Essentially Ellington

High school ensembles: assemble.

Dates for the 2025 festival will be released in the coming months. Please check back soon for more information and should you have any questions regarding next year’s festival, please email Brooke Schellpfeffer at

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is pleased to partner with Jazz at Lincoln Center in presenting the fourth annual, internationally recognized and acclaimed Essentially Ellington Regional High School Jazz Band Festival.

This noncompetitive event offers an amazing opportunity to perform Ellington’s music and receive professional, critical feedback from Jazz at Lincoln Center clinicians. Previous Jazz at Lincoln Center clinicians have included Terrel Stafford, a master trumpeter and the head of Jazz Studies at Temple University, Jim Gasior, EE finalist director, pianist, and educator, Rodney Whitaker, director of The Jazz Orchestra at Dr. Phillips Center, as well as additional professional jazz musicians. The 2024 Essentially Ellington clinicians will be announced by the beginning of January, 2024.

During the festival, bands will play at least one tune from the Essentially Ellington library before participating in a workshop and receiving awards and written adjudicator feedback.