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Early in life Paula R. Elliott realized people enjoyed hearing her sing. Back in the day, Detroit had some exceptional music education programs; she benefited from those opportunities. As a member of Detroit’s Black middle class and family legacy of Black educators, her sense of possibility in music was secondary to career in education. After moving to Boston in the 70’s her academic and professional credentials evolved. Paula’s insistence on singing was sustained on its own circuitous, parallel track. Throughout the 1970s-2000 she sang and soloed in well-known large and small vocal ensembles, Handel and Hayden Society, Chorus Pro Musica, New England Spiritual Society and Black Nativity.

In the 1980s Her passion for many forms of creative expression expanded, as her career in public service included state arts council and philanthropic organizations. Paula’s personal connections and networks among multi-disciplinary creatives exploded, collaborative opportunities were embraced. Then her attention focused on jazz. Attending University of MA Amherst’s’ Jazz in July summer program she was recognized as that year’s Fletcher Henderson awardee in jazz voice. She sang in the highly regarded jazz vocal quartet, Just Friends, performed in Boston, NYC jazz venues and internationally with the legendary “King of the Boogie Woogie” Sammy Price. Her introduction to multi-media, experimental theater was fostered in The Revolving Museum’s experimental mixed media programming. Most significantly Paula’s 1990’s work with the Arts Company production of Turf: A Conversation about Race in Black and White fostered a mentoring relationship with Robbie McCauley, the visionary artistic director and internationally respected experimental theatre artist, writer and director. In the last four years she deepened her capacity in storytelling, producing a podcast and participation in community writing workshops. She is grateful to the A&BC for the opportunity to evolve among the 2021 cohort of creative entrepreneur fellows.

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