GlobalGiving Quarterly Report: Fall 2013
Stax Music Academy’s SNAP! After School
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.
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: 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.
Stax Academy Perfomance at Exhibit Opening in Berlin, Germany (Sept 26-30)-On September 29, a group of Students from the Stax Music Academy performed at Gibson Guitar Showroom in Berlin, Germany to celebrate the opening of a special exhibition on the music and culture of Memphis. The exhibit features photos and memorabilia (some on loan from the Stax Museum of American Soul Music) that tells the story of Beale Street, Sun Records, Stax Records, and Memphis' role in the Civil Rights Movement. The United States Ambassador to Germany, Philip Murphy, was among the audience members and was highly impressed with the students.
Stax Academy Jam Sessionz-On September 21 the Stax Academy began a series of jam sessions for students and local musicians. The session series will conclude November 21.
STAX! The Memphis Sound-Stax Music Academy students were featured at a performance of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and special guest Booker T. Jones (Booker T and the MGs). The students performed in the lobby of the Cannon Center of the Performing Arts prior to the symphony performance on October 14 and were also featured at a free concert at the Memphis Music Magnet (located near the Stax Music Academy) on October 15.
Berklee City Music Network Conference-On October 29, students from the Stax Music Academy performed at a Master Class session featuring "P-Funk" legend George Clinton at the Berklee City Music Network Conference in Memphis. The performance was co-hosted by the Soulsville Foundation and the Berklee College of Music of Boston, MA.
Our donors make wonderful opportunities like these possible for our students. Thank you as always for your continued support! Please let us know how we can help you spread the word about the Stax Music Academy
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