Essentially Ellington

High school ensembles: assemble.

The 2024 festival will be taking place on Sunday February 18th, 2024. Registration for the 2024 festival is now closed as we have reached capacity. If you are interested in joining the waitlist and being the first to know about 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.