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Mount Si Jazz Band Performs May 10 at Essentially Ellington in NY


Mount Si High School’s Jazz I Ensemble is traveling to New York City this week to represent the school community, Snoqualmie Valley School District, and the state of Washington on the biggest stage for high school jazz musicians – the 2019 Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival.  


On Friday, May 10, the Mount Si Jazz Ensemble will be taking the stage at Lincoln Center in New York City at approximately 12:10 p.m. PST.  Watch their performance “live” at that time, by tuning in to a Livestream at  Or, join a group of local fans at The North Bend Theater to watch the 2019 Essentially Ellington concert on the big screen. (Special thanks to the theater for graciously offering to host this broadcast and celebration.) 


 MSHS Jazz I Ensemble


In February, Mount Si Jazz was honored to find out that they were one of 15 finalist bands selected from blind audition to perform at the prestigious 24th Annual Essentially Ellington Festival & Competition, hosted by Jazz at Lincoln Center and Wynton Marsalis.


“We are thrilled to represent Mount Si for the fifth time in our school’s history, at the ‘Super Bowl’ of high school jazz festivals. 112 bands from across North America auditioned, including 24 from our region!” said MSHS Band Director Bill Leather.


Check out this video highlighting the band’s experience preparing and fundraising for the trip to the festival:

 MSHS band video - preparing and fundraising for Essentially Ellington 2019


In anticipation, here are some thoughts from the senior students, who have had the honor to experience this event previously:

  • Christian Palomo, who plays alto saxophone, shared “The festival itself is really, really meaningful… Getting to meet all these people from around the country who are extremely dedicated to what they do and have a passion for the music is really cool.”
  • Erik Thurston, bass trombonist, said “There’s great energy. Everybody’s really invested in being as great as possible and really elevating the music, and it’s just all around a fun band to be in.”
  • Trombonist James Kolke added “The opportunity to perform at Essentially Ellington is life changing.”