PASA debuts Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Ensemble Festival in April

LAFAYETTE, La.-Thirteen high school jazz ensembles from four states will gather on Saturday, April 24 to perform at the first Louisiana Essentially Ellington Regional High School Band Festival, a project of the Performing Arts Society of Acadiana (PASA)

The Louisiana Regional festival is a partnership between PASA, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Essentially Ellington program, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Festival International, with support from Popeyes—the Louisiana Regional's Founding Sponsor. The festival will take place at Angelle Hall on the campus of the University of Louisiana Lafayette and bands from Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas are slated to participate.

The Louisiana Essentially Ellington Festival is the official southeastern regional event. This non-competitive festival is one of five Essentially Ellington Festivals in the country that offers high school jazz ensembles the opportunity to play original transcripts of recordings from some of the biggest names in jazz music including the Duke Ellington Orchestra, “The King” Benny Carter and the music of Mary Lou Williams, including the arrangements she wrote for the Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman Orchestras.

Angie Doyle, Director of Marketing for TMC foods dba Popeyes, says, "Popeyes is proud to be the founding sponsor of the Louisiana Essentially Ellington Regional High School Jazz Band Festival. As a company, we are supporters of culturally enriching and educational opportunities for all students. The

introduction of this festival to our state supports and continues the development of jazz music as an important art form in school music programs."

Ensembles competing in the festival will be required to perform three selections. Each band will receive immediate feedback from an Essentially Ellington adjudicator. The Festival's adjudicators include Dr. Ronald Carter, Professor of Music and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University and one of the most versatile and sought-after clinicians in jazz education. Carter will be joined by Dr. William J. Hochkeppel, Director of Bands and Associate Professor of music at U.L. Lafayette and Dr. Stephen C. Massey, Chairman of the Music Department for Foxboro Public Schools in Foxboro, Massachusetts, who serves as a member of the Essentially Ellington Band Director's Academy faculty. Trombonist Andre Hayward, a former member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, who is in great demand as a performer and teacher, rounds out the panel of judges.

The ensemble selected best by the panel of adjudicators will perform with Andre Hayward as their guest artist at Festival International at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 24 at the Scene Popeyes stage.

Andre Hayward is an educator extremely gifted trombonist who has been compared to the late musician J.J. Johnson. He performed with trumpeter Roy Hargrave for a European tour and record with singer/bandleader Betty Carter for five years in her acclaimed "Jazz Ahead" program with other notable

performers including; Joe Williams, Slide Hampton, John Lewis, Mingus Dynasty Big Band, Gerald Wilson, Kirk Whalum, Jimmy Heath, The Duke Ellington Orchestra and Illinois Jacquet's Big Band. In addition to serving as adjunct trombone professor at The New England Conservatory and New York University, Hayward has performed as a member of The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and with The San Francisco Jazz Collective led by Joshua Redman.

Jackie Lyle, PASA executive director says, “The Louisiana Essentially Ellington festival is an important opportunity for band directors and their students to hear each other perform before an audience as well as to receive comments and suggestions from our distinguished panel of adjudicators. Jazz--our American music-- is as fun to play as it is to hear and some of the most talented high school jazz musicians from Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas will be fired up for what is sure to be a swinging day of jazz."

All ensembles participating in the Festival are members of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2009-2010 free Essentially Ellington program. Schools that join this program are eligible to participate in the regional festival and have the option to submit a recording for the national E.E. High School Jazz Band and Competition festival held annually in New York City at the Fredrick P. Rose Hall, the home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. As part of their membership, Band Directors received three original Duke Ellington Orchestra transcriptions and three original arrangements by Mary Lou Williams, as well as reference recordings, teaching guides, newsletters and other resources.

Bands begin performing at 9 a.m. on April 24 and continue throughout the day, with a final performance by the ULL Jazz Ensemble. Awards will be announced at 5:15 p.m. and the band that receives the highest marks from adjudicators will perform with Andre Hayward at 7:15 p.m. at Festival

International at Scene Popeyes stage.

Volunteers are needed for to serve in a variety of roles on the day of the festival. Interested individuals are asked to call the PASA office at (337) 237-2787 for more information and to register. The Louisiana Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival is free and open to the public. For more information go online to www.pasaonline.org or call the PASA office at (337) 237-2787.

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Founded in 1988, the Performing Arts Society of Acadiana is a non-profit organization that presents live entertainment at the Heymann Performing Arts Center and other local venues, creates in-school arts activities, and offers daytime performances for students and initiates outreach programs such as PASA PLUS and Play It Again, Lafayette. PASA presents annual performances of opera, dance, drama and a variety of musical acts.

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