Stax Music Academy 20th Anniversary in 2020 includes performances, workshops, music marathons, and more

With the Stax Music Academy gearing up for its 20th anniversary in 2020, the months-long celebration will include special performances, workshops, a global practice challenge, a live-streamed music marathon, special Summer Music Experience Grand Finale, alumni reunion/donor appreciation event, and much more. Here is the full list of events with more details to come.


 Stax Music Academy Practice Challenge. January is a great time to set goals for the upcoming year. Practice is the foundation of mastering any skill. The Stax Music Academy will kick off 2020 by reestablishing our culture of practice towards great musicianship. Stax Music Academy staff and students will challenge their friends and peers worldwide to join them for one month of daily 30-minute practice regimens. The students will raise money for the SMA by securing sponsors to support their commitment. #smapracticechallenge

Stax Music Academy Music Career Fair. The 2nd Annual Music Career Fair explores jobs that support people in the entertainment industry. Students from around the city are invited to this free event and will learn the paths to successful, fruitful careers in the entertainment sector. Last year, professionals from entertainment law, engineering, software development, event management, museum and nonprofit administration, public relations, video directors, music supervisors, and more spoke to students to explain the importance of their work and how to be part of these exciting career opportunities.

Stax Music Academy opens for legendary Booker T. Jones. On January 18, 2020, the Stax Music Academy will be the opening act for Stax and music industry icon Booker T. Jones of Booker T. & the MGs at Crosstown Theater at 8 p.m. Tickets are $60.


Black History Month Show. The Stax Music Academy’s special 20th Anniversary Black Month presentation, “Let’s Do It Again,” will have you dancing in your seats as we take a look at Stax classics that have been sampled or covered by contemporary artists. From Ariana Grande and John Legend, come along our soulful ride and see if you recognize every song. There will be a free morning show for Shelby County Schools students (reservations required) and a ticketed evening performance.


Production Week & Beat Battle. Production Week focuses on aspects the behind the scene roles that make sure the show goes on stage. The week features recording and video workshops for students at all skill levels. Our annual Production Week wraps up the week with a community-wide Beat Battle emceed by a celebrity host during which one talented student will walk away with a $500 cash prize.


 Memphis vs. New Orleans: Partnership with Trombone Shorty Foundation. The Stax Music Academy and Trombone Shorty Foundation will join forces to celebrate the indigenous sounds of the world-renowned music cities of Memphis and New Orleans. One night of Memphis soul will battle with New Orleans’ funky jazz at Crosstown Theatre. Phase 1 New Orleans students will visit the University of Memphis and Rhodes College. Phase 2 sends Stax Music Academy students to New Orleans for a college visit.

Soul Search. SMA and Hattiloo Theatre are teaming up to present Soul Search, a vocal celebration of the best youth voices in Memphis. Celebrity judges will select one Junior and one Senior High champion who will each receive scholarships to SMA’s Summer Music Experience and prizes from Memphis Slim House Collaboratory and Royal Studio.


 Soul Marathon. Stax legends and Stax Music Academy students and alumni join forces for 16hours of continuous music live from Stax Music Academy and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. This will include a ticketed Soul Brunch to refresh everyone as we slide into the final hours of this music explosion. You don’t have to be present to join in the celebration, as it will be broadcast live via the World Wide Web.

Community Blues Jam: In conjunction with Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Awards, local, regional, and national blues musicians will host a jam session with students of the Stax Music Academy

Memphis In May Tribute. Stax Music Academy will perform a special tribute to Ghana in memory of Honorary King of Ghana, Stax legend Isaac Hayes.


Stax Music Academy Summer Music Experience. The Stax Music Academy Summer Music Experience is a 4-week intensive music camp that prepares young musicians for the rigors of a career in the music industry. With classes in Stax history, songwriting, music production, and music business, students are given the opportunity to write and record their own songs and learn how to market themselves using web-based tools and digital media.

International Make Music Day/Stax Music Academy 20th Birthday Concert Celebration. Celebrate 20 years of the Stax Music Academy on International Make Music Day on June 21, 2020. Started in France, the day is marked around the world with free music events that bring the community together. At SMA we believe in the power of soul music so Memphis’s entry into the international salute will be a birthday celebration on the Soulsville campus with live music, cake, and family-friendly activities.

Summer Music Experience Grand Finale. Summer Music Experience culminates with a Grand Finale Concert Grand Finale at Levitt Shell, Saturday, June 27, 2020 (Rain Date June 28) reaching an audience of over 5,000 people. Bring your lawn chairs and be ready to sing Happy Birthday along with students, alumni, local celebrities, and fans.


Stax Music Academy Alumni Homecoming Party and 2020 Donor Appreciation Celebration. Those who have donated xx dollars to the Stax Music Academy during 2020 in honor of our 20th Anniversary will be treated to donor appreciation event that will also include the largest gather of Stax Music Academy graduates to date and a special celebration for 2020 donors.