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Springtime swings at free outdoor concert celebrating Duke Ellington’s birthday

Press release from the Cade Museum

Legendary bandleader Duke Ellington ascended the ranks of American jazz by reinventing the big-band sound. From Harlem’s Cotton Club to venues around the world, Ellington’s orchestra delighted millions with gems like “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” and “Prelude to a Kiss,” and even spiritual music, too. Ellington defied genre and tradition, uniting music lovers of all lifestyles and backgrounds. 

Ellington’s jubilant sound can be experienced once again when 1000 Voices of North Central Florida present their third annual concert of his music on the Cade Museum lawn starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 24.  

The 1000 Voices concert celebrates what would be Ellington’s 123rd birthday with brassy horns, tickled ivories, and toe-tapping beats spilling out of the Cade’s porch. Dancers add to the lively mix.  

The third annual event started in 2020 as an outdoor concert to inspire hope in the community during the pandemic and continued on as a tradition.  

Why at the Cade? It all starts with Dr. James Robert Cade, the museum’s namesake and lead inventor of Gatorade. He supported creative growth in the arts and music along with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  

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“Music filled Dr. Cade’s life,” museum CEO Stephanie Bailes said. “He wasn’t just a doctor and scientist but a poet and musician, too. Dr. Cade exemplified joyful creativity with a purpose, building communities in ways others wouldn’t think to. Likewise, the unifying sounds of Duke Ellington and 1,000 Voices reverberate with the museum’s mission to transform communities.” 

Indeed, the Cade has worked with the nonprofit 1,000 Voices of North Central Florida to connect diverse members of the community through music education and fellowship as well as assist in providing core necessities for individuals in our and surrounding areas. 

“The vision for this concert is that it be representative of unity and hope,” says Joy Banks, President of 1000 Voices of Florida and Concert Producer. “It is a time for all people to smile and be in fellowship as they join in the celebration of the music of Duke Ellington via a seat on the lawn, while sitting in their cars tuning in to the FM station, or a live stream.”  

Cade Museum Co-Founder Phoebe Miles adds, “Music, faith, and community are ideas that have the power to transcend political, economic, and racial divisions. I am so thrilled to play a small part in bringing the Duke Ellington Sacred Concert to Depot Park.”   

Admission to both the concert and the museum are free that day. Funding is provided by the Community Foundation of North Central Florida. Bring your own chairs or a blanket, grab some takeout from a local restaurant, and enjoy an afternoon of Jazz. 

If you arrive early, head inside the museum to enjoy the latest exhibit Fabric Frontiers to learn how factory garment workers sent astronauts to the moon, make slime in the Creativity Lab, or design your own patterned fabric in the Fab Lab. 

For more information about 1000 Voices of North Central Florida, visit 1000voicesofflorida.com.  For information about the Cade Museum, visit cademuseum.org