Staff Report


Jazz lovers are in for a free treat. The nationally acclaimed high school jazz band, The Dillard Jazz Ensemble, which has performed with professional, respected artists like Wynton Marsalis, Lou Donaldson, Rodney Whitaker, Willerm Delisfort, Marquis Hill, Ron Carter, Jeff Clayton, Vincent Gardner and others, will take the stage at ArtsPark at Young Circle on Saturday night for an evening of music under the stars.

Over the years, the program has developed from one to two jazz bands and they have reached a level of skill, style and swing that has earned the program a strong national presence. The band has been under the direction of Christopher Dorsey, director of jazz studies and instrumental music since 2004.

Dorsey has developed the jazz program at Dillard Center for the Arts into one of the premier high school jazz programs in the country. Although it took a break from competing this year, the band has won national competitions, including first place at Swing Central Jazz Competition in 2010, 2011 and 2012; and in 2011 and 2012, first place at the Essentially Ellington jazz band competition.

Swing Central is a part of the annual Savannah Music Festival. Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival is an innovative jazz education event that brings high school musicians from across North America to New York City to spend three days immersed in workshops, jam sessions, rehearsals and performances.