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Youth Jazz Ensemble of DuPage

YJED makes finals of 2024 Essentially Ellington jazz band competition!



YJED has been selected as one of the 15 finalists for the 2024 competition, to be held at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Manhattan in May.

YJED is the 1st Chicago area high school jazz band to be invited since 2015. (YJED also competed in 2001, and in 2008 won its division)


This year's competition, which celebrates Duke Ellington's 125th birthday, drew more than 100 bands nationwide. These bands were judged and selected based on live recordings submitted of three tunes from the Essentially Ellington library.  The competition in May will be judged by top jazz musicians, including Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center Wynton Marsalis.

We have begun fundraising via GoFundMe to help support these musicians travel and lodging in NYC (yes, it's expensive!).  Please visit our GoFundMe site (press the Donate button at left) to support Chicagoland's representative in the Essentially Ellington competition!

2024 Spring Concert date moved to May 5


We've had to make some changes, and our concert date has moved from April 27 to May 5 at 7:00pm. It will be held at Thulin Auditorium in the Thompson Center of Judson University in Elgin. Google Maps Link

Congratulations to our members selected for ILMEA

Each year, the Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) auditions and selects a limited number the top high school musicians to perform in an All-State band at its annual Illinois Music Educators Conference.

This year, 22 of our YJED members were chosen to be part of this select group!  And 6 of those were picked to be in the All-State Jazz Combo, which is the most elite group of Illinois high school jazz musicians.   Join us in congratulating all these fine musicians!

Released - Begin the Beguine - the 2022-23 YJED Album
2024 Beguine.jpg

We are excited to announce our 2022-23 YJED Album recorded this past May.  We were honored to have both our featured guest artists, Roger Ingram and Matt Shevitz featured on two songs each along with some of our best and favorite charts over the past year.  This continues our annual tradition of not only recording with the best Pro musicians, but also working in a Pro studio with Pro engineers

Learn more about the album or go directly to Bandcamp to hear it!

And - if you are considering auditioning next year and you want to hear what this band is about, the album is available for FREE!  So check it out, and if you want to play in a group like this, click on the "About Auditions" tab to learn about how to audition for YJED next year!


So what is the story with YJED???
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Well, we have a whole tab "About YJED" with a lot of details, and yeah you probably should go there and take a look at the details...but here's the short version:

  • YJED members get to play with the best high school musicians in DuPage County and surrounding areas.  20+ high schools...but only 5 trumpets, 5 bones, 5 saxes and one rhythm section.  You do the math.

  • You get to play pro-level music.  That's what you can do when you have a section full of 1st chair players selected from 20+ high schools.

  • You get to play at cool places (hopefully). COVID makes it hard to make promises, but the last couple full seasons YJED had on the calendar The Jazz Showcase, Fitzgerald's, Fulton Street Collective,   Plus ILMEA and downtown Chicago gigs.  And, by the way, a couple of concerts.

  • You get to play with great featured artists.  Pros like Victor Garcia, Chris Madsen, and Roger Ingram who have played with the best in the world, and who will push you to step up your game...seriously. 

  • And you get to make a pro-level recording, in a pro-level studio, with a featured artist or two.  Laying down the best charts of the year, engineered by industry guys who do this for a living.  Many of our alumni say this is the most memorable part of YJED.

So, if you want details, go to the "About YJED" tab. 

Enough with the words...what does YJED sound like?

You can click onto our "Video" tab to see and hear a number of performances.  Or  go to the "About YJED" tab, and click through to three of our recordings under "Selected Recent Discography"

But right here are links to a few videos of us (new window will open):

YJED year-end recording - Support through GoFundMe


After our last concert, in May the band (as it typically does) will troop  down to Transient Sound to lay down a recording with the best of their season's songs. GoFundMe donations help to fund studio time, plus the sound mixing and mastering, and production still in process.

Click on the yellow "Donate via GoFundMe" button for more details and to make a donation electronically.  


If you prefer to donate by check, make the check payable to “Youth Jazz Ensemble of DuPage” and mail it to the YJED Treasurer at YJED c/o Jenz Law Office, 124 S. County Farm Road, Suite C, Wheaton IL 60187. (Make sure your name and address is on the check to receive a tax deduction receipt). Thanks!

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