Senior Jazz Orchestra represents Australia

Blackburn High Schools’ Senior Jazz Orchestra will join jazz supremo Wynton Marsalis when they become the first band in the southern hemisphere to participate at this year’s Essentially Ellington competition in New York City.

The most prestigious event of its type in the world, Essentially Ellington is celebrating its 25th anniversary and would normally be staged live at Lincoln Centre, but has taken the opportunity to move to an online festival during COVID.

Recognised as one of Australia’s leading music programs, Blackburn High School received an invite as schools closed across Victoria. Led by Mr Andrew O’Connell, the Senior Jazz Orchestra, have been distance learning and recording new pieces to prepare their submission since. They will present their performance as part of the festival on June 12. More information can be found at

At a time when so many opportunities have vanished, this group of young musicians are grasping theirs on the world stage.