EW Jazz Uses Craft Fair as a Fun Performance, but They Have Bigger Plans This Year

By Kaiona Apio

The annual EW Holiday Craft fair was held last Saturday, December 7th, and continues to be one of the most successful fundraisers in the music program. The profits from the Craft Fair benefits the orchestra and band programs, which explains the numerous musical performances.

During the fair, the halls are lined with combination and chamber groups and in the Great Hall larger bands perform. The Edmonds Woodway Jazz bands started off the fair with the first sets in the morning. The band is filled with seniors and throughout all the members there is a high level of experience in the band.

EJ Brannan is the drummer for Jazz I, the Drum Captain in the pep band, and Section Leader of the Wind Symphony. Brannan is confident in the band’s talent this year and chances they have to qualify for more exclusive concerts.

Hot Java Cool Jazz is a Starbucks sponsored event that features Seattle area high school jazz bands. If the EW Jazz band qualifies they will perform at the Paramount on March 27th at 6pm. But the bigger competition is the Essentially Ellington competition, which is held in New York City from May 7-9.

This upcoming festival will mark the 25th year of the Essentially Ellington competition, and according to Brannan the rules are a little different. “It’s not regional this year,” he explains “so normally every year a few bands from every state because that makes is more spread out, so it’s not like 10 bands from Seattle and 10 bands from New York… places with better jazz programs would get all the bands.” 

This opened up more opportunities for places without high caliber jazz programs, however, for a band like Edmonds-Woodway, they are forced to compete against multiple high level bands because of the strength of jazz music in Seattle. Whereas, if they were in another, less competitive region, their road to Ellington would be much easier. 

The EW Jazz I is keeping their hopes high. Brannan says “Mr. B has really high hopes for us to make Ellington this year, but it’s still super competitive, as always.”

EJ is also a part of the Mello Aires Jazz Choir’s rhythm section, and will be traveling with them to the JEN Conference next year. Mello Aires qualified for the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference and they will perform in New Orleans in January. Every year the JEN Conference selects one high school band to perform among the other college bands and professionals, and Mello Aires was selected for the 2020 Conference.

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