Duke Ellington is one of most important American musicians of the 20th century. And his influence wasn’t only musical. Before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he and Louis Armstrong probably were the only black people that parts of white America let into their homes. This speaks to Ellington’s immense talent as a composer, pianist, bandleader and entertainer able to win over audiences despite living in segregation. The Richmond Symphony Chorus and One Voice Chorus present “An Evening with Duke Ellington” on Friday, Feb. 14, at the Carpenter Theatre. Featuring guest singers Lester Lynch and Nate Smith, the concert will cover symphonic high points in Ellington’s career, including performances of his last major work, “The Three Black Kings,” from 1974, “Night Creature,” from 1961, his 15-minute “Harlem” recorded in 1951, and selections from his Sacred Concerts that he called the most important concerts of his more than 50-year career. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5-$78. richmondsymphony.com.