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Mead band to compete in Ellington jazz festival

The Mead High School Jazz 1 Ensemble has been invited to compete in Essentially Ellington, an annual high school jazz band competition and festival in New York City.

The 21-member jazz band is one of 15 selected out of 900 high school jazz bands to compete in the event May 4-6, presented by “Jazz at Lincoln Center.”

Musicians from schools all over the Untied States and Canada and Americans from schools in other countries were sent music and a chance to attend the festival.

Students were sent Ellington scores, and asked to audition by making a recording.

The winning ensemble has the opportunity to perform on stage with Wynton Marsalis of the “Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.”

Mead band members include Shelly Bjorklund, piano; Kyle Sherman, bass; Christiana Tracy and Jon Miller, drums; Tim Duryea, guitar/banjo; Nate Lewis, alto/soprano saxophone; Steven Thompson, alto sax; Taylor Delph, tenor sax; Alex Hancock, tenor sax/clarinet; Kelsey Pruitt, clarinet; Brad Deubel, baritone sax; Jackson Gradin, Kurt Marcum, Nate Kadel, Kallie Huss and Chris Winter, trumpets; Justin Lee, Josh West, Peter Sciuto, and James Robeson, trombones. The band director is Terry Lack.

The band needs to raise more than $20,000 to pay for the trip. A fundraising concert will be April 22 at the Service Station, 9315 N. Nevada, 3 to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults in advance, and $15 at the door. Students pay $5 and children 6 and under will be admitted free. Tickets can be purchased in advance through or (800) 325-SEAT.

WASL testing begins

State WASL testing will begin Monday for all students in grades three through eight.

Testing in reading, math, writing and science will continue through May 4 for those students.

High school sophomores and students who have not yet passed will begin taking the math and science portions of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning on Tuesday. The reading and writing portions were administered in March.

The high-stakes exam is a requirement for graduation, however, legislation that would delay requirements for the math and science portions of the exam won approval from both chambers of the state Legislature.

Both Gov. Chris Gregoire and Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson proposed delaying the math graduation requirement in November, after results from last year’s exam showed that 49 percent of sophomores failed the math portion of the test.

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