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Louie Bellson Receives Honorary Degree

Louie Bellson is too cool for school. Instead of giving a long, boring speech at DePaul University’s recent commencement ceremony, he sat down on the drum throne and played with the DePaul Jazz Ensemble. So at least that’s one graduating class this season that didn’t have to endure multiple utterances of “carpe diem” and quotes from Dr. Suess’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!. Those lucky graduates got away with more than they will ever know.

But Bellson wasn’t just at the ceremony to play the drums. The jazz veteran, who played in the bands of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James and Duke Ellington, was given an honorary doctorate for his involvement in jazz education. Over the years, Bellson has given workshop presentations and performances with both secondary school and university-level musicians. He also released Legacy recently, an album he recorded with DePaul’s Jazz Ensemble.

Originally Published