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Foxborough, Lexington jazz bands compete at Lincoln Center

Jazz ensemble trumpeters Morgan Milender (left) and Brenden Johnson rehearsed at Foxborough High.
Jazz ensemble trumpeters Morgan Milender (left) and Brenden Johnson rehearsed at Foxborough High.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

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Jazz ensembles from Lexington High and Foxborough High are among 15 finalists in this year’s “Essentially Ellington” competition, which begins May 10 at New York’s Lincoln Center. Founded in 1996, the three-day, student-oriented jazz festival honors Duke Ellington, one of America’s greatest composers and band leaders, and features Wynton Marsalis as host, with musical support by Jazz at Lincoln Center band members.

Officials describe this year’s competition as among the most intense ever.

“Going to the Super Bowl of [high school] jazz competitions is a big deal,” said Lexington High performing arts coordinator Jeffrey Leonard, whose musicians have made the finals four times previously. The competition annually attracts the most talented and polished high school jazz bands in the United States and Canada.

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