By Jennifer DiDomenico
The Osceola County School for the Arts (OCSA) recently competed in the 23rd Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz and Lincoln Center in New York City.
The annual competition names the three top-placing high school jazz bands in the nation, from 15 competing bands made up of more than 300 students.
The top 15 high school jazz bands included: Agoura High School (Agoura Hills, CA), Ballard High School (Seattle, WA), Beloit Memorial High School (Beloit, WI), Carroll Senior High School (Southlake, TX), Champaign Central High School (Champaign, IL), Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Mountlake Terrace High School (Mountlake Terrace, WA), Newark Academy (Livingston, NJ), Newton South High School (Newton, MA), Osceola County School for the Arts (Kissimmee, FL), Roosevelt High School (Seattle, WA), Sun Prairie High School (Sun Prairie, WI), Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble (Raleigh, NC), Tucson Jazz Institute (Tucson, AZ) and William H. Hall High School (West Hartford, CT).
OCSA was recognized for its excellence in the Outstanding Trombone Section and Outstanding Trumpet Section. Kobe Conomon received an honorable mention for drums, Eric Gonzalez received an honorable mention for outstanding trumpet and Chris McDole received an honorable mention for outstanding vocals.
“The administration, faculty, staff, and student body of Osceola County School for the Arts are beyond proud of the great accomplishments of Mr. Edwin Santiago and our Jazz Band A students,” said OCSA Principal Chaundra Evans. “The caliber of musicianship displayed by this group of young artists is a testament of their hard work and dedication to their craft. When they perform, they have the ability to project their passion and captivate audiences of all ages. I am one proud Principal!”
All winners and honorable mentions were selected by a panel of judges, comprised of distinguished jazz musicians.
In order to be part of this prestigious competition, OCSA and the other competitors had to submit several recordings of their musical talents. Nearly 100 high school jazz bands in North America enter the competition every year.
Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program also includes non-competitive regional festivals around the country, teaching resources, a summer Band Director Academy and more. It serves as a cornerstone of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s educational initiatives, and is known to be one of the most innovative jazz education events in the world.