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Special Events

Performance Series of Legends

The Performance Series of Legends brands the Ellington concert series, which started in 2006, after our successful benefit concerts held at the Kennedy Center for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Ellington’s first Legends’ performers were alums, Dave Chappelle (’91) and Denyce Graves (’81). Both alumni donated their time and energy to perform before thousands of fans, resulting in tickets and sponsorships for both shows bringing in over $660,000 for Ellington. The net sale proceeds helped save teaching jobs at Ellington and spawned interest from other leading performing artists such as Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Smokey Robinson to support Ellington too. These five performances cumulatively raised $2 million. With the Performance Series of Legends, and other special events, we hope to continue to gain national and international recognition for the school, raise even more funds to support the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and most importantly forge close partnerships with companies and individuals committed to the arts, young people and education as a whole.

Why Become a Sponsor?

What do FedEx, Renaissance Hotels, T-Mobile, Feld Entertainment, The Kennedy Center, The George Washington University and firms like Morgan Lewis, Dickstein Shapiro and Sullivan and Cromwell all have in common? The Duke Ellington School of the Arts! They have all been leading supporters of Duke Ellington by sponsoring the Performance Series of Legends and remain dedicated to investing in DC’s youth. What better way that to give back to your community than through nurturing youth that will shape our future?

The continued success of our students has led to a growing national reputation for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Our students and alumni are routinely chosen to perform in local, national and international venues, including repeated appearances at the White House. After over 40 years in operation, Ellington alumni are now Grammy and Tony-award winners, Emmy-nominated actors and arts administrators for leading arts institutions around the nation. In the Washington metropolitan area alone, there are more than 600 alumni who collectively earn and invest more than $25 million into the local economy. So when you partner with Ellington, you are building your brand with a true Washington institution that cultivates young people that become leading scholars, artists and citizens of our community and the world!

Major Events and Annual Benefits Archive

—2006 Headliner: Dave Chappelle – April 3rd, 2006
—2007 Gala at Hogan Hartson/Warner Theatre – Headliner: Jasmine Guy
—2008 Spring Soiree at Halcyon House – Honoring Barbara and Sid Dickstein
—2009 Headliner: Denyce Graves – February 25, 2009
—2010 Headliner: Stevie Wonder – February 25, 2010
—2011 Headliner: Earth Wind and Fire – February 25, 2011
—2012 Headliner: Smokey Robinson – March 3, 2012
—2013 Headliner: Patti LaBelle- March 25, 2013
—2014 Headliners: Sting & Paul Simon – March 12, 2014
—2015 Headliner: Bobby McFerrin – May 20, 2015
—2016 Evening at Duke’s Place Gala featuring a special performance by El DeBarge – September 30, 2016
—2017 Evening at Duke’s Place Gala featuring special performances by Leonard, Coleman & Blount and Sylver Logan Sharp – September 16, 2017
—2018 Evening at Duke’s Place featuring performances by Brandon Victor Dixon, Rayshun LaMarr, and Roz White – June 16, 2018

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