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L.A. jazz singer excited to return to K-State for cabaret performance

By Maura Wery

Food, cocktails, and a K-State alumna who is a successful jazz singer are all on the bill for the Friends of the Beach Museum Gala tonight.

Laura Ellis, a 1994 graduate of the university and former member of the K-State Singers, was booked as the entertainment after a former classmate asked her to perform at the event.

Ellis, who hails from Kansas City, grew up listening to jazz greats and R&B singers and used those influences to make her own career in Los Angeles after graduating. But she said her time at K-State also helped that career as well.

“My absolute favorite part about my time there was being a member of the K-State Singers,” she said. “I was in the Singers for three years and met my future husband, Luke Ellis, in the group as well. I learned so much about being a part of the group, many things that helped me prepare for a life in the business.” 

Ellis said she is happy about coming back to her alma mater and seeing the changes made to the campus and town.

“I haven’t been on campus in many years,” Ellis said. “It is so different!  I am so impressed with all the growth and changes in the campus. It looks different, but has the same wonderful feeling it always had.”

Her Cinema Sweethearts program “is a musical celebration of the singing stars of the silver screen,” Ellis said. “You can expect great songs like ‘Get Happy,’ ‘That Old Black Magic,’ and ‘Que Sera Sera.’  It should be a fun night with music, humor and glamour.”

The Friends of the Beach Museum are also happy to see the jazz singer back.

“We are really excited about Laura Ellis being our entertainer,” said Cindy Morris, assistant director for operations at the Beach Museum of Art. “Laura is also doing a presentation about having a performance career to music, theater and dance students on Friday afternoon. Afterward, she will meet and greet current K-State Singers.”

The gala is also a large fund-raising event for the Beach Museum. The admission paid by the attendees of the black-tie-optional event will go to fund new works of art made by regional artists, Morris said. The event begins at 6 p.m. Ellis’ performance is at 8.

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