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Staxtacular 2019

Grit, Grind and Get Funky

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger  | Photos by Don Perry

The Soulsville Foundation was joined by Grizzlies guard/forward Dillon Brooks and the Memphis Grizzlies in hosting the 15th 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 students at Stax Music Academy (SMA). 

This year’s event attendees were treated to complimentary valet parking as they started their evening in the lobby of the STAX Museum, where guests had the opportunity to mix and mingle with Brooks and other members of the Memphis Grizzlies. Bartenders from Memphis Bar Tie kept the libations flowing with craft cocktails, specialty drinks from Old Dominick Distillery and Staxtacular’s most famous beverage, “Shaft on Draft” from Bosco’s. Party-goers also enjoyed food catered by Simply Delicious, with candied bacon being a big crowd pleaser. 

As the evening progressed, current students of the Stax Music Academy performed in the museum’s Studio A. The band also led the crowd in doing “The Funky Chicken,” a dance made famous by the late, great entertainer Rufus Thomas. Next up, the legendary Bar-Kays delighted the crowd with their mixture of American soul, R&B, and funk. It was a homecoming of sorts for James Alexander, the group’s sole-surviving original member. The Bar-Kays formed in Memphis in 1966 and was one of the original house bands for Stax Records.

Afterwards, many in the crowd took to the dance floor to enjoy the musical entertainment provided by DJ Mary the K Live. Other guests circulated among tables in the museum’s Cadillac Corner, placing their bids on silent auction items. One of the most popular items was a large framed poster, created by Red Deluxe and framed by 1910 Frame Works. It featured autographs of all of the current members of The Bar-Kays. The item that garnered the highest bid was a seven-night stay at a condo in Holiday Inn Club Vacations Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee, FL, next door to Walk Disney Resort and Animal Kingdom. The travel package Included one-day passes to Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom and was donated by Kemmons Wilson Companies and Walt Disney World.

“Many of our students attend SMA via scholarships provided by the Soulsville Foundation through fundraising efforts such as Staxtacular,” said Pat Mitchell Worley, executive director of Stax Music Academy. “Since its inception, Staxtacular has raised over $1.4 million for Stax Music Academy.” 

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