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Mount Si Jazz Selected for 2019 Essentially Ellington Festival


Congratulations to Mount Si High School’s Jazz I Band for being selected among 15 finalists to perform in the 2019 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival – the nation’s premier jazz education event. Under the direction of Mount Si Band Director Bill Leather, Mount Si Jazz musicians will travel to New York City for the 24th annual competition on May 9-11. 


MSHS Jazz I students include:

Saxophones:  Jackson Beymer, Christian Palomo, Tychon Preston, Elijah Wray, Nathaniel Wray

Trumpets:  Paula Bachtal, Analise Chiu, Sage Eisenhour, Ethan Palomo, Brandon Wilhite

Trombones:  Corey Gazit, James Kolke, Tate Satterlee, Erik Thurston

Drums:  Parker Grady, Ethan Horn

Piano:  Aiden Drake

Flute:  Kaitlin Ray

Bass:  Seb Rowland

Guitar:  Ryan Horn

Vocals:  Sage Eisenhour


This will be the fifth time that Mount Si High School has been invited to Essentially Ellington – an annual event that unites students from coast to coast, and from diverse backgrounds, to find harmony together while playing some of the most complex jazz music ever written.


“We are extremely proud of the hard work and dedication our jazz students bring to the music every day. Their passion and commitment to excellence is inspiring!” said Leather. “We are looking forward to representing Mount Si High School at the prestigious Essentially Ellington Festival in May alongside some of the best high school jazz programs in the country.”


Mount Si High School was selected from 112 high school jazz bands that auditioned from across the U.S. and Canada. The selection process included a blind audition in which the bands submit recordings of their performances of three tunes from the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s library.  


Two other bands from Seattle, Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School, were also named Essentially Ellington finalists this year.  


In New York, the students will spend three days immersed in workshops, jam sessions, rehearsals and performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center before a panel of esteemed judges. On May 11, the festival will conclude with a concert featuring the top three bands performing with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.  The festival will be live webcast on May 9-11 at


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