Roosevelt High Senior Selected to Play in Grammy Band

Dec 9, 2013

Roosevelt High School senior John Otten discovered the trumpet as a fourth grader.

"I thought, 'It’s only three valves. It wouldn’t be that hard. I bet I could do it,”’ he said.

Turned out, it was hard; he couldn’t even get a sound out that first month.

Fast forward eight years, and Otten is headed to the Grammys as the only student from the Pacific Northwest selected for the Grammy Band Jazz Session program.

He and 31 other students will fly down to Los Angeles in January where they’ll record an album, attend the Grammy Awards and perform at an after-party as part of a program hosted by Grammy Foundation.

Otten's selection continues a long tradition of recognition for high school jazz programs in the Puget Sound.

Students from high schools from all over the state have been selected for the program over the years. That includes Roosevelt, where Otten plays lead trumpet in the jazz band.

"We have a real strong culture of jazz music and what we like to think of as good teaching,” said Scott Brown, who directs Roosevelt High’s jazz band. “So John has always been around that, and he’s been motivated by that from the time he was a young boy.”

Otten’s honors include Outstanding Soloist Awards at the Essentially Ellington competition and festival, considered to the best more prestigious high school jazz band competition in the U.S.

Otten will be part of the Roosevelt High School jazz band that's going after selection into the festival in 2014. Roosevelt has won more top honors at Ellington than any other high school in the country.