Ella Fitzgerald was one of the common jazz singers in america, profitable 13 Grammy awards and promoting over 40 million albums along with her versatile, wide-ranging and timeless voice. She additionally confronted many challenges all through her profession, from shedding her mom and being a teenage runaway, to dealing with discrimination within the leisure trade and on tour.
The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Basis was created and funded by the “First Girl of Tune” herself in 1993, led by her want to make use of her profitable musical profession to assist others all in favour of music from various backgrounds. What began as a small personal basis has grown over time.
The inspiration gave its first scholarship in vocal jazz to the California State College, Lengthy Seaside virtually 20 years in the past. Since then, the inspiration has funded scholarships at public universities and group schools everywhere in the nation, together with New York, Virginia and North Carolina.
Starting Fall 2021, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Basis shall be partnering with the USC Faculty of Dramatic Arts to supply four-year scholarships to 2 incoming first-year musical theatre college students. The goal of this system is to make schooling extra accessible to marginalized college students with monetary want.
The musical theatre scholarship for SDA college students would be the thirtieth scholarship that the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Basis has endowed, in addition to the primary scholarship given for a musical theatre program. The scholarship may even be the primary that the SDA musical theatre program, which was launched in Fall 2019, will obtain. Based on government director Fran Morris-Rosman, the Basis has offered partial scholarships to college students on the USC Thornton Faculty of Music prior to now.
“For those who assume again in music historical past, the historical past of jazz is fairly darn shade blind,” Morris-Rosman mentioned. “Ella labored with everyone … She labored with musicians from everywhere in the world, who seemed like everyone we’ve on the planet, so we wish the musical theatre division to mirror Ella’s world.”
Morris-Rosman mentioned that the Basis had been seeking to embrace a musical theatre scholarship for a few yr, since Fitzgerald had sung many Broadway present tunes throughout her profession. After having loved SDA’s 2012 manufacturing of “Metropolis of Angels,” in addition to nice conversations with Kenneth Noel Mitchell, director of musical theatre at USC, Morris-Rosman determined to proceed Fitzgerald’s charitable legacy. Fitzgerald had additionally been awarded the USC Magnum Opus Award in 1992.
Based on Sara Fousekis, affiliate dean of development at SDA, the scholarship shall be designated to Black and Indigenous folks and folks of shade in accordance with the college’s dedication to coaching extra BIPOC college students.
“It’ll enable us to provide scholarships to incoming college students for generations to return, nevertheless it additionally achieves our objective of creating positive that our program is essentially the most various program that it may be,” Fousekis mentioned. “These scholarships from a basis just like the Ella Fitzgerald [Charitable Foundation] are so essential as a result of generally it’s the distinction between a scholar with the ability to make the funds work to return and pursue their goals within the arts.”
Fousekis additionally hopes the scholarship shall be an incentive to safe the perfect expertise from throughout the globe and to compete with different respected packages such because the College of Michigan and New York College.
“I hope it would enable us to be a extra accessible program to the widest scholar [representations] from world wide,” Fousekis mentioned. “I hope it would create a way of satisfaction for the students which might be hooked up to this legend of Ella Fitzgerald, and I hope it will likely be the start of many extra scholarships for the musical theatre program.”
Based on Mitchell, the scholar response to the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Basis Scholarship has been very constructive. He hopes it would make college students from marginalized communities really feel much less remoted and extra hopeful about their future.
“We hope to alter the face of musical theatre,” Mitchell mentioned. “It’s a broader vary of illustration of identities that we see on a regular basis in society, however we don’t see on stage, movie, and TV as a lot as we should always — and that’s as a result of there will not be sufficient inventive alternatives obtainable.”
Mitchell additionally mentioned that he hopes that the scholarship, in addition to Fitzgerald’s story and mark on an trade that isn’t welcoming to BIPOC people, demonstrates the significance of acknowledging the various various identities that exist that do not need the chance to finance their coaching.
“I actually hope that we diversify our scholar inhabitants and our college,” Mitchell mentioned. “I actually hope that we’ll be often called a faculty that not solely welcomes range however is worked up by it, and permits actors of all totally different identities to essentially know they’ve a spot to coach, and a spot to be seen within the leisure trade.”
To be taught extra concerning the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Basis, click on here.