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Dee Spencer: An All Star Gig

Josh Harris • Archives • March 1, 2003

During its first year of existence, the SF Jazz All-Star High School Ensemble catapulted onto the national jazz education scene, landing a spot among 15 finalists in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Competition.

Director Dianthe “Dee” Spencer had every confidence in the abilities of the high school musicians drawn from 16 cities in the San Francisco Bay area to comprise the ensemble; she just hadn’t expected national recognition to come so soon.

Dee Spencer“I didn’t even leave that weekend free on my calendar – that was my level of shock,” recalls Spencer, an established jazz educator, performer and director. “Needless to say, I had to do some scrambling because I had a tour set for myself that conflicted with the Essentially Ellington performance in New York. I had to clear my calendar so I could make that gig.”

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