First Coast Wind Symphony Claims Prestigious Sousa Foundation Award

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Since 1987, the Sousa Foundation annually has been recognizing community concert bands in North America that consistently perform quality music at a high level and contribute significantly to the cultural environment of their community.”

“The Sousa Sudler Award is the most prestigious honor bestowed on a community band in the U.S.” says Artie Clifton, music director and co-founder of the wind symphony.  “We are pleased to be recognized for our efforts to serve as a cultural resource to our community.”

Members of the Sousa Foundation’s Board of Directors will present the trophy to the wind symphony at the May 5, 2024 concert, to be held in JU’s Terry Concert Hall at 7:30pm.

In addition to the Sudler Award, the First Coast Wind Symphony was also named by the American Prize as a 2023 national third place winner in the community band category.  The American Prize, the nation’s most comprehensive series of contests in the classical arts, is designed to evaluate, recognize, and reward the best ensembles in the U.S.

Both awards distinguish the First Coast Wind Symphony as one of the finest performing wind symphonies in the country.

The First Coast Wind Symphony, a 60-member all-volunteer group founded in 1990 and led by music director Artie Clifton and conductor Paul Weikle, provides a cultural service by offering free concerts of quality wind music throughout the greater Jacksonville area.  Programs range from classical to popular band music, marches, chamber music, and new works, some of which are commissioned by the wind symphony.

The wind symphony achieved national recognition after acclaimed performances in 1995, 2003, and 2023 at the national conventions of the Associated of Concert Bands.  It has produced three CDs and a DVD, commissioned new works, established both a guest composer series and a concerto competition for high school musicians.

For more information about the First Coast Wind Symphony, visit





Submitted by: Ann Holt