Central jazz band going to New York

CHAMPAIGN — Central High School's jazz band has been selected to participate in the Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival from May 4-6 in New York, N.Y..

It's one of 15 high school bands from around the country chosen to participate.

The band will participate in workshops and jam sessions in its time in New York, and the three top bands will perform with guest soloist Wynton Marsalis, who is artistic director of jazz at Lincoln Center.

An awards ceremony will honor outstanding soloists, sections and the three top bands, according to a press release.

Throughout March and April, Jazz at Lincoln Center will send, free of charge, a professional musician to each of the bands participating to lead an intensive daylong workshop of rehearsals, lessons and master classes.

More than 110 bands entered the competition by submitting a recorded performance. The entries were evaluated in a blind screening by jazz education experts.

Central's bands will have a busy spring — in late March, both its jazz band and stage band will participate in the Swing Central Jazz High School Jazz Band Competition and Workshop in Savannah, Ga.

Twelve bands total will participate, and their members will study with jazz masters from March 28-30.

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