Plano West and Carroll high school jazz bands selected for prestigious Essentially Ellington festival

The Plano West Jazz Band and the Carroll Jazz Orchestra will participate in a prestigious jazz band festival in June.

Only 15 groups in the United States have been selected for the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band festival. Plano and Carroll were the only two from Texas.

The festival is traditionally held at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York. Groups travel to New York to perform and participate in workshops. Due to the pandemic, this year’s festival is taking place online from June 4 to 5.

The festival concludes with year-long virtual workshops hosted by Jazz at Lincoln Center, according to an announcement regarding the bands selected for the festival.

This is the third year that Jazz Band director Preston Pierce has conducted the Plano West Jazz Band at the festival. The group was selected for the first time in 2017 and again in 2020.

“This talented group of students are dedicated to their music, and this is even more evident this year when pandemic safety protocols have made practicing together a challenge,” said Jeremy Kondrat, instrumental music coordinator at Plano ISD, in a press release.

The Carroll Jazz Orchestra qualified for the honor six times. A list of all the bands selected for the festival is available online.

Ada J. Kenney