The concern for cultural excellence begins in nurturing and facilitating opportunities for the most talented youth who are creative beyond measure. In our nations 233rd year, Power Source commends the corporate officers, staff and students of Duke Ellington for engineering a fountainhead that will continue to make major contributions to the future of American artistic cultural excellence. Only a few miles away from the Ellington school, President Theodore Roosevelt would ride his horse through an 8 year old Duke Ellington’s neighborhood and watch him and his friends play baseball. One hundred and ten years later, Duke Ellington is remembered as the 20th century’s most accomplished composer, band leader and pianist. He is the namesake for this institution because of his embodiment of form, creativity, passion and longevity.
Culture is defined as “the quality in a society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, and scholarly pursuits”. The diversity of professional excellence of the Ellington school is its greatest accomplishment; every area of the global arts has been touched by its graduates. Boasting a 98% graduation rate, over 30 years of operational distinction has produced hundreds of notable alumni. Ellington graduates are among the most accomplished artists, music directors, choreographers, teachers, filmmakers, and theatre directors in the world. Graduate Chris Bacon was just nominated for a Grammy. Graduates like comedian/actor Dave Chappelle, opera singer Denise Graves, and Dr. Schroeder Cherry, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Museum Library Services, demonstrate that the Ellington experience engineers leaders within each sphere of the arts. Judith Jameson, the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, recently mused about how many Ellington alumnae had become members of the Ailey Company, one of the most acclaimed examples of American dance culture around the world.
The talents of Ellington graduates over the past three decades have had an enormous influence on the growth of Washington culture. While there is always a debate on funding of art education in America as well as crippling fluctuations with nonprofit budgets, the Ellington organization has never let any economic turbulence interrupt its mission to provide artistic talent to the world. This feat of flourishing through 8 economic recessions inculcates the world class leadership and administration of the school.
By definition, artistic culture should actualize excellence. As our city is looked to for the embodiment of the American ideal, Power Source declares the Duke Ellington School as pivotal to engineering the cultural influence of our nation’s future. The Obama presidency has brought with it an increased focus on arts in the District, Ellington Jazz and Vocal students have performed six times at White House events in the last year as well as twice at the Vice President’s residence. Additionally, the schools leadership has made a commitment to increase the number of productions that are staged for other schools and the community at large.
The foundation of the building was originally a civil war hospital. The Ellington School building will soon be completing a major renovation in 2012. Beyond this, the leaders of the Ellington School are preparing the Ellington Fund to develop a new multi-million dollar endowment that will make the Ellington school world renowned for its increased output of talent and cultural contributions. The future of the school includes a state of the art expanded campus that will encompass a resident repertory theater, dance company, a year round pre-high school program, as well as a department of film, video and digital media.
The Ellington School has strong, relationship driven strategic partnerships with the Kennedy Center, George Washington University, and other leading cultural institutions in Washington DC. These alliances ensure that Ellington’s progress keeps apace with and greatly increases the cultural growth of our city.
One of Stevie Wonders iconic baby grand pianos is used every day in the recording studio of the Ellington School. As the First Lady’s favorite musician, Mr. Stevie Wonder is making a high profile trip to the nation’s capital to perform a special concert at the Kennedy Center Thursday, February 25th at 7:30 PM for the benefit of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. This event is the beginning of a new era for the school, as its visionary leadership set their sights on another 30 years of progressive and accomplished operations.
Our nation is very young, yet our culture is held in high esteem at every corner of the globe. The future of Washington is not only one of political and financial power, but also one of an artistic culture that will rival any city. Washington Life readers value and lead a lifestyle rich in art and culture. The noblest aspect of that culture is patronizing and supporting institutions that shape the future according to high standards of excellence and cultural influence. The Power Source encourages you and your neighbors to attend the Stevie Wonder benefit concert as well as regularly and generously contribute to the Ellington Fund for a new long term endowment. It is in the hallways of institutions like Ellington that the foundations of the next great American renaissance are taking form. With the highest ranking of financial management from Charity Navigator, the Ellington Fund should be at the top of your list when you decide to share and or bequeath your financial blessings.
To purchase tickets for the Stevie Wonder benefit concert visit: http://www.ellingtonschool.org/stevie/
To learn more about making a contribution to the Ellington Fund, visit: http://www.ellingtonschool.org/donate/index.html