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VCU Jazz Finds Friend in Singleton

Already touted as one of the best places in the country to get a jazz education, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Jazz Studies Program got a shot in the arm recently from benefactor W.E. Singleton in the amount of $2 million, the largest contribution ever made in the United States to a university-level jazz program. Since 1995 Singleton, who is the Managing General Partner of Crenshaw-Singleton Properties, has donated considerable amounts of cash to projects in the greater Richomnd, Va. area. His projects include the W.E. Singleton VoTech Center at Elk Hill Farm, the Library at The Gables at Blackstone College and the Singleton Chapel. It’s no wonder then that Singleton, a lover of jazz and friend of the late Louis Armstrong and Count Basie, would take a special interest in VCU’s Jazz Studies Program, as the school sits right in the heart of downtown Richmond.

On Oct. 28 VCU will celebrate Singleton’s magnanimous gift with the “W.E. Singleton Performing Arts Center” Naming Celebration. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra graced the Center’s stage when it opened in 1981, and the center has since hosted performances by everyone from Yehudi Menuhin to Buddy Rich. On the 28, the center will host Steve Lacy, René Marie, Joe Kennedy, Jr., The Jimmy Black Trio, The Wild Bill Davison Legacy Band and the VCU Jazz Orchestra I. The celebration begins at 7:30 p.m. and admission to the show is free. For more information, visit

Originally Published