A free program for high school jazz bands, Essentially Ellington aims to elevate musicianship, broaden perspectives and inspire performance. Each year, fifteen finalist bands from across North America travel to New York City to spend three days immersed in workshops, jam sessions, open rehearsals and competition performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center's home, Frederick P. Rose Hall. Participating schools for Competition Part II include Byron Center High School (Byron Center, MI), Sun Prairie High School (Sun Prairie, WI), Garfield High School (Seattle, WA), and Foxboro High School (Foxboro, MA.) Participating schools for Competition Part III include Lexington High School (Lexington, MA), Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble (Raleigh, NC), and Jazz House Kids (Montclair, NJ.) Judging this year are Wynton Marsalis, Lauren Sevian, Jeff Hamilton, Chuck Israel and Chris Crenshaw.