Billboard's recent charts would seem to offer a vote of confidence for the music department at Duke Ellington. Two Top 10 hits, Lace's "My Love IsDeep" and Tony Terry's "She's Fly," are by recent graduates of Washington's only high school for the performing arts.

Lace, which includes '82 alumnae Lisa Frazier and Vivian Ross, debuted its latest single and video, "Since You Came Over Me," on BET Friday and the video ends with what Frazier says will be Lace's signature -- the group standing in silhouette.

In the real world, of course, Lace is hoping for a higher profile. "Our first single hit Top 10 on the urban charts," Frazier says, "and hopefully this one will cross over. I think the potential is there, but we'll just wait and see."

Frazier says she did "street theater events at Ellington and I was sent out for a lot of political functions." She, Ross, a dance major at Ellington, and Kathy Merrick, who went to Holy Name Academy, were longtime friends, but didn't get together as a group until January 1985, though "we'd all done a lot of musical theater in the D.C. area."

"I come from a musical family and I believe {singing} is a gift from God," says Frazier. "Going to Ellington was to give me proper technique. My original goal was to pursue classical singing, and I went to Oberlin, but I dropped out after my second year, basically over frustrations and just wanting to get out there and perform."

Last year Lace headed for the West Coast and, Frazier recalls, "when we first came out here, we struggled." They also worked as an opening act in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe, all the while making connections. "It only took us a year and half to get a record deal, which is good compared to some groups that have been struggling for many more years." Lace teamed up with producers Preston Glass and Lionel Job (Jermaine Stewart, Kenny G and Starpoint) and signed with Wing/Polygram, which released "Shades of Lace" in September.

Frazier remembers an Ellington production of "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope" in which she starred opposite Tony Terry -- "he's like my big brother, but it was his first major musical production."

Of course, Terry was hardly a novice performer. Born in North Carolina, he was raised in Washington and at age 8 began performing with several cousins in a group put together by his parents, the Freedom Gospel Singers. "And there was a time when I was also in choirs at five different churches -- at the same time," Terry recalls. "It got to be really crazy."

Terry has a slightly different perspective on his Ellington days. "Their whole program was classically oriented, and they tried to restructure me as an opera singer, as opposed to developing my gospel style correctly. But even though they didn't give me any gospel or jazz training, I can still apply my classical training to what I'm doing now. Maybe now they'll go back and see how successful we can be with what we have and begin to stress those qualities in others, as well."

After Ellington, Terry did a couple of New York musicals, "Black Nativity" and "Mama, I Want to Sing," before hooking up with veteran producer Ted Currier, who had him singing backup for groups such as the Boogie Boys and Black Britain. Eventually they put together his Epic debut, "Forever Yours," which includes seven songs cowritten by Terry. "She's Fly," the catchy pop/hip-hop single, is still moving up the charts -- or as Terry would say, "It's really popping."

The Sounds of Summit Call it good timing, but a new single appears this week featuring American and Russian rock singers carrying a message of brotherhood and hope. "Far Away Lands" (Cypress) is by David Pomeranz and Sasha Malinin, lead singer for the top Soviet group Stas Namin. They got together in Los Angeles last year when Stas Namin was touring with "Peace Child," a Soviet-American theater collaboration. After each show the Russian band would play in a local club, and that's where Malinin and Pomeranz met and jammed.

The next day, while waiting to give the Russian rockers a tour of an American recording studio -- "they wanted to see all the flashing lights," says Pomeranz -- he and bandmate Peter Schless wrote "Far Away Lands" to celebrate their encounter.

"Our generation wants its voices felt against this lie about how different we are," Pomeranz explains. "This was a great opportunity to tell a little bit of the truth."

Pomeranz cut the song that day, but had to wait eight months, and make a trip to Moscow, to get Malinin's vocals. Their voices blend beautifully, which may have as much to do with the spirit of the song as with rock formula.

Ironically, Pomeranz also sings the flip side's Russian version, though he hopes to re-record it when Malinin returns for a promotional visit. He learned the lyrics phonetically, and "while we had to do it in little bits and pieces, it came out sounding pretty fluid." Which, come to think of it, sounds like a model for the summit. "We'll get those guys to hear the song and maybe it will help them come to an understanding," Pomeranz suggests