Ernie's Story (Part 2 of 5)
After graduating from high school, Mr. Elly's talents earned him a scholarship to the famed music program at Southern University. Unfortunately, he still did not have enough money to cover expenses, so he made as he recalls, "the right mistake" and auditioned for the Air Force Band. Spending four years in the Air Force Band, Elly learned a lot of "beautiful music," including classics and standards. While grateful for his time of service, upon completion he had a desire to play "some shake your booty music," the music he grew up around and with, New Orleans music.
After the Air Force, Elly was encouraged by his high school friend and drummer, Calvin Howard to attend Grambling College, now Grambling University, as a music major. From 1966 to 1968, Elly studied under Mr. Conrad Hutchinson and played with the illustrious Grambling Marching Band. While at Grambling, Elly was not only able to hone his skill set in the musical style closet to his heart, he also met the love his life; Ms. Portia Haney. Still married to this day, Portia and Ernie have three children: Julie, Angela and Ernest Jr.
Throughout his experience in the Air Force and Grambling, Mr. Elly was steadfast on maintaining what he calls an "unorthodox" playing style. His modified playing style, the way he still performs today, is right-handed and left-footed; he sets up the backline of the drum kit as a left-handed drummer and plays right-handed. While performing with his unconventional kit arrangement, Elly strives to play with a "New Orleans feeling." "It's hard to describe, it's just the way we eat, the way we talk and being part of New Orleans." .