Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Stax Music Academy are launching virtual Black History Month events to bring the Stax story to students of all ages worldwide.
Throughout American history, music has played a pivotal role in the fight for racial equality. From the message songs that imprisoned Africans crafted as a way to communicate with each other during slavery, to the impassioned protest songs during the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century, the soundtrack generated by Black singers, musicians and writers has brought as much strength to the struggle as any factor in the fight for freedom.
This month, February 2021, the world-renowned Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Stax Music Academy in Memphis plan to blend these echoes of the past with technology of the future by offering virtual Stax Museum “field trips” and a Stax Music Academy Black History Month concert called “R & R: Rhythm and Revolution: Expressions of Struggle, Collaboration and Peace.”
ABOUT THE STAX MUSEUM VIRTUAL TOUR
For more than 17 years, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music has been a favourite destination for school groups and children of all ages from all around the world. With almost all travel and field trips halted during the COVID pandemic and much of the new virtual learning excluding exposure to the arts, the Stax Museum will now help fill that gap by offering educational and entertaining virtual field trips & museum tours that are student-friendly but of interest to the entire family.
Blending elements of a traditional museum tour, interviews, and live musical performances, this virtual museum experience will share the history of Stax Records and Memphis music through those who lived it and continue to be impacted by its legacy. Featured tour guides include former Stax Records employees, Stax Music Academy students, staff, and alumni and a number of popular Memphis musicians.
This all-ages tour will help the Stax Museum continue introducing new generations to the authentic music created at Stax and offer keen insight into the culture that existed there. From stories of opportunity and empowerment to racial equality, social justice and the pure magic of making timeless music, this engaging, informative experience will be available at staxmuseum.com beginning 10th February 2021 for those who register for a free student stream or pay-what-you-can-donate option for others.
ABOUT THE STAX MUSIC ACADEMY BLACK HISTORY MONTH CONCERT
Traditionally, the Stax Music Academy has hosted two live, in-person performances in celebration of Black History to an audience of roughly 2,000 fans collectively. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and safety-related issues, instead of these live concerts it will present an online variety show made available free to students, schools, and youth organisations locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. There will also be a pay-what-you-can donation option for others who wish to see the show.
“R & R: Rhythm and Revolution: Expressions of Struggle, Collaboration, and Peace” will feature songs made famous by artists like Aretha Franklin and the Staple Singers to Al Green, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Janet Jackson, Albert King, and Johnnie Taylor. Mixed with jazz, spoken word, and original music from SMA’s talented students, viewers will experience music of the Civil Rights Movement and more recent anthems in this upbeat production designed especially for students who are currently lacking access to the arts during the COVID pandemic.
Educators and parents are also invited to utilise the companion elementary school and middle/high school study guides to teach the messages behind the music. The study guide offers a deeper educational experience for teachers and parents and includes a set of questions that can be used to help young people process some of the thoughts and feelings that arise in the topics the concert will address. For the first time ever, our Black History Month study guide includes a songwriting competition with a cash prize for the winner (must be in grades 4-12). Be sure to register as an “Educator” in the EventBrite Link to receive access to the study guides.
The virtual Black History Month show will be filmed in various significant locations in Memphis including the world-renowned Stax Museum. Other student music videos around Memphis include the I AM A MAN Plaza at historic Clayborn Temple, the spiritual hub of the 1968 Sanitation Workers Strike that brought Dr. Martin Luther King to Memphis; World Famous Beale Street, and Royal Studios, home of Hi Records and artists like Al Green and Ann Peebles.
“As important as the Black History Month lessons are in this virtual production, it is more than anything a show of sheer entertainment for students of all ages and parents alike,” said Stax Music Academy Executive Director Pat Mitchell Worley. “Our students are performing for other students and have been involved in every aspect of the show, from designing costumes to engineering and production to even filming dance lessons for other young people to emulate and enjoy.”
“R & R: Rhythm and Revolution: Expressions of Struggle, Collaboration and Peace” will be live on the Stax Music Academy’s website starting 17th February, 2021. To RSVP for your child, school, youth group or other organisation and get the study guides in advance of the show, please click HERE.
For more information and/or images, please contact Tim Sampson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE ABOUT THE STAX MUSEUM
The Stax Museum is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of Stax Records, The Memphis Sound and all American soul music. Located at the original site of Stax Records in the Memphis neighbourhood known as Soulsville USA, it features videos, interactive exhibits, vintage musical instruments and recording equipment, more than 2,500 items of memorabilia, and permanent exhibits that include a circa-1906 Mississippi Delta church, recreation of Stax Records’ legendary recording studio, an “Express Yourself Dance Floor,” a Hall of Records with roughly 300 Stax LPs and 900 45 singles, and Isaac Hayes’ Peacock-blue, gold-trimmed 1972 Cadillac Eldorado complete with a television and refrigerator. Recently named by USA Today among the top three music museums in North America, it was featured on January 20, 2021 as the location for singers Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons in the "Celebrating America” primetime television special as part of the Biden-Harris Presidential Inauguration.
MORE ABOUT THE STAX MUSIC ACADEMY
Stax Music Academy is a premier after school and summer music institute that prepares students to earn music scholarships to college and for careers in the music industry. Its combination of high-quality music education, unique performance opportunities, and creative youth programming includes lessons in vocal and instrumental training, music theory, music business, songwriting, and audio production and engineering, as well mentorship from dedicated staff and professional mental wellness counselors that help promote leadership skills, critical thinking, positive self-image, and social consciousness. Students have performed in Italy, Australia, France, Germany, England, New York’s Lincoln Center, and Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center. In 2016, they performed for the grand opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. They also recently performed with Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons in the aforementioned “Celebrating America” television special for the Biden-Harris Presidential Inauguration.
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