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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Apr 14

Week-long Birthday Events for Ella Fitzgerald at Downing-Gross

Posted on April 14, 2017 at 9:04 AM by Communications Department

The City has been gearing up all year for this special week to honor local jazz great Ella Fitzgerald on what would have been her 100th birthday. The Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center, home of the Ella Fitzgerald Theater, is serving as the site for the four-day celebration.
There are events for all ages. Bring the kids Wednesday, April 19 for a free Ella-themed birthday party. School-age children can enjoy cupcakes, a scavenger hunt, and a special performance by an Ella impersonator. On Thursday, April 20, college students can enjoy a concert featuring C.C. Sun Child with performances by the VCU Jazz ensemble and the VSU Dr. Billy Taylor jazz program. The celebration continues on Friday, April 21 with a concert featuring Rhonda Ross, daughter of music legend Diana Ross. The week wraps up with the 19th Annual EllaFest on Saturday, April 22, headlined by vocalist Lizz Wright.

The birthday party and college night are both free; however, the concerts require tickets. The price for the Friday concert featuring Rhonda Ross is $20 and tickets for Ellafest are $45. For more information about the events and to purchase tickets visit