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IN THE NEWS: Local band to 'Duke' it out in N.Y. competition


  A San Diego magnet school that specializes in theater and the arts has something people can be truly jazzed about.

Like Little Leaguers headed to the national playoffs, the school’s jazz ensemble has earned the right to compete at New York’s Lincoln Center in the prestigious Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition this May.

The School of Creative and Performing Arts’ jazz ensemble is one of 15 bands in the country, and the only one from California, on the invitation list. An amazing feat for a band less than four years old at a Title I school that attracts many low-income students from throughout the county.

Many of these young musicians can’t afford private lessons or music coaches. Some play on borrowed instruments. A two-hour round-trip commute to school is not unusual. One student boards a bus at 5:30 a.m. to arrive by 7:15 a.m., when school starts, said John Reynolds, SCPA music director who leads the ensemble.