Shenandoah Conservatory is hosting the esteemed Essentially Ellington Regional High School Jazz Band Festival in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) on Saturday, Jan. 19, in Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre on the main campus of Shenandoah University.
The daylong festival features two opportunities for the public to attend free performances:
- “A Special Tribute Performance: The John Kirby and the Onyx Club Boys” at 4:45 p.m.
- The U.S. Army Blues (opening with a 15-minute performance by the festival winners) at 7:15 p.m.
“A Special Tribute Performance: The John Kirby and the Onyx Club Boys,” in tribute to the late bassist Kirby, a Winchester native, features Tom Williams on trumpet; Charlie Young on alto saxophone; Anna Lee Van Buren Chair in Clarinet, Coordinator of Winds and Percussion and Professor of Clarinet Garrick Zoeter, M.M., Harrison Endowed Chair in Piano; Director of Jazz Studies; Associate Professor of Jazz Piano Robert Larson ’08, D.M.A., Jacob Pembelton ’19 (Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies) on double bass; and Daniel “DK” Kelly ’18 (Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies) on drums.
During the festival, more than 250 students from 10 high school jazz bands from Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia will compete for best band, best section and best soloists awards. One band will perform alongside The U.S. Army Blues. Musicians from the Army Blues band along with Jazz at Lincoln Center clinicians Sherman Irby and Chris Dorsey will be providing clinics during the festival, and band directors as well as members of the Winchester community will participate in a roundtable discussion with the clinicians.
This is a rare treat for students and directors to meet and work with educators and musicians sent to our area from Jazz at Lincoln Center. Few institutions are selected to host this event so we are very fortunate to be chosen. The performance slots filled up quickly once the word got out and we look forward to an exciting day filled with performances, clinics and a dedicated performance featuring the music of Winchester’s own John Kirby.”
– Adjunct Associate Professor of Classical and Jazz Trombone Matt Niess, D.M.A.
Through its annual Essentially Ellington program, JALC co-produces noncompetitive education- based festivals designed to offer high school jazz bands of all levels the opportunity to perform the music of Duke Ellington and other seminal big band composers and arrangers. Participating bands receive professional feedback from JALC clinicians and other prestigious jazz professionals.
This year’s event at Shenandoah welcomes five renowned jazz legends as festival clinicians and judges: Jim Carroll, Christopher Dorsey, Sherman Irby, Tom Williams and Charlie Young.
“A Special Tribute Performance: The John Kirby and the Onyx Club Boys” at 4:45 p.m. and The U.S. Army Blues concert at 7:15 p.m. are both free and open to the public. No tickets required and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.