Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Stax Music Academy Students Bring Rhythm & Revolution Online

Posted By on Tue, Feb 9, 2021 at 11:54 AM

The Stax Music Academy (SMA) is buzzing with activity these days, as students and instructors work in its studios, and fan out across the city, for a little R&R.

No, they're not taking a vacation, and this is not for rock 'n' rollers only. Rather, the entire academy has shifted into high gear for its upcoming online presentation, “R & R: Rhythm and Revolution: Expressions of Struggle, Collaboration, and Peace.”

click to enlarge Young Stax Academy performer - COURTESY OF STAX MUSIC ACADEMY
  • Courtesy of Stax Music Academy
  • Young Stax Academy performer

This virtual show replaces the two live performances typically held by the academy in celebration of Black History Month. Though most musical fans will be asked to pay a donation, the program will be made available at no cost to students, schools, and youth organizations across the world.

And the SMA is taking that last part seriously, offering a study guide so educators can present the show to students in a considered way. The guide includes a set of questions that can be used to help young people process some of the thoughts and feelings that may arise on topics the concert will address. And, for the first time ever, the SMA study guide also includes a songwriting competition for students in grades 4-12, with a cash prize for the winner.

click to enlarge Stax Music Academy students creating video for Rhythm & Revolution - BILLIE WORLEY
  • Billie Worley
  • Stax Music Academy students creating video for Rhythm & Revolution
Aiming to be an "upbeat production designed especially for students who are currently lacking access to the arts during the COVID pandemic," the online show will feature renditions of soul classics and original music by SMA’s students. Music of the Civil Rights Movement and more recent anthems will be highlighted, along with songs made famous by the likes of Aretha Franklin, the Staple Singers, Al Green, The Jackson 5, Janet Jackson and Albert King.
click to enlarge Stax Music Academy students creating video for Rhythm & Revolution - BILLIE WORLEY
  • Billie Worley
  • Stax Music Academy students creating video for Rhythm & Revolution
The virtual Black History Month show is even now being filmed in various locations in Memphis, including the I AM A MAN Plaza at historic Clayborn Temple, Beale Street, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and Royal Studios, home of Hi Records, and artists like Al Green and Ann Peebles.

click to enlarge Pat Mitchell-Worley
  • Pat Mitchell-Worley
“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,”  available on the Stax Music Academy’s website starting February 17, 2021. Register as an “Educator” in the EventBrite Link for access to study guides.


click to enlarge screen-shot-2021-02-02-at-11.53.28-am.png

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