Middle Schools

2020 Festival Rules


  1. Middle School Large Ensembles may apply by submitting a their registration and performance videos. The designated top 10 Middle School Large Ensembles will be invited to perform live and compete at the National Jazz Festival.  Selected ensembles will be notified by December 6th.  Selected Middle School Ensembles must follow all the performance rules below.
  2. Each ensemble must have a minimum of 12 student musicians.
  3. Music selections, quantity of selections, and styles are all at the discretion of the directors, however there should be a clear jazz influence. It is not mandatory, however varied styles/selections are suggested.  Our adjudicators want to see what you do well and how much you can do well!  The only limitation is the 20 minutes of performance time allotted for each group.
  4. Ensembles in competitive divisions will be placed in divisions by school enrollment.
  5. Schools may enter more than one ensemble in this category. The school’s “top” or “highest level” performing group will be placed in the appropriate division by school population.  Each additional ensemble from the school will be placed in the next lower competitive division.  If there is not a lower competitive division, the additional ensemble may perform in the non-competitive division.
  1. Each ensemble will have exactly 25 minutes to set-up and warm-up. At the end of the 25-minute warm-up session, the ensemble will be introduced to the audience and adjudicators to begin their performance.
  2. Each ensemble will have exactly 20 minutes of performance time. Each ensemble will be timed from the first note of their first performance selection until the final cut-off of their final performance selection.  Ensembles may not “restart” their performance for any reason.  Once the clock starts it will continue to run.  The 20 minutes of performance time is finite.  Any ensemble exceeding the 20-minute performance time will be automatically disqualified.  A timing of 19:59 or 20:00 is acceptable, however a time of 20:01 is not.
  3. Following your ensemble’s verbal critique, you will have exactly 5 minutes to remove all your belongings from the performance area. Taking longer than 5 minutes may lead to disqualification.