Ends on February 8, 2019

The High School Jazz Program awards three grant awards to high school musicians through the performance of original, creative, and spontaneously improvised jazz music. Awards include $1,500 (first place), $1,250 (second place), and $750 (third place), as well as two $250 Honorable Mention awards. The program includes a two-tiered jury process, with preliminary auditions held at the Union League Club of Chicago, and final round auditions held during the 2019 Jazz Finals at Buddy Guy's Legends on Thursday, March 7, 2019.

Eligibility and Guidelines

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be enrolled in high school
  • Live within 150 miles of the Chicago Loop

Preliminary Auditions

In addition to completing the application, applicants will schedule a preliminary audition online from the list of available audition dates. Audition time slots are granted on a first come first serve basis and are not guaranteed until you receive email confirmation from Luminarts. When you successfully submit your application you will receive an email confirmation that contains a link to schedule your audition online. 

Auditions will be held at the Union League Club of Chicago, located at 65 West Jackson Boulevard in Chicago. High school finalists will be determined based on preliminary auditions and will advance to the final round of judging and perform during the 2019 Jazz Finals at Buddy Guy's Legends on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 5 p.m.

The Union League Club of Chicago has a strict business casual policy. No jeans or gym shoes may be worn by applicants or their guests throughout the Club.

Preliminary Audition Dates:

  • Monday, February 18, 2019
  • Tuesday, February 19, 2019
  • Wednesday, February 20, 2019
  • Thursday, February 21, 2019

Audition Guidelines:

  • Applicants will be limited to a ten (10) minute time slot, which includes setup and take down
  • Applicants will improvise one (1) blues piece and one (1) composition of their choice. Vocalists should include words and skat in their performance. Drummers will sight read a jazz standard with appropriate fills and solos
  • Applicants will be judged by the originality and creativity of their spontaneous improvisation
  • A professional accompanist (piano) will be provided for the audition (Do not bring your own accompanist)
  • Applicants must bring lead sheets for the accompanist
  • Applicants should demonstrate knowledge and respect for the melody, and accuracy of improvising chord changes

Notice to Guitarists and Drummers:

An amplifier and a drum set will be provided by Luminarts for those auditioning with a guitar or percussion. Please bring any additional equipment you need for the audition.

Cancelling/Rescheduling Auditions:

Please keep the email confirmation you receive after booking your audition. Applicants may cancel or reschedule an existing audition online by using the appropriate links located in that confirmation email. Applicants may only cancel or reschedule auditions online until Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 9 a.m. CST. After that time you must call the Foundation at (312) 435-5961 to cancel. Any applicant who is a no call/no show to a scheduled audition without previously cancelling their audition will be disqualified from any future Luminarts programs.

Warm-Up Room Information:

While warm-up space cannot be  guaranteed, Luminarts will make every effort possible to provide a  warm-up space for applicants who are auditioning in jazz or classical  music programs. Applicants who wish to use warm-up space are required to  arrive 30 minutes before their scheduled audition time, and must check  in to the audition registration area prior to using the room. Applicants  will have ten (10) minutes to warm-up, approximately 20 minutes before  the scheduled audition time. This will allow enough time to return to  the registration area 10 minutes prior to the scheduled audition. For  example, if your audition is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. you must arrive by 6  p.m. to check in, and will have warm-up space available from 6:10—6:20  p.m., then returning to registration for your audition to begin at 6:30  p.m. Applicants are not allowed to swap warm-up times with each other or  remain in the warm-up space longer than 10 minutes without prior  approval from Luminarts.

After the Audition:

You will be notified no later than 6 p.m. CST on Monday, February 25, 2019 regarding whether or not you have been selected as a high school finalist to perform during the 2019 Jazz Finals at Buddy Guy's Legends on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Please do not contact Luminarts before 6 p.m. on Monday, February 25, 2019 regarding your status as a high school finalist.

If you are selected to perform at the Jazz Finals at Buddy Guy's Legends you will be asked to perform two (2) different selections from the pieces you performed during your audition, and the requirements are the same; one (1) blues piece, and one (1) composition of your choice.

After Submitting Your Application

Follow the instructions listed in the confirmation email you receive immediately after submitting your application. This will include details for scheduling your audition. If you do not receive a confirmation email immediately after submitting your application please check your spam/junk filter and settings. If you still have not received a confirmation email immediately after submitting your application please contact the Foundation.

While applicants may reapply to the High School Jazz Program annually, they are only eligible to receive the First Place award once.

For questions about eligibility visit our FAQs page or contact Luminarts at info@luminarts.org or (312) 435-5961,

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, February 8, 2019 11:59 p.m. CST.