Slideshow 1
Slideshow Overlay

Student Spotlight

Sabrina Sabahi, a Senior in the Technical Design & Production Department, has made the World Languages Department proud by being awarded the Maria Wilmeth Award conferred to a high school student of Italian who has demonstrated excellence in the language. She was one of the guests of honor at the gala hosted by the Italian Cultural Society of Washington DC on October 14, 2021, and was given a check for scholarship as a prize.

Ellington alum Shaylin Watson (Class of 2015, Dance) was recently highlighted for her performance this weekend. From October 21-23, the legendary choreographer Ronald K. Brown and his dance company EVIDENCE are teaming up with legendary musician Meshell Ndegeocello to put together live, dynamic performances of his choreographies “Mercy,” “Grace” and “The Equality of Night and Day: First Glimpse” — all held within the Kennedy Center.

Ronald K. Brown is one of the most renowned choreographers of our generation. He’s known for his seamless blend of modern Black dance forms with traditional African movement vocabularies, with his work displaying all facets of human nature — love, tragedy, resilience, loss and more.

Brown, along with EVIDENCE, will be presenting “Mercy,” along with the two other pieces. “Mercy” is his collaboration with D.C. native Meshell Ndegeocello — a groundbreaking musician whose artistry is genuinely difficult to define. Her solo work bends and wraps genre, with attempted definitions falling somewhere around a combination of neo-soul, jazz, funk, among others. Click here for the full article.

Literary Media & Communications sophomore Saquoya Gorham joined President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, and the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities invite institution leaders, faculty, students, and supporters to the 2021 National HBCU Week Conference that was held virtually September 7-10th. The annual National HBCU Week Conference is the nation’s premier convening of key influencers in the HBCU space. The conference featured special performances by the 105 Voices of History HBCU National Choir with The United States Navy Band and student poet, Saquoya Gorham, 10th-grade student at Duke Ellington School for the Arts. Click here for the full article.

Class of 2021 alum, Makiyah Hicks and Jonetta Harrison (Technical Design and Production) in front of their high school, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, in Washington, D.C. They are finalists in this year’s NPR Student Podcast Challenge for their entry “Loss and Transformation.” TDP Faculty Member, Thom Woodward oversaw the podcast production and is also featured. Click here for the full article.

Anthony Anderson (Class of 2016) Cantate’s inaugural Young Artist of Color, together with pianist Michael Crabill (Ellington Faculty), presents a stunning program of art songs and spirituals, including Beethoven’s complete cycle “An die Ferne Geliebte,” Vaughan Williams’ “Songs of Travel,” and works by Carlos Simon, Margaret Bonds, Leslie Adams, Moses Hogan, and more. Cantate Chamber Singers is thrilled to emerge from hibernation with a cameo performance of Undine Smith Moore’s “We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace.” The event is this Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 5pm at Bethesda Presbyterian Church. Buy your tickets here.

Vocal Music’s Mellow Tones performed on a CNN graduation special May 23, with keynote speaker Vice President Kamala Harris, and showed the nation Ellington magic!

The Washington Nationals welcomed nearly 9,000 fans on May 25. Senior Sean Polk sang the national anthem, but the Nats failed to replicate his winning performance.

Instrumental Music students performed last week during an event for the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. The performers were Jose Montano-Baina on piano and members of the Radical Elite drumline: Jabulani Clay on quads; Gavin Ferguson on cymbals; Rain Graham on bass drum; and Karl Kittleson on snare drum.

A podcast from Technical Design & Production seniors Jonetta Harrison, Makiyah Hicks, and Anna Wells has been selected among 15 high school finalists in the 2021 NPR Student Podcast Challenge!

The trio was among students from 47 states and DC who submitted more than 2,600 podcasts. They spent the last few months like NPR professionals – recording interviews, editing tape, creating home studios, and reading their stories into a microphone.

Topics included climate change, sibling drama, and the challenges of school and life in the pandemic. The TDP students’ self-produced podcast – featuring music by Instrumental Music junior Elijah Woodward – is titled “Loss and Transformation.” They spoke with three family surviving members of victims of gun violence. Judges will select two grand-prize winners, whose podcasts will air on NPR. For full list of finalists, click here.

Instrumental Music junior Sammy Rabinowitz was featured recently in Washington Jewish Week. The article describes how Sammy started playing drums at 4 and “hasn’t missed a beat since. He’s a member of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington and a former student at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. Along the way he picked up the piano, mallet percussion and drums, and helped found the band Dark Trilobite. To read more, click here.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month! The artist depicted on the official 2021 poster is pianist, singer, songwriter, storyteller and civil rights activist Nina Simone. And the artist who depicted her on the poster is Visual Arts sophomore Naa Anyele Sowah-De Jesus! To learn more about Simone and JAM, click here.

Thirteen Instrumental Music students won scholarships to Washington Adventist University last month! The awards were based on their recorded submissions of “He’s Got the World in His Hands” as part of WAU’s Virtual-Oso MusicFest.

Megan Jones, Jackson Grant, Rosemary Sellers, Jose Montanto, Zarina Lewis, Wend Pitroipa, Lor’ren Littlejohn, David Marsh, Jodie Kaberia, Santiago Duran, Sofia Smith, Han Binkholder, and Eliora Brown-Egue won four-year scholarships ranging from $2,000-$6,000 per year.

Awards were announced during the event’s last performance, which aired on Facebook.

During a Women’s History Month event last week sponsored by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Vocal Music junior Nia Alsop sang “Superwoman,” by Alicia Keys. Nia begins at the 15:28 mark.

Congratulations to Theatre freshman Willow Singleton for winning the American Legion Oratorical Contest (DC Division) and to fellow Theatre freshman Ruby Garritano for placing second!

Each student had to prepare an 8- to 10-minute speech on any Article or Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Then they had to be prepared to deliver a 3- to 5-minute speech on one of four assigned topics, selected at the competition.

Willow won a $5,000 academic scholarship sponsored by the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation and The American Legion in recognition of her achievement as DC’s 2021 oratorical champion. Ruby will be awarded scholarship money as well.

Congratulations to Literary Media & Communication junior Mikayah Lee for making a film that’s been selected to the 9th annual Bethesda Film Festival! One of two high school filmmakers in the festival, Mikayah produced her film – “You Think You Know Me” – as a music video to accompany a song of the same title by Instrumental Music junior Sam Rabinowitz.

“I was asked to create the video and I wasn’t exactly sure what to make,” Mikayah says. “But after listening to the song, and understanding the messages of equality, empowerment, and unity, I was moved and clear about what needed to be shown visually. I hope this video encourages people across the world to come together, stand up for what you believe in, call out the racism and injustices, and do everything you can to ensure we have real change in our country. Until we do that, we won’t solve these problems.”

To view the festival’s seven films, click here. To register for viewing a discussion with the filmmakers at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 16, click here. Viewing the films and attending the discussion are free!

Congratulations to Museum Studies faculty and seniors Jamari Basabe, Armiya Farooq, Mailah Graham-Bond, Kenia Hernandez, Iyanna Morgan, Sahara Porter, Jasmine Reid, Natalia Rodriguez, Jasmine Smith, Diara Stubbs, and Falōin Williams for their wonderful virtual exhibition, “Expressions.” It provides a visual memory of the seniors’ final year at Ellington, and a glimpse of what they’ll carry into the future.

Department Chair Marta Reid Stewart heard from an arts professional who wrote: “These works represent excellence! Very high quality and competitive with anyone in the visual field! Different voices. Different perspectives. Different challenges. So reminiscent of today’s challenges in America.”

To view the exhibition at the Ellington Arts Museum, click here.