Jazz at Lincoln Center has announced the three top-placing high school jazz bands in the nation that took the highest honors recently at the prestigious 23rd Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York.The first-place winner is Dillard Center for the Arts from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The second-place winner is Newark Academy from Livingston, NJ and third-place winner is Tucson Jazz Institute from Tucson, AZ. Honorable Mention is Beloit Memorial High School from Beloit, WI and Roosevelt High School from Seattle, WA . Beginning on May 10, the top 15 high school jazz bands in the country participated in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival and were immersed in three days of mentoring, jam sessions, and workshops. The competition culminated in the May 12 concert wherein each top-placing band performed with their choice Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member as a soloist. The final concert also featured the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis – whose members served as mentors for the finalist bands throughout the week – performing repertoire made famous by Duke Ellington. Each finalist band was chosen by a panel of judges comprised of distinguished jazz musicians and historians: Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis; composer, arranger, acclaimed pianist Bill Charlap; big band leader, drummer and Grammy-nominated recording artist Jeff Hamilton; acclaimed musician and former Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member Todd Williams and renowned flautist, saxophonist, composer, educator, and EE Alum Erica von Kleist. At the ceremony, Wynton Marsalis presented awards to each of the 15 finalist high school jazz bands. Dillard Center for the Artsaccepted the first place trophy and an award of $5,000. Newark Academy accepted the second place trophy and an award of $2,500.Tucson Jazz Institute accepted the third place trophy with an award of $1,000. Roosevelt High School and Beloit Memorial High School received honorable mention with an award of $750. The remaining ten bands were each awarded cash awards of $500. All monetary awards are to be used for improving the jazz education programs of each respective high school.