Adventures in Rhythm Logo

Curriculum Vitae 

ELLA L. JENKINS; Music Educator; Children’s Performer (Singer-Musician; Composer and Recording Artist - Smithsonian - Folkways Records; Activity Records).

Conducts teacher workshops and presents children and family concerts internationally. Currently residing in Chicago

  • Born in Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Graduate of Phillips Elementary; graduate of Du Sable High School; graduate of Wilson Junior College; graduate of San Francisco State University - B.A., Sociology major; Child Psychology and Recreation minors. 
  • Worked as Teen-Age Program Director for the YWCA for four years.

  • Since 1956: free-lancing in Folk Music; Children’s music.
  • 1957: First recording, Call-And-Response-Rhythmic Group Singing on Folkways Records.

  • Ella as sung for children in seven continents, including children in Antarctica (new arrivals).
  • Written songs and chants for and appeared in Children’s television programs: “The Totem Club”, “The Me Too Show”, “Look At Me”, and “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” (all PBS programs).
  • She also wrote songs for and performed on a Martin Luther King Special - “Free at Last”, hosted and narrated by LeVar Burton.
  • She is an Honorary member of the Delta Kappa Gamma (educational) Society, member (life) of National Association for the Education of Young Children, A.S.C.A.P. (Amencan Society of Composers and Publishers), National Association of Popular Music, National Association of Negro Musicians (Chicago Music Association) and Music Educators National Conference.

Awards from:

  • CEDA Head Start, Orland Park, III,. Pediatric Association for musical contribution to children;
  • Received the GOVERNORS AWARD OF THE CHICAGO CHAPTER NATIONAL ACADEMY OF RECORDING ARTS AND SCIENCES, INC., on February 1, 1989 which stated, “Presented to ELLA JENKINS, a true pioneer in the field of children’s recording and performance, who led the way in showing that children’s music could be more than baby food, and is still bringing delight to audiences of all ages.” J B. ROSS, CHAPTER PRESIDENT
  • THE ALVIN AILEY DANCE THEATRE has performed Ella’s Wading in the Water, arranged sequences and her own composition A Man Went Down To The River in the group’s very popular production, “Revelations” (performed in numerous countries around the world)
  • Ella is listed in Who’s Who In America, Who’s Who In American Women, Dictionary Of International Biography, Directory Of Women Composers. 
  • Since 1968 Ella has been sharing songs and rhythms at the widely known, RAVINIA FESTIVAL's “Young People’s Programs” in Highland Park, Illinois (large outdoor festival). She also does much volunteer programming in children’s hospitals.
  • In October, 1988, EIIa L Jenkins, Music Educator/Performing Artist, Chicago, III., was designated by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to join the U.S. delegation of a major international cultural exchange with Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China.
  • 1991: Received Parents Choice Award for the recordingCome Dance By The Ocean
  • 1991: Received Parents Choice Award for the video Ella Jenkins Live At The Smithsonian
  • 1992: Performed for children and staff for the International School of Milan, Italy
  • In November, 1992, the mayor of Chicago wrote:
  • NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD M. DALEY, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, do hereby proclaim December 12, 1992, to be ELLA JENKINS DAY IN CHICAGO, in honor of her contributions to Chicago. Dated this 30th day of November, 1992 (Signed).
  • 1993: Was presented the “Service To Young Children Award” by the Chicago Metropolitan Association for the Education of Young Children (35 years)
  • 1993: Was asked by the “Inaugural Committee and the Clinton and Gore families” to participate in “America’s Reunion on the Mall”
  • 1993-1994: Appeared on “Barney and Friends”
  • 1999: Ella Jenkins and a Union of Friends nominated for a Grammy award.

U.S. print media inquiries: Matt Hanks, or Mark Satlof, Shore Fire Media,, or 718.522.7171.

Radio & Promotional inquiries: Mark Gustafson, Shore Fire Media, or 202.275.1156

Sales & Marketing inquiries: John Smith, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, or 206.568.8144