Duke Ellington School of the Arts Show Choir to Perform During Opening Ceremonies at DisCon III

Duke Ellington School of the Arts Show Choir of Washington DC will perform at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, Wednesday, December 15, during the Opening Ceremonies at DisCon III at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington DC. Ellington students will also learn about the technical side of conventions by working with the DisCon III Tech Team.

“I was a theater kid, and as soon as I learned about the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, I knew we needed to have them involved as a true expression of D.C. We are thrilled that the students will join us both on stage and behind the scenes. The show choir’s performance will be the highlight of the Opening Ceremonies. I’m just as excited that we’re embedding their tech students with our tech team. They’ll be gaining practical knowledge as they help us present a great con.” said Mary Robinette Kowal, chair of DisCon III.

“The students will spend the week getting real-world experience at an out-of-this-world event. They are hands-on and are fully a part of the DisCon III tech team,” said Robin Y Harris, who teaches at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. “The students are thrilled to put their skills to use at an international event.”

Dr. Monique Spells, who directs the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Show Choir, shared, “We have a great show planned for DisCon III; it is an honor to be a part of the opening ceremonies. The students are working hard to prepare a special performance full of song, dance, and music.” 

“Wow, the energy and enthusiasm of the Duke Ellington students is inspiring,” said Fred Bauer, DisCon III Division Head and Technical Director. “This is a great opportunity for them to test their skills and help produce an international convention.”

“We all remember the first time we worked on a technical crew, you were a little scared and a whole lot excited. The students ask great questions and are ready to apply their classroom knowledge to bring a convention to life. I am looking forward to challenging them to go beyond what they think they can accomplish,” said Syd Weinstein, DisCon III Deputy Division Head/Assistant Technical Director.

The highly acclaimed and national award-winning Duke Ellington School of the Arts Show Choir has thrilled audiences throughout the United States, Germany, London, France, Japan, and extensively in the Caribbean.  Organized in 1986 under the direction of Samuel L.E. Bonds and currently directed by Dr. Monique Spells, these student artists travel from neighborhoods spanning the entire Washington Metropolitan area to attend Washington’s premier arts-centered high school. 

They have performed at the White House for Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush and at inaugural events for former District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty and President Barack Obama. The Show Choir has shared the stage with Earth Wind and Fire, Clay Aiken, Patti LaBelle, Jasmine Guy, Patti Austin, Boyz II Men, and Denyce Graves. The Choir has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and sang The Star-Spangled Banner for the opening of the Washington Nationals’ first baseball game.

The members of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Show Choir, much like the great Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, are true ambassadors for the nation and the Ellington School.

[Based on a press release.]

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