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Home Grown Stars: Yale’s Ellington Program honors performing arts schools in a free concert October 1

September 20, 2010

Groups from Neighborhood Music School, Co-Op High, and ECA will perform

The Yale School of Music and the Duke Ellington Fellowship will celebrate the contributions of three New Haven performing arts schools on Friday, October 1 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall (located in Sprague Hall, 470 College Street, New Haven). The jazz concert, “Home Grown Stars,” will feature current and past students from the Cooperative Arts and Humanities Interdistrict Magnet High School (Co-Op), Educational Center for the Arts (ECA), and the Neighborhood Music School.

“After 38 years of active participation in music education, the Duke Ellington Fellowship is proud to showcase these three performing institutions that are unequalled in any city that I know of,” says Willie Ruff, professor of music and director of the Duke Ellington Fellowship Program at Yale. “These institutions deserve recognition. The Neighborhood Music School grew out of the settlement house movement, and over the past century many Yale students have honed their skills as teachers there. ECA was founded later, based on a new idea – having working artists to teach high school students – and it draws on a wide range of talent. The Co-Op has had a longstanding relationship with Yale and does a great job in nurturing the talents of our young people. They represent the next generation of performing artists.”

Each of the three schools will present its own set on the stage of Sprague Hall. The Premiere Jazz Ensemble from the Neighborhood Music School (NMS) is an eight-piece group composed of high school students and adults that will perform under the direction of Jeff Fuller. A nine-piece group from ECA, also directed by Fuller, will play with vocalist Erica Bryan, who is now a student at the Hartt School. A group of 15 musicians from CoOp High will play a variety of music under lead teacher Patrick Smith. A 35-voice chorus from CoOp High, under Harriett Alfred, will also perform.

Tickets to the performance are free and can be reserved online, at 203 432-4158, or at the Yale School of Music concert office (Sprague Hall, 470 College Street). Phone and web orders are subject to a $1 fee per ticket reserved.

About the Institutions to be Honored

Neighborhood Music School (NMS) is one of the ten largest community arts schools in the country. Established in 1911 as part of the settlement movement serving New Haven’s immigrant population, NMS has a long-standing commitment to serving its local community. Today, NMS serves more than 3,000 students annually from more than 80 cities and towns in the greater New Haven area. The NMS campus is a 30,000 square foot facility in the Audubon Arts district in New Haven, and programs are also offered at a number of facilities in Guilford, Hamden, Madison, and Woodbridge. NMS offers a full range of programming for both children and adults from early childhood music and movement to beginning, intermediate, and advanced-level training for more than 30 instruments and seven genres of dance. NMS has a state-certified preschool and one of the largest and most renowned music ensemble programs in the country. With over 200 recitals, events, and productions each year, NMS is also an active performing arts organization. Lawrence Zukof is director of the the NMS, and Jesse Hameen II oversees the jazz program.

ACES Educational Center for the Arts (ACES ECA) is the oldest of the four magnet schools ACES operates. High school students attend ACES ECA in the afternoon to study creative writing, dance, music, theatre and visual arts with professional artists. It is located in the Audubon Arts District in New Haven. ACES ECA seeks students from a diversity of cultural backgrounds, experiences, and interests in the arts. The coursework provides a balance of training in technical skills and in imaginative and creative skills – challenging all students to create works of their own design, to perform those works and the works of others, and to evaluate this work. Classroom experiences encourage students to develop an understanding of how their art form relates to other art forms. In addition, students receive career and college information and guidance. Alice Shillling directs the ECA, and Judith Caldwell is chair of the music department.

Cooperative Arts and Humanities Interdistrict Magnet (CoOp High School), part of the New Haven Public Schools, is a full-time college preparatory program, serving students from the Greater New Haven region. In a challenging and supportive environment, students learn the academic, artistic, and social skills necessary to become proficient and productive members of a diverse global community. The school offers programs in performance and the creative arts, including dance, instrumental and vocal music, theater arts, visual arts, and creative writing. CoOp High maintains a number of university and community partnerships, including those with the Yale School of Music, Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Citizens Television, Neighborhood Music School, Artspace, and the Educational Center for the Arts. Dolores Garcia-Blocker is the principal of the school.

About the Duke Ellington Fellowship

For thirty-seven years, the Duke Ellington Fellowship has brought the giants of jazz to Yale’s concert halls and to the city’s public schools. In 1972, Yale President Kingman Brewster presented the first Ellington medals to thirty jazz greats, including the Duke himself. That year marked the beginning of a series of extraordinary jazz concerts performed by a virtual “Who’s Who” of jazz: Eubie Blake, Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, Odetta, Joe Williams, Art Blakey, Kenny Clarke, Sonny Greer, Jo Jones, Max Roach, Ray Brown, Charlie Mingus, and Dizzy Gillespie, to name just a few. The program continues with concerts and residencies by both the great legends of jazz and an exciting new generation of artists. The program’s founder and director is Willie Ruff.

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