Hello Ben Pubols Memories of
Ellington '99

The Ellington Centennial Celebration

Ellington At 100

"Ellington at 100" image courtesy of the N.Y. Times, which ran an article by that title on 1/17/99. I can't help but point out that the internet version of the NY Times article mentioned only two Ellington websites -- and one of them was "A Duke Ellington Panorama."

There are still Ellington '99 Items for Sale.

[This beautiful bust of Duke Ellington
was loaned to the conference by the artist, Ferebee Streett.]

April 28 - May 2, 1999


Memories of Ellington '99
by Peter MacHare

Ellington '99 was my first Ellington Conference. I had a blast. The presentations were engaging. I met many people I knew only by reputation or through email. I even met people with direct connections to Duke Ellington's music, such as George Avakian, Art Baron, Yvonne Lanauze, and Joya Sherrill. I also had the pleasure of thanking Steve Lasker personally for the wonderful job he did on the RCA set. Here are a few photographic highlights of the conference.

The reason for the conference, of course, was to honor Duke Ellington. Ellington is easily the greatest American composer and certainly one of the greatest in the world. The conference hotel was right across the street from the site of Ellington's birth. Here is the plaque that marks the site in a photo that I took on Ellington's 100th birthday. Every now and then someone would walk buy and leave a flower near the plaque. The city of Washington, D.C. was certainly aware of the celebration of the centennial of its most famous son.

First I would like to introduce you to some of the people who worked the hardest to make this conference a most splendid event.

This is Geneva Hudson, who was in charge of registration at the conference. Geneva's photo comes first because she was the first person that conference attendees would see when they arrived at the hotel.

Geneva's husband, Ted Hudson (in the photo on the right) was in charge of the day program at the conference. The very able Ted is also the newly elected President of the Duke Ellington Society of Washington, D.C. as well as the editor of our newsletter.

Pat Braxton (on the left) also did a tremendous amount of work in preparation for the conference. Here Pat is pictured with her mother, an example of the younger generation leading the older generation to Ellington.

The man of the hour, responsible for organizing Ellington '99, was Ben Pubols. "Come Sunday" was Ben's theme song for the week. Sunday was the last day of the conference. Only then could Ben breathe even the faintest sigh of relief. Here is Ben pontificating. Ben is also the Vice President of the Duke Ellington Society of Washington, D.C.

Here is another familiar face from Ellington '99. This is Bob Reny, who manned the Ellington '99 sales desk. Here is Bob, surrounded by merchandise, liberally applying the snake oil to yet another unsuspecting customer.

Four people were honored at Ellington '99.

Jack Towers

Duke Ellington fans know Jack best for recording the Grammy-winning concert at Fargo, North Dakota, but anyone accustomed to reading the fine print on jazz recordings also knows Jack for the tremendous amount of remastering he has done. I am still finding his name on recordings that I've owned for years.

Maurice Lawrence

Maurice is the founder (1955) and first president of the Duke Ellington Society of Washington, D.C. Maurice used to travel with the Ellington band in their bus and has many great tales to tell.

Ted Shell

Ted is a past president of the Duke Ellington Society of Washington, D.C. and one of our most active memebers. His Ellington collection is tremendous. Ted has even had the pleasure of entertaining Duke Ellington in his own home!

One of my most pleasant memories of Ellington '99 is disappearing after hours with Maurice Lawrence and Ted Shell to the Brickskeller (500 different beers!). Maurice and Ted, my drinking buddies!

Helen Frazier

Helen grew up in Washington, D.C. and is one of the earliest (and most active) members of the Duke Ellington Society. Helen is a great fan of Johnny Hodges.