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MDC’s New World School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble a Finalist in the 18th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival

NWSA one of only three schools selected from the Southeastern US
NWSA jazz 1

Miami, February 28, 2013 -

The New World School of the Arts (NWSA) High School Jazz Ensemble, at Miami Dade College (MDC), has once again been selected as a finalist for the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. NWSA and other finalists will compete for top honors in the three-day event in New York City, May 10 – 12, 2013.


The Essentially Ellington program, through Jazz at Lincoln Center, is a free program for high school jazz bands that provides members with charts, videos, and other resource materials throughout the school year. Through the music of pivotal big band composers such as Duke Ellington, Benny Carter, Mary Lou Williams, Count Basie, and Dizzy Gillespie, high school bands can explore elements of style and self-expression.


96 high school bands entered the 18th annual competition by submitting a recorded performance of three compositions. Jazz at Lincoln Center then selected 15 finalists through a rigorous screening process from five different regions across the United States; NWSA was one of three schools selected from Region 4, which consisted of 13 states.


NWSA has repeatedly been honored as a finalist at Essentially Ellington; 2013 marks its 5th consecutive appearance at the Festival, and 10th appearance overall. The Jazz Band placed first in 2005, and has received countless honorable mentions. The jazz program at NWSA has flourished under the leadership of professor and pianist Jim Gasior, who has taught at NWSA for more than 10 years. In addition, students of the NWSA jazz program have been regular recipients of Student Music Awards by DownBeat magazine.


All finalists in the Essentially Ellington competition will be visited by a professional musician in March or April, to lead an intensive clinic including rehearsals, lessons and master classes, personalized for each band.


Beginning on May 10, the 15 finalists will compete for top honors and participate in workshops, jam sessions, and more during the three-day Essentially Ellington competition and festival.


The first half of the final concert on May 12 will feature the three top-placing bands performing with a member of the world renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) as guest soloist. The second half will feature the JLCO – whose members serve as mentors for the finalists bands throughout the weekend – performing a repertoire of tunes made famous by Duke Ellington. The festival concludes with an awards ceremony honoring outstanding soloists, sections and the three top-placing bands.


For the first time, the entire weekend of Essentially Ellington events, including the final concert featuring the three top-placing bands and the JLCO, will be webcast live on


The 2013 Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival will take place at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City, on May 10 – 12, 2013.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

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