From our Essentially Ellington correspondent: E-W Jazz Band ready to be in spotlight today

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Bruce Laven, directing the Meadowdale Middle School band.

By Bruce Laven

Brushes with celebrities are part of the classic New York City experience and so it goes for the jazz band from Edmonds-Woodway High School at this weekend’s Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival.

At a concert Thursday night, E-W jazz band members were invited to hang with world-class bass player Ron Carter.

And on Friday afternoon, after a celebrity parade-type welcome to the jazz festival, the E-W band joined 14 other high school bands for a question-and-answer session with festival/jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra director Wynton Marsalis. E-W senior trumpet player Ken Weller asked the Grammy-winning trumpet player directly about making a statement with his music.

Later Friday evening, 12 Edmonds students were able to jam with Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) musicians and make musical memories together with kids from other schools. Fresh off the band stand, Weller said with a huge smile, “I met three famous trumpet players – today was the best!”

After inspirational full band rehearsals and sectionals with members of the JALC orchestra, the young EWHS jazz musicians are ready to take the stage Saturday afternoon in the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center. Now it’s time for the entire EWHS band to be under the spotlight and show the world why they were chosen as one of the 15 best bands in the country.

You can watch the EWHS performance live here at approximately 3:30 p.m. today.

Bruce Laven, a band teacher at Meadowdale Middle School for 20 years, is with the Edmonds-Woodway High School Jazz Band at the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival in New York City.

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