LHS to receive Duke Ellington charts

Lawrence High School is one of nine U.S. schools and universities that will premiere the music of jazz legend Duke Ellington before it is put in mainstream educational distribution.

Mike Jones, director of bands at LHS, is excited about the school's selection.

"It's hard to put into words how incredible it is," Jones said. "Duke Ellington is the pinnacle of jazz music composers, and to be a site to work with and then perform (the music) before it's published � it's a great thing for the students and a great thing for me, too."

Tom Alexios, director for the Duke Ellington family music outreach program and outreach coordinator for Down Beat magazine, said it's important to introduce Ellington's music to young jazz players.

"Schools are having more and more limited budgets," Alexios said. "This is a cost-effective way to make sure the charts (are being played by students)."

Ellington's archives are housed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Alexios is choosing the charts that will go to the schools from the 112,000 sheets of music that Ellington wrote during his lifetime.

In addition to LHS, schools selected to receive the charts are the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.; Philadelphia School of the Arts; East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.; Milwaukee School of the Arts; Duke Ellington School of Music in Washington, D.C.; Columbia University of Chicago; Paseo Academy in Kansas City, Mo.; and University of California-Los Angeles.

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