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WILLIAMS, ELLINGTON ENTER SONGBOOK HALL OF FAME
9/23/19

Paul Williams and Duke Ellington were inducted into the Great American Songbook Foundation’s Hall of Fame Saturday in Carmel—not the California seaside town, but Carmel, Indiana, where the Center for the Performing Arts is located. 

GASF founder Michael Feinstein (seen here with Williams and Executive Director Christopher Lewis) emceed the induction ceremony, and 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Dionne Warwick headlined the annual gala, which generates support for artistic and educational programming at the Center, where the Songbook Foundation is headquartered. 

ASCAP Prexy Williams, whose many credits include “Evergreen,” “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Rainbow Connection,” surprised the capacity crowd by offering to write a personalized song for the highest bidder. He awarded the prize to two attendees who bid $35k each, generating a quick $70k for the Foundation’s historical-preservation initiatives. 

Williams also led the audience in an a cappella rendition of “Drift Away,” penned by his songwriter brother Mentor, who died in 2016. 

Dancer/choreographer Mercedes Ellington accepted the Hall of Fame award on behalf of her late grandfather.

The event also included tributes to recent Hall of Fame inductees Tony Bennett and the late Doris Day.

Photo by Sara C Imagery