Arts/Entertainment Spotlights

Arts/Entertainment Spotlights

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Ella Fitzgerald


Ella Fitzgerald was born on April 27,1917. Fitzgerald was often referred to as the First Lady of Song. Fitzgerald had her earliest experience in formal music from the Methodist church. After the death of her mother in 1932, Fitzgerald moved in with her aunt in Harlem. Fitzgerald made her amateur singing debut on November 21, 1934 at the age of 17. She won the first prize of $25.00 at Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater. Fitzgerald joined the Chick Webb Orchestra in 1935. Ella recorded several hits with the band but it was her version of the nursery rhyme, "A Tisket, A Tasket", that brought her public fame. After the death of Chick Webb, the band was renamed Ella and her famous Orchestra. Fitzgerald recorded nearly 150 songs with Webb's Orchestra and it was during this time that she introduced Scat singing influenced by her work with Dizzy Gillespie. Fitzgerald left the band in 1942 to begin her solo career. Fitzgerald recorded numerous hits including collaborations with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Fitzgerald would go on to receive 13 Grammys, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Fitzgerald died on June 15, 1996 at the age of 79.

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