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45th Carolina Jazz Festival and 16th North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival – Thursday, February 17-19, 2022

Carolina Jazz Festival Schedule – February 17-19

  • Thursday, 17 at 8pm Faculty Jazz with Guest Trumpeter, Rachel Therrien, Durham Sharp 9 Gallery
  • Friday, 18 at 4:00pm UNC Jazz Combos Guest Trumpeter, Rachel Therrien, Moeser Auditorium
  • Saturday, 19 8:30am-6pm Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival Rachel Therrien, guest trumpet
    • UNC Jazz Band performs just before the afternoon award ceremony.
    • UNC Faculty Jazz perform briefly after awards are passed out.


RACHEL THERRIEN ( Between New York City and Montreal, French-Canadian trumpeter, composer and producer Rachel Therrien boasts an enviable CV. She is considered one of the most promising jazz musicians, playing a wide variety of musical styles and rhythms.

Winner of the 2015 TD Grand Prize Jazz Award at the renowned Montreal International Jazz Festival, the 2016 Stingray Jazz Rising Star Award and nominated as Best Jazz Producer at the IMA’s 2018 Award, she has shared stages with many world-class musicians in clubs, festivals and on television throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.

Rachel has published five records: VENA (2020), Why Don’t You Try (2017),  Pensamiento:  Colombia (2016), Home Inspiration (2014) and On Track (2011) released Labels Bonsaï Music (FR), Multiple Chord Music (CA) & Truth Revolution Records (USA). She received stellar reviews from Le Devoir, La Presse, All About Jazz, New York Hot House, Downbeat Editor’s Pick, Latin Jazz Corner, just to name a few. For the last few years she has toured as bandleader all over Canada, USA, Europe, Ukraine, Mexico and more, taking on the most prestigious jazz festivals and clubs.

Rachel Therrien released her 5th album recorded in Paris with her new European Quartet in March 2020 during the coronavirus breakdown. The new album VENA was released under French Label Bonsaï Music in the spring of 2020. She also presently tours with her Montreal Quintet which will celebrate their 10th anniversary in 2020with her New York based Latin Jazz Quartet  and very occasionally, she performs Pensamiento : Proyecto Colombia, 2016.

Rachel holds a bachelor degree in jazz performance from the University of Montreal, a degree in arts management and a music certificate from Instituto Supérior de Arte (Havana, Cuba), and was selected to  participate in the Banff Center Jazz and Creative Music workshop held by Dave Douglas and Vijay Iyer in 2012. She has worked with a large number of mentors and teachers such as Ron DiLauro, Elpidio Chappotin, Laurie Frink, John McNeil, Jonathan Finlayson, Clarence Penn, Ralph Alessi and many more.
As well as being recognized as an artist that can’t be ignored, Rachel is also a key player on the Montreal Jazz scene, helping it to grow and expand its frontiers by being an example for emerging musicians and actively working for the jazz community. In 2013, she founded the Montreal Jazz Composers Series, bringing more than 200 musician-composers from Canada and the US to showcase their original music and play together for the first time in front of crowd of mainly young non-musicians during Montreal Int’l Jazz Festival. She believes that “Jazz is a philosophy of conversation between musicians from different backgrounds through improvisation, and that we, as musicians, it is our mission to keep jazz alive and to make sure that our generation of non-musicians live the experience and appreciate that unspoken language.”

North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival
2022 Registration Information

About the High School Festival:

Each year high school jazz bands and jazz combos participate in the Carolina Jazz Festival where they perform for our other high schools, parents, band directors, and for our clinicians and faculty adjudicators.  Founded in 1977, the Carolina Jazz Festival (CJF) promotes a broad range of programming spanning performance, education, and scholarship. Headlining the 2020 festival is the Theo Croker Quartet.  Additionally, rising star, Canadian trumpet artist, Rachel Therrien, will serve as our guest artist for the festival and will participate in coaching the high school jazz ensembles among other faculty adjudicators. For additional information about the Carolina Jazz Festival, Stephen Anderson, Director of Jazz Studies (

The Carolina Jazz Festival collaborates with the educational wing of Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC). The festival features the North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival (16 years) which has engaged student participation from North Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., Georgia, and New Jersey. In addition to the guest artists, JALC also provides additional clinicians for the regional festival who are involved with Essentially Ellington nationally.

The Carolina Jazz Festival also partners on the UNC campus with Carolina Performing Arts and a host of other organizations that provide financial and organizational support to the festival.

Registration and Fees: 

There are two registration processes, one for the Carolina Jazz Festival, and one for Jazz At Lincoln Center as explained below.

Registration for the Carolina Jazz Festival is $150 for either a jazz band or combo. Directors wishing to bring two to four groups may do so. We limit participation by one school to no more than two jazz bands (no more than 4 ensembles total from any one school). Registration for two ensembles is $250; three ensembles is $300; four ensembles is $325.
  • Checks are payable to: Carolina Jazz Festival 2022
  • Mail checks to Stephen Anderson
    Carolina Jazz Festival
    Department of Music
    CB#3320, University of North Carolina
    Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3320

We will accept registrations until February 3, 2022, when we will begin to put together the festival schedule and program. The slots usually fill up before the registration is closed, so we hope you will register early.

All high school ensembles participating in the festival are encouraged to join Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2021-2022 Essentially Ellington program. By joining the free program, directors will receive original big band transcriptions from JALC. New members can join the program online by visiting and by completing an online membership form. For questions about the Essentially Ellington program contact Maegan Kelly at 212-258-9810 or

Carolina Jazz Festival Rules – High School Jazz Band Division

High School Jazz Bands will be required to perform three selections as follows:

  • One score must be a swing tune.
  • One score must be a ballad.
  • One score to be a director’s choice from any genre.
  • One of these three compositions, whether swing, ballad, Latin, etc., must be from either the current repertoire or previous titles listed in the JALC Essentially Ellington library.
  • All eligible charts from the Essentially Ellington library are published by either Warner Bros Publications or Alfred Publishing Co. and prominently feature an Essentially Ellington logo on the cover of the conductor’s score. Remember directors, that in addition to the charts received through membership with the 2021-2022 Essentially Ellington program, you may also elect to perform any of the previously published EE charts.

For a complete list of all titles in the Essentially Ellington library, visit and select “Library” from within the red “Resources” tab on the right.  Please contact EE staff at to secure a chart released in previous years.

Procedures for Big Bands

Each band will receive 25 minutes total for their performance. This includes set-up, tuning, and exit from the stage. A warm-up room will be available to each band 25 minutes prior to their scheduled performance time. Adjudicators will provide a critique of your performance and provide numerical ratings on a festival adjudication sheet. Directors are not required to provide adjudicators with scores. We prefer our judges to listen and observe, rather than to be focused too much on viewing and studying a printed score.

We require that each director:

  1. provide three copies of a program guide for the judges
  2. provide a listing of the compositions and composers,
  3. provide a listing of the soloists (name and instrument) for each selection, and the entire personnel for the band.
  4. designate lead players so that we might be in a better position to identify students should they be considered for an award.

Post-performance clinic with judge
Each jazz band will receive a 20-minute clinic with one of our Essentially Ellington clinicians.

Carolina Jazz Festival Rules – Combo Division
High School Jazz Combos will be required to perform a minimum of two selections with one composition being a blues. A third selection is optional if placed within the performance time. We encourage everyone in the combo to improvise.

Procedures for Combos

Each combo will receive 30 minutes for their performance and post-performance clinic. Adjudicators will provide a critique of your performance and provide numerical ratings on a festival adjudication sheet. Directors are not required to provide adjudicators with scores. We prefer our judges to watch and listen, rather than be focused too much on a printed score.

We do ask that each director to:

  1. provide a program guide for the judges. The program guide should list the compositions, composers and/or arrangers, the soloists for each selection, and the entire personnel for the combo.
  2. If your two selections do not require the full thirty-five minutes on stage, we invite the adjudicators to work directly with each combo in a clinic setting. We imagine a 15-20 minute performance (2 tunes), followed by a 15-20 minute clinic.

Community Division Ensemble
Community jazz bands and/or combos are welcome to register and perform at the festival. These bands, selected from across a city or region are now eligible for the Outstanding Big Band and/or Outstanding Combo Awards.

Adjudicators – Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Division and Combo Division
Serving as adjudicators for the Carolina Jazz Festival are the following artists:

  • Rachel Therrien, Trumpet (Guest Artist for 2022 Carolina Jazz Festival)
  • Jerome Jennings, Drums (Sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center)
  • John Reynolds, Orange County School of the Arts, Santa Ana, CA (Sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center)
  • Rahsaan Barber, Saxophone (UNC Jazz Studies, Assistant Professor)
  • Baron Tymas, Guitar (Artist-in-Residence, UNC)
  • Stephen Anderson, Jazz Faculty (piano/composition), Director of Jazz Studies
  • Jason Foureman, Jazz Faculty, bass University of North Carolina
  • Dan Davis, Jazz Faculty, drum set, University of North Carolina

Awards – We will present plaques to the following ensembles:

  • Outstanding High School Jazz Band
  • Outstanding High School Community Jazz Band
  • Overall Outstanding High School Jazz Band (selected from one and two above)
  • Outstanding High School Jazz Combo
  • Outstanding High School Community Jazz Combo
  • A $60 coupon redeemable by Jamey Aebersold Jazz will be presented to each of the 5 ensembles listed above. The judges will also identify Outstanding Soloists and Outstanding Performers during the festival. At the awards ceremony these individuals will be recognized and provided with a certificate signed by the guest artists.

Tentative Schedule for Saturday, February 19, 2022 (16th annual) North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

All EE events to be held in the Kenan Music Building and Hill Hall.

8:30am-Noon   Performances by High School Jazz Bands and Combos
Noon-1:00pm   Lunch
1:00-4:00pm     Performances by High School Jazz Bands and Combos
4:15-4:50pm     Mini-Concert UNC Jazz Band featuring Rachel Therrien
5pm                  Awards Ceremony
8pm                  Theo Croker Quartet, Memorial Hall


Dr. Stephen Anderson, Director of Jazz Studies, Jazz Piano, Composition
Rahsaan Barber, Director of the UNC Jazz Band, Saxophone, Improvisation
Baron Tymas, Artist in Residence, Jazz Guitar
Jason Foureman, Lecturer, Jazz Bass
Dan Davis, Lecturer, Drumset
Dr. Juan Álamo, Associate Professor of Percussion, Jazz Studies


If you have questions about the festival, please contact Dr. Stephen Anderson.

Dr. Stephen Anderson, D.M.A.
Professor, Composition and Jazz Studies (piano)
Director of Jazz Studies
Department of Music, CB #3320
The University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3320
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