The Dillard Center for the Arts Instrumental Music Program is a public high school program in Ft. Lauderdale, FL that develops student performers into highly accomplished musicians. Since 2004, Christopher Dorsey, Director of Jazz Studies and Instrumental Music, has developed the Jazz Program at Dillard Center for the Arts into one of the premier high school jazz programs in the country. 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 DCA Jazz Ensemble has accomplished some of the following:
- Featured band for the Annual Cannonball Adderley Birthday Concert & Celebration, which takes place each September. The band has performed with Nat Adderley, Jr. and Louis Hayes.
- Each year, the DCA Jazz Ensemble is scheduled for four performances at the City of Hollywood ArtsPark at Young Circle. The ArtsPark Amphitheater features a 60’ x 40’ main stage and lawn seating for 2,500 guests.
- Annual concerts are performed for the residents of Hollybrook (Pembroke Pines) and Wynmoor Village (Coconut Creek).
- Annual Sweet Dillard Jazz Concert held at the Main Theater of Dillard Center for the Arts, which is one of the largest fundraisers for the program.
- The jazz ensemble also participates and performs at the Annual Florida Essentially Ellington Regional Festival that is co-sponsored by Apprentices in Jazz and Jazz at Lincoln Center. The 5 th annual festival will be held at the DCA Main Theater on February 4, 2017.
- The ensemble preforms in the live musical productions by the DCA Theater Department: i.e. Pippin, Dream Girls, the Wiz and Ain’t Misbehavin’ (November 2016). The group was awarded a CAPPY for the Wiz (2015).
- DCA Jazz Ensemble performed w/special guest Dr. Ron McCurdy in Ask Your Mama – 12 Moods for Jazz. (The Langston Hughes Project). This performance was April 16, 2016 and was a multimedia concert performance of Langston Hughes kaleidoscopic jazz poem suite which featured the Ron McCurdy Quartet.
- The DCA Jazz Ensemble was the featured artist at the Pink Tea Event at the Church of the Open Door (May 2016) in Miami, FL. This organization spotlights local and national talent.
- Finalists of the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) with performances at Lincoln Center in New York City with world renowned jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis in 2011 and 2012 as First Place winners.
- December 20, 2013 performance at the 67 th Annual Midwest Clinic, an International Band and Orchestra Conference – Chicago, IL.
- Performed with Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz @ Lincoln Center, at the 66 th Annual Midwest Clinic, an International Band and Orchestra Conference – Chicago, IL – December 20, 2012.
- The 2012, 2011 & 2010 winners of the Swing Central Jazz Competition and Workshop in Savannah, GA.
- Superior ratings with the Florida Band Masters Association twelve consecutive years at the District level and seven years at the State level.
- Several jazz band members selected for participation in Grammy Band, Jazz Band of America, Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, All State Jazz Band and All County Jazz Band.
- DCA Jazz graduates on scholarships to Manhattan School of Music, Julliard, New School of Jazz, University of Miami, Michigan State University and Florida State University.
- Scholarship winners of the Gold Coast Jazz Society (Jeanette M. Russell Scholarship) attended various jazz workshops i. e.: Vail Jazz Workshop, Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony, Centrum Jazz Workshop, Stanford University, Michigan State University, Abersold Jazz Camp and the Apprentices in Jazz Workshop.
The Ensemble has also worked with several well-known and respected artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Lou Donaldson, Rodney Whitaker, Willerm Delisfort, Marquis Hill, Ron Carter, Jeff Clayton, Vincent Gardner, Wycliffe Gordon, Marcus Printup, Chris Crenshaw, Walter Blanding, John Clayton, Gerald Clayton, Ali Jackson, Ted Nash, Brubeck Brothers, Negroni’s Trio and Chico Hamilton.