

Santino Dimauro – Desert Oasis High School

Matthew Sosa, clarinet - Esperanza High School

Tonwa Hauff, alto sax – Basic Academy

Diamond Spearman, trombone – Chaparral High School

Logan Petersen, tenor sax

Madison Epino, trumpet – Foothill High School

Ilai Macaggi, trombone – Green Valley High School

Brenda Greggio, piano

Joseph Valenzuela, trombone

Chris Ellis, clarinet

Trevor Secoda, alto sax

Ilai Macaggi- Overall Outstanding Soloist, trombone - Green Valley High School

John Murray- Overall Outstanding Soloist, bass - San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts

San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts- Outstanding Rhythm Section

Esperanza High School- Outstanding Saxophone Section

Green Valley High School- Outstanding Trumpet Section

Green Valley High School- Outstanding Trombone Section

Foothill High School- Spirit of Ellington Award

The concert’s final number, Duke Ellington’s “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” featured all guest artists with each of the Outstanding High School Soloists performing a solo with the band.

In only its second year. the Las Vegas Essentially Ellington Regional High School Jazz Band Festival has grown to be the largest in the country. In the words of Todd Stoll, “It is the premiere EE Festival in the country.” Since Essentially Ellington Festivals are non-competitive, emphasis is placed on the music and supporting your fellow students. That spirit was evident in this year’s festival. Students from all bands attended each other’s performances. That support was also reflected in the attendance of over 600 students to the final concert. With many bands already confirmed for next year, the 2020 EE Festival promises to be even bigger and better. Please follow Jazz Outreach Initiative on all social media platforms for information on the 2020 EE Festival and all of our other exciting education and outreach projects.

Let’s Make A Difference!!

Vincent Gardner

Butch Miles
Butch Miles

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