Not so long ago, I played in my high school's jazz band, and we took a trip to Seattle one year to perform a jazz competition. While we were there, we saw a bunch of Seattle-area high schools perform, and quite frankly, I was stunned. While my band sounded exactly like we should have--in other words, like a bunch of high schoolers from just outside of Vancouver, Wash.--the locals might as well have been professional musicians. (The video I've posted is a few years old, but it's a good example of the high level of musicianship that's common among Seattle-area ensembles.) It was a humbling experience, to say the least.
One of the bands I saw that day was the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band, who will be performing alongside the Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Band at 7 p.m. tonight at Town Hall Seattle to kick off the 21st annual Earshot Jazz Festival. Both bands placed in the top three this year at New York's prestigious Essentially Ellington competition, which Roosevelt has been invited to 12 of the past 16 years. If you go tonight, there's a good chance you'll be saying the same thing that I did: "I can't believe these kids are in high school."