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Fundraising is Music to their Ears

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger | Photos by Nicole Robbins

The Soulsville Foundation was joined by Grizzlies guard/forward Vince Carter and the Memphis Grizzlies in hosting the 13th annual Staxtacular. The event was presented by SunTrust at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and served as the largest fundraiser of the year for the Stax Music Academy (SMA).

This year’s event was presented as a progressive party, with attendees treated to complimentary parking as they started their evening at the Soulsville Charter School’s AutoZone Get in the Zone Gymnasium. There guests had the opportunity to mix and mingle with Carter and other members of the Memphis Grizzlies. Musical entertainment was provided by students of the Stax Music Academy.

For next stop, the party proceeded to the adjacent building housing the Stax Music Academy for food and cocktails. Also, guests tried their skill at vintage video games and shot hoops with equipment games from Broad Avenue’s Rec Room. And, party-goers took to the dance floor to enjoy the musical entertainment provided by the Stax Music Academy Alumni Band (Stax Academy graduates.)

The final party destination was the Stax Museum for more food and cocktails, a silent mobile-bid auction, dancing, and live music by the new Stax Records/Concord Music Group artists Southern Avenue.

“Southern Avenue is the first Memphis band signed to the new Stax Records/Concord Music Group label,” said Tim Sampson, communications director for the Soulsville Foundation. “The band’s keyboardist, Jeremy ‘Mr. 88’ Powell, was the first former Stax Music Academy student signed to Stax Records. It felt like we were making history again, much in the way that the original Stax Records did, by featuring special hometown talent from Memphis.”

Powell is considered by many to be one of the best keyboardists playing today. “Stax taught me discipline,” Powell says. “I started playing trumpet just one year before joining the Stax Music Academy. That after-school program helped me to develop my passion and ear for music. While learning theory and different compositions on the trumpet at Stax, I taught myself to do the same on the keyboard at home.”

Guests circulated among tables to place their bids on silent items such as sports memorabilia, music-related items, jewelry, original art and vacations. One of the most popular items featured cooking lessons with a Sousville Charter School student who has worked at Chez Philippe, Capriccio Grill and Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, and is now employed by Catherine and Mary’s. The item garnering the highest bid was a privately-chartered airplane trip. Over the years, Staxtacular has raised more than $1 million for the Stax Music Academy.

“All proceeds from Staxtacular 2017 benefit the Stax Music Academy, which inspires young people and enhances their academic, cognitive, performance, and leadership skills by utilizing music with an intense focus on the rich legacy and tradition of Stax Records,” explained Sampson. “Almost all of our SMA students attend via scholarships provided by the Soulsville Foundation through fundraising efforts such as Staxtacular.”


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