Day Two at Essentially Ellington: EWHS jazz band prepares for big stage


Crammed in a small rehearsal room, the Edmonds-Woodway High School jazz band settles down for a rehearsal with alto saxophone player Ted Nash at the Essentially Ellington (EE) competition in New York City Thursday.

Nash listened to the band’s set and gave them feedback. “It’s about how you listen to each other and how you feel the music,” he reminded them after hearing their first piece.

Senior Brandt Fischer, having previously worked with Nash in a section on Thursday, quickly latched onto his feedback.

“I think the main thing was just changing the moods of the music,” Fischer reflected after the rehearsal. “He was talking about certain blue notes, things to just make it “bluesier” and channel the vibe of the music. There are blue notes…the technical things, but this is more of like a feeling.”

Fischer, like many others, has noticed the vibe at the festival. “Being around all of these really good musicians, other people that are your age that are dedicated as well, it’s a good atmosphere,” he said.

It’s been four years since Edmonds-Woodway has had a presence in EE, and band director Jake Bergevin is eager to be back.

“It’s wonderful to see old friends and it’s really wonderful to see all of the kids’ eyes light up at the answers to the questions,” he said.

All of the EWHS students are eager for their performance tomorrow during the last part of the competition between 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern.

Then, later Saturday afternoon, the top three bands will be chosen for a final concert to determine the order of their placement in the competition.

You can watch the EWHS performance here.

— Story and photos by Harper Thomas, Mountlake Terrace High School Hawkeye 

My Edmonds News is collaborating with the Hawkeye, which has sent two student journalists to cover the Jazz I band competition at Essentially Ellington

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