Education, Music, People, The Features

A Look From The Inside: Duke Ellington School for the Arts

Photo courtesy of
‘Clouds rise from Duke Ellington School’
courtesy of ‘randomduck’

The Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington, D.C. boasts a 98 percent graduation rate in a public school district that only graduates 56 percent of its students on time. It is also the only dual curriculum program on the public high school level that attracts students from the entire D.C. metro area.

The school, founded in 1974, provides professional arts training and college preparation to talented D.C. public school students. Each student takes a full academic course-load and, additionally, majors in one of eight arts disciplines (Dance, Literary Media, Museum Studies, Instrumental or Vocal Music, Theater, Technical Design and Production, and Visual Arts), according to its website.

What makes this academic institution a success is its ability to fulfill the school’s proposed mission, to “give an artistic and academic opportunity to students who otherwise wouldn’t have this kind of unique opportunity.”

An Ellington education is no easy feat. Students have longer school days than the average D.C.P.S. student. Ellington holds classes until 5 p.m. every day. Ellington has two staffs: arts and academics. The respective faculties engage Ellington’s creative students with a curriculum that requires 34 percent more credits than other D.C. high schools.

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Entertainment, Music, The Features, We Love Arts

The Washington Performing Arts Society Presents: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis


Photo by Rachel Levitin

Jazz – and Country/Bluegrass – are the dominant proprietors of modern “Made in America” music and that’s something worth holding on to. In its inception, Jazz defined an era of youth during tumultuous times. That was its claim to fame. That’s what got it notice. That’s what shot it to the forefront of popular culture during World War II.

Jazz defined an era of uncertainty. It ushered in a voice for the speechless. It provided a musical and mental solace for people who wanted to feel something beyond a war being fought or a job lost or anything besides the monotony of their daily routine. Jazz was the sanctuary and swing was the medium. Throw in a little Blues for a cherry-on-top flourish and by golly you’ve got yourself a true American portrait – an American testimonial.

If Jazz was personified, its equivalent would be akin to the likes of the always effervescent, charismatic, and talented Louis Armstrong. The New Orleans trumpet player, born in 1901, wasn’t the first Jazz trumpet player in the history books but he is an icon of the genre. Wynton Marsalis is a Louis Armstrong for the new millennium. Continue reading