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...
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.
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.
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.
GlobalGiving Quarterly Report: Fall 2013
This fall has gotten off to a great start. We continue to grow, as we expand our programming incorporating music education to the curriculum at the Soulsville Charter School, reaching new heights, and setting even higher goals. Our future soul communicators have really demonstrated dedication and determination getting this new school year and music season started off on the right note!
Less than a month into the year, we have had workshops and visits from the world-renown Bass Player Victor Wooten, Rick James’ protégées- the Mary Jane Girls and former Stax Artist Sam Moore returned home to Soulsville for the first time in over 2 decades. Like a powerful surge, Stax Music Academy has become the sonar for today’s Soul Music Eclectic in calling out across the world in shaping not only the next generation of Soul Communicators, but the Soul Ambassadors of tomorrow.
Stax Music Academy has formally expanded into handling the music education for The Soulsville Charter School Middle School during the day and has expanded our SNAP Afterschool Program to providing private lesson opportunities with local artists and music professionals for all of our students to receive. In addition, the Academy will be facilitating routine community service and leadership development opportunities where all students will be required to participate in at least 2 workshops a semester. Parents, if your child has not signed up for our supplemental “Auxiliary Track”-4pm-5pm, 2 hours a week of training during their allotted ensemble days- please make this happen.
New Programming at SMA (SMA/TSCS)
The Stax Music Academy is so excited to team up with the Soulsville Charter School as we provide all Soulsville students with dynamic music education during the school day. With the TSCS Initiative, SMA staff is now teaching choir, ethnomusicology, percussion, strings and winds to the sixth, seventh and eighth graders here on our campus. We are so excited to reach even more students and prepare them to engage the world as musicians and soul communicators.
Also new this year, SNAP! Afterschool Program is offering various tracks prior to ensemble rehearsals. Students may choose to study dance, drama, guitar, keyboard, electronic music and various levels of studio production. Through the tracks programming, students are gaining the skills necessary to becoming well-rounded and effective performers.
Victor Wooten Workshop
On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, students of the Stax Music Academy (SMA) were treated to a master class with five-time GRAMMY Award-winning bassist, Victor Wooten. All student musicians were invited to participate and bass players got the rare opportunity to engage in a Q& A and jam with one of the world’s foremost players of the instrument. Wooten is a bass player, composer, author and producer. He has won the “Bass Player of the Year” award from Bass Player magazine three times in a row, and was the first person to win the award more than once.
Students who attended the workshop all agreed that it was inspiring.
SMA student Solomon Smith said about the workshop, “It was exciting and nice. The workshop inspired me to change my mindset on how I approach music.”
David McKenzie added, “The workshop was wonderful, it was the best workshop I have ever been to. It really touched my heart and inspired me to want more out of my guitar.”
SMA was represented at the Christian Brothers Career and Internship Expo. We were able to connect with 14 students interested in working/interning with SMA!
On Friday, September 27, the pilot run for private study provided instruction in voice, saxophone, bass guitar, and piano for about 20 students. The next private study date will take place after fall break.*
During the week of Sep. 30 to Oct. 4, the Senior Academy students had the opportunity to see two performances: the dress rehearsal for the opera “Rigoletto” at GPAC on Oct. 1 (thoroughly enjoyed by students and staff!); and “FABULATION: or the Re-education of Undine”, a theatre production at the University of Memphis on Oct. 4.
Starting Friday, Oct. 11 from 2:30-5:30, our students will join the UrbanArt Commission to paint a mural on the pink abandoned salon that faces Stax on McLemore. This project is scheduled be completed over four Fridays and is open to all SMA students.
Bridge Builders will lead two workshops for high schools students. We are eager to see where this opportunity will inspire our students to become a strong leader, at home and in the community.
GlobalGiving Quarterly Report: Summer 2013
This summer has been one for record books at the Stax Music Academy! From packed house venues to delivering soul in the bayou, these kids have really out done themselves this quarter!
100% Acceptance into college!!!
The 100 percent acceptance rate was achieved last year in May. This year, it happened in February.
Just some of the schools to which students have been accepted this year are Rhodes College, Wesleyan University, Wake Forest University, Tufts University, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Barnard College, Morehouse College, Carleton College, Sewanee: The University of the South, Centre College, University of Virginia, and Rice University. Together the students received a total of over $9.2 million in scholarships.
SMA on Beale
As the Stax Music Academy marks its 10th year in 2013; its students can look back on a decade of performances with famous music stars, appearances at legendary venues and travel to exotic locales. What they’ve never done, however, is play regularly in Memphis.
All that’s changed this summer as a dozen Stax Music Academy alumni have been performing together as part of a series of free concerts at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and at B.B. King’s on Beale. It’s the first time such a group of former students — billed as the SMA Alumni Band — have joined forces. READ MORE HERE.
Summer Music Experience (SME)
The Stax Music Academy’s (SMA) June 2013 Summer Music Experience focused on “Soul Rockin’ Blue,” focusing on the evolution of early blues through later urban blues. With guest faculty members as diverse as Sun Records artist Randy Haspel of Randy & the Radiants to internationally renowned opera star Kallen Esperian, the students studied – in addition to the music itself – music business, marketing, production, songwriting, intellectual property law, and more.
Full House SME Finale!
The Summer Music Experience culminated with a public concert at Memphis’ Levitt Shell on June 30, 2013, in front of an estimated audience of 6,000 people, the largest to date this year in the Levitt Shell Concert Series. The show featured several original numbers written and produced by the kids themselves over the summer. Leaving the audience wanting more, we are already looking forward to next summer!
Summer Soul Tour
Following the SMA sendoff concert, the Summer Music Experience took 25 students on a trip through the Mississippi Delta, performing at some of the region’s top blues venues and culminating with two concerts in New Orleans.
First stop was Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. While in Clarksdale, the students also toured the Delta Blues Museum. From there, the Summer Soul Tour moved on to Indianola, Mississippi, where the students performed the same evening at one of the region’s most important juke joints, Club Ebony.
Fulfilling a last-minute request for Saturday night, the students were the featured entertainment in New Orleans for the Texas Southern University’s National Alumni Conference. Between sets, the students were treated to dinner at the famed Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club in New Orleans 9th Ward, where they witnessed both the remaining destruction and new revitalization in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Before heading home, the students performed at New Orleans’ legendary Tipitina’s music club during a youth music festival hosted by the Tipitina Foundation. Like SMA, the Tipitina Foundation is a Berklee College of Music City Music Network site. FULL ARTICLE HERE.
The students were also mentioned in a featured article in Baton Rouge’s The Advocate, click HERE to read.
GlobalGiving Quarterly Report: Stax Music Academy’s SNAP! After School
Stax Music Academy’s students have performed and participated in several community outreach initiatives in Memphis and are closing out the Spring Semester with a bang! Here are a few highlights:
Memphis Soul Celebrated at the White House
Stax Music Academy students attended one of the most unique opportunities to date, a celebration of Memphis Soul at the White House! SMA students participated in an interactive workshop entitled, “Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul,” in the presence of Stax legends such as Mavis Staples and Sam Moore, as well as performing artists Ben Harper, Charlie Musslewhite, and Justin Timberlake. You can read more here.
Stax Music Academy makes national news:
The Stax Museum’s 10th anniversary program on May 2nd brought out the very private founder of Stax Records, Jim Stewart, for his first public appearance on the Stax campus. Stax Music Academy had the privilege of performing at the event, and garnered national news coverage. You can read about it here on Huffington Post, but the article is appearing in several newspapers across the country.
The 3rd Annual Stax to the Max Street Festival:
Day 1: “Stax Comes Home” As a wonderful prelude to the Stax to the Max Festival, Stax hosted a private intimate experience with 30 newscasters, journalists, and radio personalities from around the world. Sweden, Berlin, Birmingham, London, Barcelona, and more raved about the incredible likes of the Stax Music Academy! Legendary Stax artists and icons like Al Bell, Bettye Crutcher, William Bell, The Temprees, The Astors, Deanie Parker, and our very own, Kirk Whalum, also had the opportunity to view, critique, and be astonished at the growth of our young superstars. Former Stax artist, William Bell, stated,
“Saturday, April 27th and Sunday, April 28th 2013 reaffirmed for me, that indeed the contribution I have made at Stax Records and Soulsville U.S.A., will remain long after I am gone. The Saturday international and local press interviews and luncheon, and the performance by the Stax Academy Kids were unequalled validations that the soul music legacy is in good hands. Kudos to the kids, who brought us all to tears with their performances of Legendary Stax songs."
Day 2: Stax to the Max Street Festival All ensembles performed before crowds of thousands celebrating the 12th anniversary of Stax Music Academy and the 10th anniversary of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music! There were over 9,000 people in attendance throughout the day, and everyone who attended enjoyed outstanding music, great vendors, and a family-friendly atmosphere. Free live music featured our very own Kirk Whalum, Stax artists: William Bell, The Astors, The Temprees, and the Mad Lads, as well as ArtsMemphis performers.
The Stax Music Academy premiered its newest program of the Academy- the Junior Academy, the Jazz Band represented like never before, and the blazing energy of the Senior Academy continues to drive home the value of our mission and the reason why we do what we do- create agents of change through music.
Soul School Spring Break – “Guitar Workshop & 3rd Annual “Be the Band” Workshop:
The Les Paul “Reel Sound of Soul Music” workshop enjoyed its largest turnout to date with 4 complete bands. The bands were directed by four of Memphis’ finest musicians: Barry Campbell, Winston Stewart, Pat Register, and Jonathan Richmond. The winning band, Modern Soul, completed the workshop by recording Deanie Parkers 1963 tune, “My Imaginary Guy", and Beyonce’s 2013 Grammy award winning song, “Love On Top”, to analog tape at Memphis University School. See more here!
Welcome to Soulsville Webisode Series
This year's Webisode Series entitled, “Welcome to Soulsville,” covers Stax Music Academy’s preparation for their annual Black History Month production. "The Sacred Side of Soulsville,” was written and directed by Justin Merrick, the Academy's Vocal/Choreography Director. The production followed soul music's evolution from its roots in the African-American church, to the "juke joints" of the South, and the blues of the Mississippi Delta. The show also featured a special performance by former Stax gospel artist Bishop Rance Allen as well as a riveting performance by Deborah Manning.
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Jam Session with A Stax Records Legend: On December 7, 2012, Stax Music Academy students enjoyed a jam session with legendary guitarist Steve Cropper of Booker T and the MGs. The afternoon consisted of a Q&A period in which students asked Cropper about his favorite Stax memories and his views on how to succeed in the music business. Afterwards, Cropper performed such songs as "Dock of the Bay" and "Green Onions" with students; student musicians also participated in an evening jam session with fellow musicians from as far away as The Netherlands (the evening session was a special benefit for the Academy).
Gospel Roots of Soul Portrayed in Stage Production: The Stax Music Academy presented a Broadway-style musical "The Sacred Side of Soulsville" on February 5, 2013. The production was written and directed by Justin Merrick, the Academy's Vocal/Choreography director. The show told the story of soul music's evolution from its roots in the African-American church, the "juke joints" of the South, and the blues of the Mississippi Delta. The show also featured a special performance by former Stax gospel artists Bishop Rance Allen and Deborah Manning. The Academy students performed at a matinee for school groups from across the region as well as an evening perfomance.
These and other tremendous opportunities would not be possible without your generous support! Thank you for your continued support of the SNAP! Program.
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