Congressman Alcee L. Hastings made the following statement on May 18, 2012, congratulating the Dillard Center for the Arts Jazz Ensemble for winning the Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition and Festival:

M. Speaker, I rise today to honor the Dillard Center for the Arts Jazz Ensemble of Fort Lauderdale, Florida for their continued achievements and excellence, in winning of the Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition and Festival, for two consecutive years.

In addition to these back-to-back championships, the Jazz Ensemble in 2012 also took second place in the "Essentially Ellington" competition. Furthermore, they won first place at the "Swing Central" jazz competition in Savannah, Georgia in both 2011 and 2010.

Unlike many other programs which have ample resources and funding, private donations are scarce to Dillard's Jazz Ensemble. Therefore, these students' achievements go beyond their musical talent but also speak to their dedication to perform and compete through fundraising to support their own program.

This resolve proves there are no limits to the creative spirit of Dillard's Jazz Ensemble and there are no limits to the success that these students can achieve. I would like to take this opportunity to honor the 26 members of the band as well as Jazz Ensemble director Christopher Dorsey, all of which have contributed to this program's continued successes. Members of Dillard's Jazz Ensemble are: Liza Honorat, Shanice Richards, Ben Stocker, Christian Cummings, Markus Howell, Demonn Sands, Johnathan Hainsworth, Kirby Fellis, Cameron Fegers, Jordan Davis, Sam Gellerstein, Max Boiko, Christian Dorsey, Anthony Hervey, Bryan McCall, Armando Zamora, Zach Auslander, Anthony Morrison, Zach McKinney, Charlie Steiner, Sydney Henry, Russell Hall, Sean Blair, Jake Ricke, Akeem Green, and Eric German.

Dillard High School was founded in the early twentieth century with funds from noted philanthropist James Hardy Dillard. The music program at Dillard High School gained fame when the legendary Julian "Cannonball" Adderley served as an instructor of applied music in the 1940's. To this day, the school still focuses on the performing arts and music, serving as a Performing Arts and Technology magnet school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Both Mr. Dillard and Mr. Adderley would be very proud to see the accomplishments of the program today.

M. Speaker, I am extremely proud of these young musicians. I wish them all the best in their future endeavors, and wish Dillard's jazz program continued success. It is an honor to give the Dillard Center for the Arts Jazz Ensemble the recognition it rightly deserves.

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