Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Garfield and Roosevelt in Essentially Ellington (Again)

The jazz bands of Garfield High and Roosevelt High have been selected, along with, Mount Si High, to participate in the Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition in New York.   The competition takes places in early May in NYC.

The Times reports that Garfield has been a finalist 14 times (since 1999 when the competition realized there were high schools west of the Mississippi.)  Garfield has been in first place four times.  Roosevelt has been a finalist 16 times and won first three times.  Neither has won since 2010 but I foresee a win for either band.

Congrats - students, band leaders and parents. 

I also want to note the creation of a new jazz band -  the Girls Ellington Project.  They applied to be in the Essentially Ellington competition and didn't make it but kudos to all of them.  Story via KUOW.


Rufus X said...

Yay! Congrats to the students and instructors of both schools' bands.

Special shout-out to GHS's music instructors. Clarence Acox is a treasure - Seattle is lucky to have him here. Props to GHS's Mr. Tsutakawa & Mr. Sodano, orchestra & concert band/drumline instructors - they are outstanding, dedicated teachers. Mrs. Barr-Clingan, Ms. Fortune, & Mr. Walker-Loud @ WMS do a fantastic job in a middle school music program feeding GHS, and Seattle JazzEd and Seattle Music Partners do an equally fabulous job preparing students & providing tutelage outside of school hours. Last, the City's Creative Advantage initiative is worthy of praise. I'm sure there are many more music instructors who are/were instrumental (ha! Pun!) in these bands' success.


Anonymous said...

If we are doing shout outs, then I want to also thank the awesome Hamilton Middle School music teachers. Ms. Armaly, Mr. Rowe (recently retired), and Ms. Babbitt have had many of their students move on to Garfield and Roosevelt's music programs. Several of the students who will be going to Ellington attended Hamilton, so thanks to those Hamilton teachers for creating a great music foundation that has carried them on to high school.

Great to hear about the Ellington Girls Jazz group. Fantastic!!!

Northend mom

Anonymous said...

Did you know that out of 34 musicians in Jazz Band 1 at Garfield, the band that is going to Ellington, only 4 are female?


Anonymous said...

This is great for Garfield and Roosevelt, but don't all high schools deserve to have strong instrumental music programs given the proven impact of music education for students cognitively, socially and emotionally? That's why some music organizations like Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras and Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra are partnering with Denny MS and Chief Sealth HS to strengthen their orchestra and jazz programs. If you are kid who loves to play music, you shouldn't have to live in a particular neighborhood in order to have access to high quality programs. SYSO's program was recently profiled in City Arts Magazine


Lynn said...


Yes - strong music programs are expensive. We currently only have them where parents or nonprofits are willing to provide funding. It would be awesome if the state would take over that responsibility.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Why, I don't know why but that's probably why the other band I cite in the thread arose.

Artsmom, first, there is a whole plan for arts education in SPS and it is slowly rolling out. But it takes money.

Also, just to say it again, these great programs are really the work of the band directors and the parents. The district invested no real money to build them to what they are today.

Anonymous said...

Not only are parents providing substantial funding for the music programs, but they pay for private music lessons as well. Tuition for SYSO starts at $1000+ per year.


Anonymous said...

Great question. My daughter just started a jr jazz after school class at WMS and this was her first observation.


Anonymous said...

Friends of Garfield Orchestra - FOGO - does huge fundraising and grant writing to help kids pay for trips and instrument coaching. They also lend instruments. They do their best to remove barriers to playing for any student who wants to play.

open ears

Rufus X said...

@Why & @Perplexed - As the parent of 3 female musicians, 2 of whom play/played in instrumental sections dominated by males, and as a former band & chorus student myself, this subject has also perplexed & fascinated me. For the sake of exploration, I'm going to assume there is no instructor bias during band selection - I'm only focusing on the instruments that students choose. In my observation, there are instrumental sections that are dominated by female players, others by male players, and some w/ equal male/female participation. Questions like why are there (usually) more female flute players than trombone, why are there 4x as many male percussionists as there are female, or why are sax players equally split are good questions to ask & explore. What are the factors in play when a student chooses an instrument to play? Sometimes it's just interest in that instrument. There may impediments and challenges from orthodonture dictating what instruments one can or can't play for 1-3 years to the mode of transportation one takes to/from school & if it accommodates large instrument transport.

None of these observations answer the question "Why are there only X # of females in a group of Y#?" But recognition of these discrepancies in numbers is a good thing - for students, parents & instructors.

Anonymous said...

Seems that the gender gap skews the other way:

" Tracking student participation in high-school ensembles, University of Maryland researcher Kenneth Elpus finds a consistent pattern in which females outnumber males—not only in choirs, but also in bands and orchestras.

“This trend has been fairly stable for the past three decades,” he reports in the journal Music Education Research. "