Soulsville Foundation

The mission of the Soulsville Foundation is to preserve, promote and celebrate the many unique cultural asets of the soulsville, USA neighborhood of Memphis, while supporting the development of new educational and community-building opportunities for its residents and stakeholders.
Aug 8, 2014

Global Giving Quarterly Report: Summer 2014

Stax Music Academy Grand Finale Performance
Stax Music Academy Grand Finale Performance

We have wrapped up a fantastic summer filled with top-notch programming and performance opportunities for our students and are eagerly awaiting the return of our students for our fall semester in just a few short weeks. We are currently in planning and auditioning mode and anticipate that the 2014-2015 school year will be our most successful year yet. We are constantly blown away by the talented students and instructors who come through our doors and are ready to get to work!

Below you will find a re-cap of all the wonderful things that have been happening on our campus recently:

Summer Music Experience 2014

The Summer Music Experience (SME) 2014 was a huge success. Approximately 80 students participated in the 5-week program.

This summer was the first year for SME to consist of 3 different experiences for the students. The first week was Les Paul Be the Band week which was essentially a band and songwriting competition. The students were divided into teams and were responsible for writing and performing original songs. These songs were judged by a panel of guest judges, including noteworthy musicians such as Lil Rounds of American Idol. The winning group of this this competition was able to perform their song in the spotlight at the SMA Grand Finale Concert and the Levitt Shell.

The next three weeks were the traditional Summer Music Experience where students took classes and worked in their ensembles. The classes that were offered to our students included Stax History, Music Production, Music Business, Songwriting, and Marketing/PR. These classes were taught by SMA instructors and visiting teachers including Nashville-based songwriter Betty Crutcher. Students were divided into four groups, New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis, and Delta, fittingly named after blues-heavy regions. The small group format enabled students to get to know each other better personally and placed a strong emphasis on the importance of teamwork. Throughout these weeks students engaged with visiting artists and industry professionals for Brown Bag lunch sessions.

The final week of SME was the Steve Cropper Blues Guitar Experience. During this week students took guitar classes at the newly opened Memphis Slim Collaboratory. This week also served as a “tech week” so that students could rehearse for the Grand Finale Concert.

Grand Finale Concert- July 2, 2014

Each year the culmination of our Summer Music Experience is The Grand Finale Concert, held at the famous Levitt Shell where Elvis Presley once performed. In spite of having to reschedule the concert due to rain a large crowd which consisted of families from the Soulsville neighborhood as well as music lovers from across the city attended. Based on audience and attendance and feedback, this event was a huge success.

Alumni Band Performances

This summer, the Stax Music Academy Alumni Band has expanded its number of performance opportunities due to increasing notoriety and a partnership with Creative Aging, a local organization that provides arts programming to senior citizens. In addition to performing at nursing homes and other venues across the city, this band of Stax Music Academy alums performed every Tuesday at the Stax Museum and every Monday and Friday at B.B.King's Blues Club on Beale Street. We see the Alumni Band as a way to keep our former students in the Stax Music Academy family, provide them with paid summer employment, further hone their musical performance skills, and offer tourists and locals alike a unique music experience.

Stax Music Academy Alumni Band at B.B.King
Stax Music Academy Alumni Band at B.B.King's
Stax Music Academy
Stax Music Academy's "Red Carpet Day"

Links:

May 1, 2014

Global Giving Quarterly Report - Spring 2014

Seniors taking the "Oath of the City"
Seniors taking the "Oath of the City"

GlobalGiving Quarterly Report: Winter 2014

Stax Music Academy’s SNAP! After School 

We are so proud to announce that once again, every single senior in our Soulsville Charter School has been accepted to a four-year college! Three graduating classes so far since beginning in 2005, and 100% college acceptance all three years! We are so proud of the seniors in the Stax Music Academy and wish them the best of luck!

 

Students in the Spotlight!

We’ve asked each of our seniors to let us know when they’ve been accepted into colleges and when they receive scholarships. Let’s take a moment to share some of our students’ achievements:

Taylor Barksdale has been awarded the Pat Gill Scholarship by the Omicron Chi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She performed a comedic monologue called “The Roller Coaster” featuring the character Roxy. She also sang Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It. She also won the Best Essay and received $2,500 to the college of her choice.

Leah Buckley has received a Renaissance Music Scholarship for a full tuition amount of $24,496/year from Bethel University.

Alandria Ivory is the recipient of several scholarship awards, including the Excel Scholarship from Union University; an academic honors award of $5,500/year from Savannah College of Art and Design; the BSU scholarship from Xavier University for $52,000, and other awards, culminating into an additional $22,000, over the course of 4 years. Hendrix College has also rewarded Miss Ivory an academic scholarship for $7,000/year and a “Odyssey Distinction” award for $12,000/year.

Helena Jones has been awarded $8,000 through the Renaissance Scholarship from Bethel University.

David Pruitt has been awarded $14,500 through the Renaissance scholarship from Bethel University.

Karlos Stevison has been awarded $9,000 through the Renaissance scholarship from Bethel University.

Josiah Taylor has received $14,000 scholarship from Oakwood University, as well as a $10,000 Renaissance scholarship from Bethel University. From Fisk University comes a $10,000 Academic scholarship; from Rust College, Mr. Taylor has been rewarded a scholarship in the amount of $12000/year.

Jarveous Williams has received the Renaissance scholarship from Bethel University in the amount of $26,000.

Congratulations to all of Stax Academy Seniors and their future endeavors!

Additional achievers:
Brenae Johnson won the Maestro Award in a singing competition in New Orleans on March, 29 2014. She competed in the solo category. Sing, Brenae!

 

Programming at SMA (SMA/TSCS)

The students of The Soulsville Charter school are blossoming as spring kicks into full swing!

The eighth grade choir performed with a positive reception for The Soulsville Charter School’s Black History Program on February 28th. Led by director Jiana Hunter, the students beautifully led the school in the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.

The eighth graders are preparing orchestral repertoire of western art music classics and R&B favorites. For the first time in The Soulsville Charter School, strings, winds and percussion classes are preparing students to perform together on one stage.

You can hear both groups performing on May 13th for the TSCS Middle School Music performance. Save the date!

 

Black History Month Performance

On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, Stax Music Academy got out their platform shoes, afro wigs, and bellbottoms as they performed at Minglewood Hall in celebration of Black History Month. Based on the famed television show Soul Train and inspired by the book Love, Peace and Soul! The Behind the Scenes Story of America’s Favorite Dance Show: Soul Train by Ericka Blount Danois, the Stax Music Academy’s “Peace, Love and Soulsville” was an original musical complete with live music, dancing, and retro-era costumes.

The impetus of this year’s show, according to Soulsville Foundation Communications Director Tim Sampson, was the Stax Museum of American Soul Music brining in Danois for a signing when her book was released in October 2013. “Soul Train played a large part in the success of taking so many Stax Records acts to a national audience in the early 1970s that we thought it was a perfect fit to have Ericka come for an event at the Stax Museum,” he said. “I think we all got a bit of Soul Train fever and it just made sense for the Stax Music Academy to ‘get on board’ and keep up the momentum.”Danois (Picured below) was SMA’s guest at the evening performance of the event. "I had no idea it would be anything like this," she said afterward. “How can we take his to the national stage?”

With generous funding from Laurelwood Shopping Center and ArtsFirst First Tennessee Foundation, SMA was able to perform for approximately 1,600 young people at no charge in two shows, and the ticketed evening event drew a crowed of approximately 1,000 people.

 

Alumni Corner

Currently, I am a senior at Middle Tennessee State University majoring in Political Science with minors in African American Studies and Speech & Theater. On May 11th, I will be traveling to Cape Town, South Africa for three weeks. I will be graduating in August. I am planning to attend graduate school and get my master’s in Non-Profit Management.
I got involved with Stax the summer before my 9th grade year in high school (I think it was 2006). During my time with the Academy, I had some extraordinary opportunities. Two opportunities in particular that come to mind are the 2008 Summer Soul Tour to Australia and my participation in the Berklee 5 Week Summer Program.


Stax is an organization that is very dear to my heart because it helped to make me a well-rounded individual. I was exposed to a world of possibility that some people only dream about. Last summer, I served as the program coordinator for the Stax Music Academy Alumni Band.

Amber Robinson - SMA Alumna c/o 2010

              

 _________________________________________________________________________________________

 

These are merely a few rare and unique opportunities to mentor Memphis youth through music education and unique performance opportunities. Please continue to assist our efforts and know that your gift is being put to use, celebrating the soulful past—and securing the bright future—of this legendary ‘Soulsville’ community. Thanks for your generous support.

Congrats to our Seniors!!
Congrats to our Seniors!!

Links:

Feb 14, 2014

Global Giving Quarterly Report: Winter 2014

Adrian Williams - SMA Alum
Adrian Williams - SMA Alum '13

GlobalGiving Quarterly Report: Winter 2014

Stax Music Academy’s SNAP! After School 

This winter has been a true testament as to just how strong of a program we are. As we continue to grow and expand our programming grows even faster! We have welcomed new students this quarter that have risen to the occasion and already performed at three different events since Christmas, and are preparing for their fourth at the end of February! All while going to school, studying hard, and a few extra curriculars here and there. The talent, determination, and passion of our SMA kids never cease to amaze.

 

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on culture, history and the very makings of “soul”. The very things that make Memphis so powerful.

Don’t forget to purchase tickets and join on February 26th, for a Black History Month production sure to touch the soul!

ALL   ABOARD...this   Memphis   Train

“Peace, Love and Soulsville”

Twas the night before President’s day and all through our home, not an instrument was blaring not even a ‘bone’. The records were spun by the studio with care, in hopes that “real” music, soon would be there.

The students saw visions of rounds of applause hands black and white, cheering the cause, with Stax in their kerchief and Soul in their cap, this Soooouuuuul Train kept movin’, ker-plat, ker-plat.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my office to see what was the matter.  Away to the window, I flew like a flash tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.

When what to my wandering eyes should appear, Aretha then Rufus in 70’s, wait 80’s and 90’s gear...  

Stay tuned...

 

Programming at SMA (SMA/TSCS)

We are making exciting changes in the structure of music education between the Stax Music Academy and the Soulsville Charter School.

January saw the inception of SMA@TSCS After School Programming. Students throughout the Soulsville Charter School campus are learning brass band, choir, chamber strings and drumline from SMA instructors. TSCS high school students have the opportunity to mentor and lead younger and less experienced musicians under the tutelage of their instructors. We are thrilled with the opportunities for musical excellence and student leadership.

We are pleased with the positive communication and mission-sharing between the administrative staffs of SMA and TSCS Middle School. As a result of our collaborations, the music education of TSCS has made dynamic changes for the better at the start of this new year.

Eighth graders will receive music instruction during the day in either strings, winds, percussion or choral training in a repertoire-driven performance ensemble. They and the community can look forward to a cumulative performance in May.

 

Staxtacular

Stax Music Academy and Memphis Grizzlies host 10th Annual Staxtacular Fund-raising event. It was another banner year for Staxtacular Presented by SunTrust, the largest fund-raiser of the year for the Stax Music Academy.

Held this year on Saturday, January 18, 2014, this year was the 10th  anniversary for the event that debuted in 2004 with then-Memphis Grizzlies hosts Shane Battier and Brian Cardinal and their wives Heidi and Danielle. Memphis Grizzlies’ guards Tony Allen, Mike Conley, and Quincy Pondexter hosted this year’s "Suit Up and Play" inspired event alongside other members of the team and coaching staff.

The local feel of Memphis’ rich adoration for blues and basketball was felt throughout the museum where guests were treated to a ‘World Tour’ buffet, featuring sushi to sliders to Southern cuisine. Bourbon samplings and awe-inspired desserts were also available at an open bar. The event also included complimentary valet parking, live and silent auctions, and a performance by the world-famous

Stax  Music  Academy. Live music was also provided by Bo-Keys with Percy Wiggins, featuring Stax Records Howard Grimes on drums and fomer Bar-Kays member Ben Cauley on trumpet.

 In addition to the live and silent auctions at the $150-per-person, sold-out gala, there was an online auction that started on January 2, 2014 and ran through the end of the event. New to the event this year was Mobile Bidding, by Bidding for Good. All bidding for the silent auction was done via personal mobile devices.

Since its inception in 2004, Staxtacular has continued to grow and has netted close to $1,000,000 for the Stax Music Academy. Final numbers aren’t in yet for this year’s event, but preliminary figures look great and the funds raised will go a long way to helping Stax Music Academy continue changing the lives of young people through the power of music.

 

Alumni Corner

My name is Adrian Williams, and I’m in the second semester of my freshman year at Rhodes College. I hope all is well at McLemore and College just as they are here at Parkway and University. (See what I did there?)

I am pleased to inform you that I am having a positive college experience so far.  While I have been met with some challenges and speed bumps, what there has been to gain from being at Rhodes supersedes the inevitable frustration that will meet every freshman at any college.

Be Ready! More importantly, what has proven to be the most valuable and helpful tool on my journey for higher education is, being true to who I am.   It is important to be open to new experiences, friends, and moral and ethical ideas, which you are bound to encounter.

However, masking your uniqueness will prevent you from being appreciated for your authentic self and, moreover,  you will lose a sense of who you are rather than gain that sense. This is counterproductive to one of the fundamental goals of life: self-actualization.

Authenticity is one of the many virtues that I have learned to value during my time in SMA, and it translates in my life as an artist, a college student, and an individual.

All things considered, I am still involved in music. I am in an ensemble and I happen to have very talented and musical hall mates who I jam with religiously.

I feel right at home.

I hope that you all have an exceptional February and a great Black History Month

Until next time...

               

 _________________________________________________________________________________________


These are merely a few rare and unique opportunities to mentor Memphis youth through music education and unique performance opportunities. Please continue to assist our efforts and know that your gift is being put to use, celebrating the soulful past—and securing the bright future—of this legendary ‘Soulsville’ community. Thanks for your generous support.

Staxtacular 2014 Performance
Staxtacular 2014 Performance
CEO Mark Wender with Senior Alandria
CEO Mark Wender with Senior Alandria

Links:

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