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Marsalis hands out jazz band award

May 15, 2011 at 10:45 AM

NEW YORK, May 15 (UPI) -- The first place trophy in the 16th Annual Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition and Festival in New York City went to a Florida school, officials said.

Musician Wynton Marsalis announced Fort Lauderdale, Florida's Dillard Center for the Arts as the winner of the competition at the Lincoln Center in New York City Saturday, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. The school came in second in last year's festival, which is held every May.

"It just lets everyone know that the program is one of the better programs in the country," said band director Christopher Dorsey. "It's an accomplishment in my life."

Dillard won $5,000 and a trophy for its first-place finish. Fifteen bands from across the nation competed in the event.

"I felt like we were unbeatable," said Dillard bass player Russell Hall. "It was magic."

"This is like the ultimate senior gift," Dillard saxophone player Brandon Lubin said.

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