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Jefferson Co. jazz band wins top honor

May 03, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Jefferson Jazz Emsemble, which has received top awards through the years, won first place in a national competition in Branson, Mo., last weekend.

The jazz ensemble performed before a live audience in the 1,600-seat Bobby Vinton Theater, home of the Glen Miller Orchestra, to take the top prize in the competition, according to band Director Robert Perks.

The 22-member group performed such numbers as "Big Swing Face," "Lover Man" and "Blues for Uncommon Kids" to beat high schools from Oklahoma and Idaho in the final round, said Perks.

The Branson National Jazz Competition was an invitational contest, meaning bands had to be invited to compete. Only one band from each state could enter the contest, said Perks.

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The Jefferson Jazz Ensemble flew to Branson and competed in the finals Saturday.

The Jefferson Jazz Ensemble has been described as one of the most successful bands of its kind in the state.

The band once shared the stage with the Beach Boys at the national Fourth of July celebration in Washington, D.C., performed at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and once played before the state Legislature.

In 1991, the group was given accolades Down Beat, a national jazz magazine.

"They've done some pretty remarkable things in the past," said Perks.

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