March 22 2025 FESTIVAL

OUR FESTIVAL

Join us in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on March 22, 2025 to experience a full day of jazz and educational clinics. School ensembles, vocal groups and soloists are allotted a performance time and room where they set up, warm up and perform in front of adjudicators and attendees. Constructive verbal feedback is given following the performance. Each ensemble has the opportunity to perform in either a competitive or non-competitive class.  There are no ratings, however at the end of the evening the top 4 ensembles in each division will be announced at the Award Ceremony.  A full recap sheet of competitive groups will be released at the end of the festival. Non-competitive groups will obviously not be included on that recap.

Educational clinics and school performances are free for all attendees.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE 12/31/2025

FESTIVAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • NJF Performance Code Of Conduct:  As director/school representative, I declare that our school will follow all the National Jazz Festival rules and regulations. We enter the NJF promising to uphold the integrity of the festival and look forward to participation in a fun and fair environment.
  • Canceled event: the NJF reserves the right to cancel the festival due to circumstances related to travel/venue/city restrictions, lack of participation or funding.
  • The NJF will not be liable for any traveling costs associated with a cancellation of the event. We strongly recommend travel insurance for all expenses.
  • Refund Policy: Bands and performers that cancel will receive a refund if the cancellation is received as follows: Refunds will be given if the cancellation for bands or performers is made prior to December 1, 2023. No refund will be given if cancellation for bands or performers is made after that date.
  • Privacy/Images: All individuals participating in any manner in any part of the Festival grant permission to the NJF to take and use: photographs and video images of Festival participants for unlimited use in news releases, advertisement, promotional, or other commercial purposes, including but not limited to web sites or other electronic media without any compensation to the Festival participant. All such photographic and video images, negatives, prints and digital reproductions shall be the property of the NJF.
FESTIVAL GENERAL RULES
  1. All students participating in an ensemble must be from the same school. All-star ensembles from the same district or ensembles comprised of students from more than 1 school in a district will be allowed to perform in the “non-competitive” category.
  2. All ensembles and individuals must be registered by a school director or school official to ensure that the students are in “good standing” with their school and also to ensure that the school is aware of the students’ participation. This includes the “Pop-Capella”, Jazz Vocal Solo, Solo Jazz Piano, and Jazz Composition Categories.
  3. Schools may enter more than one ensemble in each category and each performing group will be placed in the appropriate division by school population.  If a school registers more than one ensemble, those ensembles will be in the same division.  Ensembles will be received in order of registration. For schools that have more than one ensemble however wish not to compete against their own school, they choose to perform in the non-competitive division.
  4. If a school has more than 1 ensemble in a performance category, each ensemble must be comprised entirely by other (different) students. The only exception would be in instrumental ensembles where the student is playing an entirely different instrument in each ensemble.  There are no exceptions in the vocal categories.
  5. All self-reporting of school information, ensemble information, and individual information must be truthful. Ensembles or individuals reporting inaccurate or false information in order to gain a competitive advantage will be disqualified and not allowed to participate in future National Jazz Festivals.
  6. All rules and regulations of each ensemble and individual category must be followed.
CATEGORY RULES
High School & Middle School Large Ensemble & Small Ensemble Rules
  1. Large ensembles must have a minimum of 11 student musicians.
  2. Small ensembles must have a maximum of 10 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 and each performing group will be placed in the appropriate division by school population.  If a school registers more than one ensemble, those ensembles will be in the same division.  Ensembles will be received in order of registration. For schools that have more than one ensemble however who wish not to compete against their own school, can choose to perform in the non-competitive division.
  6. 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.
Vocal Jazz Large Ensemble & Small Ensemble Rules

Vocal Jazz Large & Small Group

  1. Large ensembles must have a minimum of 13 student vocalists.
  2. Small ensembles must have a minimum of 4 student vocalists and a maximum of 12.
  3. Ensembles in the Vocal Jazz – Large and Small Group category may use a student rhythm section (combo) or 1 adult professional on piano only. Directors may not sing along with their ensembles, however, are able to direct their ensembles in the appropriate manner.
  4. 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.
  5. Ensembles in competitive divisions will be placed in divisions by school enrollment.
  6. Schools may enter more than one ensemble in this category and each performing group will be placed in the appropriate division by school population.  If a school registers more than one ensemble, those ensembles will be in the same division.  Ensembles will be received in order of registration. For schools that have more than one ensemble however wish not to compete against their own school, they choose to perform in the non-competitive division.
  7. 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.
Vocal Jazz A Cappella Rules

Vocal Jazz A Cappella

  1. Each ensemble must have a minimum of 4 student vocalists.
  2. Ensembles in the Vocal Jazz – A Cappella category may not use any accompaniment whatsoever. Directors may use a pitch pipe or piano to establish pitches prior to each performance selection.  Directors may not sing along with their ensembles, however, are able to direct their ensembles in the appropriate manner.
  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 and each performing group will be placed in the appropriate division by school population.  If a school registers more than one ensemble, those ensembles will be in the same division.  Ensembles will be received in order of registration. For schools that have more than one ensemble who wish not to compete against their own school, can choose to perform in the non-competitive division.
  6. 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.
Pop-Cappella Rules

Pop-Cappella

  1. Each ensemble must have a minimum of 4 student vocalists.
  2. Ensembles in the “Pop-Cappella” category may not use any accompaniment whatsoever. Directors may use a pitch pipe or piano to establish pitches prior to each performance selection.  Directors may not sing along with their ensembles, however, are able to direct their ensembles in the appropriate manner.
  3. Music selections, quantity of selections, and styles are all at the discretion of the directors, however, there should be a clear pop 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 and each performing group will be placed in the appropriate division by school population.  If a school registers more than one ensemble, those ensembles will be in the same division.  Ensembles will be received in order of registration. For schools that have more than one ensemble who wish not to compete against their own school, can choose to perform in the non-competitive division.
  6. 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.
Jazz Vocal Solo Rules

Jazz Vocal Solo

  1. Students entering the Jazz Vocal Solo Category must be registered by their school director or other school official.
  2. Students will submit their vocal video recordings consisting of 2 vocal selections of varying styles by November 15, 2023. Each selection should not exceed 5 minutes in length.
  3. The top 10 vocalists chosen by the committee will be invited to attend the National Jazz Festival and compete in a live performance setting.
  4. The top 10 students and alternates will be informed of their selection status by December 15, 2023.
  5. Rules and performance selection information will be emailed to the students selected to perform at the National Jazz Festival.
Composition Rules

Composition

  1. Students entering the Jazz Composition Category must be registered by their school director or other school official.
  2. Students will submit their scores in a PDF format and midi or audio recordings in the registration process prior to 12/15/2023.