Support and finance the "Duke Ellington Sacred Concert" on tour in the french cathedrals, by Laurent Mignard DUKE ORCHESTRA, june 2015.


The project

As the climax of the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of Duke Ellington’s legacy, the Provins Duke Festival presented in Paris the first stage of the "Duke Ellington Sacred Concert" tour in the french cathedrals, with the support of La Maison du Duke (Paris), and the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts (New York) chaired by Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of the Maestro.

A jazz oratorio, poignant, majestic and energizing, in which Duke Ellington conjugates the four letter word LOVE.



In the majestic setting of the church of La Madeleine in Paris, more than 1,200 people were united in the same fervour, awed by the dream-team of the Duke Orchestra, the "keeper of the flame” Mercedes Ellington, the “preacher” Emmanuel Pi Djob, the “priestess” Sylvia Howard, the “angel” Nicolle Rochelle, the “tap master” Fabien Ruiz, the 12 masterful voices of Michel Podolak and more than 120 chorus-singers.


As wrote Claude Carriere, "... guided by Duke, we find ourselves, believers or not, all the more desirous of goodness and beauty, and all the more able to love and respect others - all those who share our vale of tears."






To extend the success encouted in Paris, and enlarge the audiance for this major work, the Duke Festival and Laurent Mignard Duke Orchestra take the insane risk of presenting a tour of the "Duke Ellington Sacred Concert" in the majestic in the majestic frame of the french cathedrals, with 30 professional artists and local choirs. An gigantic artistic and spiritual meeting for all audiences.


June 2nd - LILLE - Cathedral Notre-Dame de la Treille (France)

June 4th - RENNES - Cathedral Saint-Pierre (France)

June 9th - TOULOUSE - Cathedral Saint-Etienne (France)

June 10th - AIX-EN-PROVENCE - Cathedral Saint-Sauveur (France)

June 11th - LYON - Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourviere (France)

June 12th - NÎMES - Church Sainte-Perpetue (France)




30 professional artists

Laurent Mignard DUKE ORCHESTRA

Sylvia HOWARD, Fabien RUIZ, Les Voix en Mouvement

Emmanuel Pi DJOB (in Rennes and Aix-en-Provence)

Sabine KOULI (in Lyon)


and local choirs

Soul Spirit Choir (Rennes)

Soulshine Voices (Toulouse)

Freeson, Cantabile, Très Grand Groupe de Gospel, Voice Gang, Massalia Sound Gospel, Ad Fontes (Aix-en-Provence)

Welcome Gospel Paradise, Sunday Voices (Lyon)

Music en choeur (Nîmes)


Light staging and multi speakers sound device.

15 % of the profits of the tour will be put back to the Secours Catholique - Caritas France.


Concerts at 8:30 p.m - Tickets here






Press review


RFI - L’épopée des musiques noires, Joe Farmer - Interview Mercedes Ellington & Laurent Mignard


TELERAMA - "The music is beautiful and moving, the experience audacious."




MERCEDES ELLINGTON - "My grandfather always maintained that the Sacred Concert Music was his most important work and he would be quite pleased to see the magic of M. Mignard's baton.."


CLAUDE CARRIÈRE - "When Duke Ellington, who loved life like no other, turned towards the Supreme Being in the autumn of his existence, we find ourselves, believers or not, all the more desirous of goodness and beauty, and all the more able to love and respect others - all those who share our vale of tears. This is indeed the proof that this supremely original, irresistibly powerful and tarnish-proof music, timeless and beyond fashion, is absolutely universal. The Duke Orchestra, its great soloists and vocalists brought together by Laurent Mignard, are among the only artists in the world with the knowledge and the ability to pass it on. Period."




DUKE ELLINGTON - « I regard these Sacred Concerts as the most important thing I have ever done.

In 1965, I was invited by Dean C. J. Bartlett and the Reverend John S. Yaryan to present a concert of sacred music in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, as part of a year-long series celebrating the completion and consecration of that great Episcopal cathedral atop Nob Hill. I recognized this as an exceptional opportunity. “Now I can say openly”, I said, “What I have been saying to myself on my knees”.

As I travel from place to place by car, bus, tain, plane … taking rhythm to the dancers, harmony to the romantic, melody to the nostalgic, gratitude to the listener … receiving praise, applause, and handshakes, and at the same time doing the thing I like to do, I feel that I am most fortunate because I know that God has blessed my timing, without which nothing could have happened – the right time or place or with the right people. The four must converge. Thank God.

Every man prays in his own language, and there is no language that God doesn’t understand.

If a man is troubled, he moans and cries when he worships. When a man feels that which he enjoys in his life is only because the grace of God, he rejoices, he sings, and sometimes dances (and so was with David in spite of his wife’s prudishness).

Communication itself is what baffles the multitude. It is both so difficult and so simple. Of all man’s fears, I think men are most afraid of being what they are – in direct communication with the world at large. They fear reprisals, the most personal of which is that they “won’t be understood”. Yet, every time God’s children have thrown away fear in poursuit of honesty – trying to communicate themselves, understood or not – miracles have happened. Wisdom is something that man partially enjoys; One and only One has all the wisdom. God has total understanding.

If you can see by seven caroms to the 7th power, then you can see God. I you can see total carom to total power, you would be thought to be God. And since you can’t do either, you are not God, and you cannot stand to see God, but if you happen to be the greatest mathematician, you will discover after completing carom that God is with you. So be wise and satisfied with the joy that comes to you through the reflection and miracle of God, such as all the wonders and beauty we live with and are exposed to on earth.

Love is indescribable and unconditional.

I could tell a thousand things that it is not, but not one that it is. Unconditional love not only means I am with you, but also I am for you, all the way, right or wrong. We shall keep this land if we all agree on the meaning of that unconditional word : LOVE.

Excerpts from « Music is My Mistress » - Duke Ellington, Da Capo Press.






For more than 10 years, Laurent Mignard Duke Orchestra is recognized as the best European ambassador of the work of Duke Ellington, acclaimed by specialists (Duke Ellington Music Society, Duke Ellington Center For the Arts ...), critics, musicians and major festivals. The commitment is faithful, respectful, creative, and resolutely turned towards a large enthusiastic audience : Jazz à Vienne festival, Beirut, Cork, Peking Opera, Sanghai festival, Saint-Sulpice, L'Européen, Le Palace, L'Alhambra, Jazz sous les Pommiers, Radio France, TF1, France 2,France 3, Mezzo, France Inter, France Musique, FIP, Europe 1, RFI, TSF Jazz …

videos here

All information :


Why fund it?

This titanic tour is an autoproduction, and your support is extremely precious to us. At the present time, we still miss 12.000 euros for the travel of the artists and technicians in Lille, Rennes, Toulouse, Aix-en-Provence, Lyon and Nîmes.



- trips (train / bus) 44 people ............. 15.000 euros

- transportation of materials  ..............  7.000 euros

- hotels for 44 people ........................ 16.000 euros

- living expanses for 44 people ..........   8.000 euros


Beyond 12.000 euros...

15 % of the sums received beyond 12.000 euros will be put back to the Secours Catholique - Caritas France

(The Secours catholique has for mission to make the Christian Charity shine by the implementation of a concrete solidarity between all .)

The rest will allow to improve the remuneration of the artists, the technicians and the choir masters of the local associations, as well as the communication of the event.

Laurent Mignard DUKE ORCHESTRA

Bandleader, composer, arranger and trumpeter, Laurent Mignard followed a varied musical training before studying closely most styles of jazz. As a composer, he is passionate about Claude Debussy, Henri Dutilleux, Toru Takemitsu and Duke Ellington, seeking the balance between serenity and surprise. From his first album (Face à Face 1998), he innovated... See more

Newest comments

Bravo camarade! La biz Marc
J'espère bien que le montant fixé sera atteint gràce à de petits coups de pouce comme le mien. Amitiés. Guy
Amitiés à tous, et bonne tournée du grand Duke ! LV