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Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS -- Performing with music legends Harry Connick, Junior and Branford Marsalis was unforgettable for two young musicians.

Two years after opening, the Ellis Marsalis Center in the Habitat For Humanity Musicians Village is providing music education to 200 students, ages 7 to 18.

'I think it has exceeded what we thought,' said Harry Connick, Jr. 'I mean when Branford and I thought about this, it was just kind of a vague concept.'

'The idea that you have 7- and 8-year-old kids playing clarinet and playing violin and playing piano and playing in orchestras,' added Branford Marsalis.

'I think it is kind of beyond people's expectations, at least that's the way parents communicate to me,' said Ellis Marsalis Center Executive Director Michele Jean-Pierre.

Connick and Branford Marsalis remain committed to New Orleans. They're also looking at the future, especially where music is concerned.

'If they don't support the center, they basically are not supporting the future generations of musicians that will make New Orleans what it is,' Connick said.

'The idea is that we're going to take these kids that have this rich cultural heritage and train them in a way that expands their view of what they know, and expands their view of what they hear. I think it is going to be a really dynamic thing for the city,' Branford Marsalis said.

'Congratulations and thank you, thank you for coming,' Connick told the young performers, adding 'you are making us very proud. You keep doing that, and you're the reason that the legacy is going to continue.'

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