The Kennedy Center

Duke Ellington School of the Arts: Vocal Department


The Vocal Department at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts strives to give all students the opportunity to grow as young musicians through our study of voice, music theory, sight-singing, and choir. At Ellington, we have various ensembles, which help teach the skill of ensemble singing. Our Ellington Chorale consists of all students in the vocal department conducted by Mr. Samuel L. E. Bonds and Mr. Andrew Smith. The Ellington Concert Choir consists of all upper-class students in the vocal department, as well as all gentlemen, and is also conducted by Mr. Bonds and Mr. Smith. The Sophisticated Ladies are our first-year ladies group conducted by Mrs. Sylvia Twine. We also have Voices In Motion, conducted by Dr. Monique Spells, which is our Duke Ellington Show Choir comprising of students throughout the entire school who wish to learn the art of singing, dancing and acting. Lastly, we have the Mellowtones, which is our Ellington Jazz Ensemble, comprising of upper class vocal and instrumental students conducted by Mark Meadows. The ensemble of students participating in this production includes all students within our department.

The highly acclaimed and national award winning Duke Ellington School of the Arts Show Choir has thrilled audiences throughout the United States, Germany, Paris, 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. Students in the choir are required to perform at a high academic level to maintain membership. The ensemble’s incredible creativity and artistry so effectively combine singing, acting and dance that any performance space is virtually transformed into a Broadway stage.

Watch Past Performances

Video 3/19/2019: Duke Ellington School of the Arts: From the Requiem to the Passion

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts Vocal Music Department Presents: From the Requiem to the Passion. The vocal department presents excerpts of Mozart’s Requiem followed by excerpts of the narration of the Passion of Christ through thought provoking and uplifting music and dance.