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Garfield jazz band headed to NYC, Ellington festival

The Garfield High School jazz band is embarking on a huge adventure today, flying off to New York City to participate in the annual Essentially Ellington jazz competition.

We stopped by the band room yesterday, and listened in as they practiced one of their pieces for the contest. They sounded great, and featured some amazing individual performances on trumpet and piano.

It’s an elite group they’re competing against. Only fifteen schools from across the country were invited as finalists. Many of those are dedicated art schools, such as the New York High School of Music and Performing Arts which was made famous in Fame. And it includes other Seattle area schools too, including Roosevelt High School and Edmonds-Woodway.

Garfield has an amazing history in the contest. They won last year, and have placed in the top 3 six times since 2002. In fact, in all but one of the last ten years, either Garfield or Roosevelt High School have been in the top 3 finalists.

The first of the three-part competition begins Sunday afternoon, and the whole thing wraps up on Monday evening where a winner will be announced.

Band director Clarence Acox had a few bits of advice for his students in advance of their big trip. After advising them that their casual west coast style of dress won’t cut it in Manhattan, he told them not to let the excitement of the event throw things out of whack. “We get to a point where we start to overanalyze this music. Relax. Just relax. We’re going to be fine.” 

You can read more about all three school’s competition in today’s story at The Seattle Times.

Here’s some more photos of the band practicing yesterday:

Band director Clarence Acox gives some final advice to his kids

0 thoughts on “Garfield jazz band headed to NYC, Ellington festival

  1. I attended RHS and played trumpet in the jazz band in the 80’s, so I gotta say I’m rooting for Roosevelt in NYC. I’m assuming that my kids, however, will go to Garfield, so my allegiance will probably need to be split in the future. Either way, I’m still amazed at how Seattle schools continue to dominate the Ellington festival.

  2. Go Garfield go!

    hey those are some really nice pics. makes me want to listen to some jazz.

  3. I have a son that graduated from Garfield as a jazz drummer and a stepson that graduated from Roosevelt as a jazz pianist, both now at New England Conservatory.
    I attended many Garfield Jazz competitions as well as Roosevelt, but, try as I might to form some kind of an allegiance with Roosevelt I was unable to… I was and always be a Garfield parent!
    Go Bulldogs!