It’s BIG, BIG news for Band Director, Matt Wenman, and his hard-working, talented Mount Si High School Jazz Band.
Today, February 19, 2014, New York City’s prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center announced 15 high school jazz band finalists that will compete in their 19th Annual Essentially Ellington Competition this May – and Mount Si Jazz Band 1 made the elite list!
Nearly 100 high school jazz bands across North America entered the 2014 competition, submitting three performed recordings of selections from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington library.
Being named an Essentially Ellington Competition finalist is something those in the ‘jazz-know’ say equates to making it to the Super Bowl of high school jazz.
Mount Si was one of three Washington high schools making this year’s top 15, with Garfield and Roosevelt also making the prestigious list. The talented MSHS jazz band regularly enters the Essentially Ellington Competition, coming very close to becoming a finalist the last three years.
About 20 dedicated students comprise the highest level, auditioned Mount Si Jazz Band, meeting each morning before school begins at 6:30AM. They are directed by Matt Wenman, who took over for Adam Rupert this year.
Rupert said he feels like a “proud papa.” He said in his 12 years at Mount Si, they started with one jazz band and grew the program to three bands by the end of his tenure.
Rupert said he couldn’t be more proud of the jazz band, adding, “They’re going to have the time of their lives.”
The competition happens in New York City May 8-10th. In March or April, as part of being named a finalist, Jazz at Lincoln Center will send a professional jazz musician and educator to Mount Si High School to lead an intensive workshop filled with rehearsals, lessons and master classes. Additionally, the Essentially Ellington Program will provide free workshops to an underserved school in the Snoqualmie Valley.
Congratulations Mount Si High School Jazz Band!