HIGH POINT, NC -- The 2020 Student Essay Contest sponsored by the Friends of John Coltrane is open and accepting entries. The contest offers middle and high school student musicians an opportunity to win a brand new instrument.

The Friends of John Coltrane is the non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that produces the annual John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival.

Each year winners are presented with their prize instruments on stage during the festival and receive words of advice and encouragement from one of the world-renowned jazz artists who is there to perform. To date almost 100 instruments have been awarded to aspiring student musicians at a retail value of over $135,000.

To enter, students must explain what music means in their lives, which instrument they would like to win, and how a new instrument would help them achieve their goals. To simplify the process and make it more accessible, students can choose one of the three following options to submit an entry:

1. Upload Video Option - record and upload video responses.

2. Direct Link Written Option – Upload a 100-250 word, typed, double spaced written essay, with a photo.

3. Written Option – Mail a 100-250 word, typed, double spaced written essay with a photo to:

Student Essay Contest, c/o Friends of John Coltrane, P.O. Box 2392, High Point, NC 27261.

To upload videos or use the direct link option, go to the festival website under “Student Contest” at www.coltranejazzfest.com. All submissions must be received by July 25, 2020. Only students enrolled in a North Carolina middle or high school are eligible to participate.

For the first seven years of the festival only Alamance, Guilford and Forsyth county school students were eligible to compete for prizes. The contest area was expanded in 2018 to include all 100 North Carolina counties. Organizers hope to increase the number of entries from around the state in 2020, the 10th year the festival has been held.

Contest winners will be presented with their new instruments on stage during the second day of the 10th Annual John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival. The festival will be Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 5- 6, 2020 in Oak Hollow Festival Park, High Point, NC. The prizes are made possible by Bill Banks, Joe Williams, and KHS America, Inc., an instrument manufacturer along with local sponsors.

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