Solidly at the Top: Mount Si Jazz Band Heading Back to Elite ‘Essentially Ellington’ Competition in NYC

Ask many Snoqualmie Valley residents about the Mount Si High School band program and you’re bound to hear multiple accolades listed. The music program has been growing for the past two decades and last year it hit a pinnacle – being one of a handful of high school jazz bands invited to a ‘cream of the crop’ national competition.

And it seems things aren’t slowing down for MSHS Band Director Matt Wenman and his talented musicians. For the second straight year, Mount Si High School Jazz Band 1 has been named one of 15 finalists from around the country in the elite High School Jazz Band Competition, Essentially Ellington.

MSHS Jazz 1 will join fellow Washington representatives, Garfield and Roosevelt High Schools, at Lincoln Center in New York City for the May 7th-9th jazz competition.

According to the Essentially Ellington website, the yearly competition is the culmination of the yearlong program, in which participating bands submit a recorded jazz piece and 15 finalists are selected through a rigorous process.

Each finalist band also gets an in-school workshop from a professional musician before heading off to New York to perform in front the judges this spring.

Mount Si Jazz Band 1 is comprised of approximately 20 dedicated, auditioned students who meet each morning before school at 6:30AM.

The performance at the 2014 Essentially Ellington competition solidified the Mount Si Jazz program as one of the top jazz programs in the country.

Congratulation Mr. Wenman and Mount Si High School Jazz!  And as one band parent stated…. “Let the fundraising begin!”

MSHS Jazz Band at 2014 Essentially Ellington competition in NYC. Photo: MSHS Band website
MSHS Jazz Band at 2014 Essentially Ellington competition in NYC. Photo: MSHS Band website



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  • Congratulations Mt Si on making to the finals for the Ellington competition in NYC…We’re pulling for you! Good luck!

  • Living Snoqualmie