Memphis Soul to be celebrated at The White House - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Memphis Soul to be celebrated at The White House

Adrian Williams Adrian Williams
Stephani Brownlee Stephani Brownlee

(WMC-TV) - Soulsville Charter School and Stax Music Academy students are headed to the nation's capitol to enjoy and participate in a week of activities highlighting "Memphis Soul" music.

Soulsville Charter School and Stax Academy Senior's Adrian Williams and Stephani Brownlee are two of only 120 middle and high school students from across the country, invited to participate in an interactive workshop in the State Dining Room at The White House.

"It's hard to believe. It's like, I'm going to The White House," said Adrian Williams. "Am I really going to The White House? Maybe not!"

"I'm just so excited. Just to, you know, represent Memphis, the Stax Music Academy and Soulsville Charter School," said Stephani Brownlee.

The Soulsville USA: The History of Memphis Soul workshop is part of President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama's "In Performance at The White House" series. This time, they are focusing on Memphis Soul.

"Think, this is a great opportunity to be an ambassador for Stax, Soulsville, and Memphis, because, you know, the Stax music is heard all around the world and for me to live here and actually be at the heart of soul music, I think that I have a good inside knowledge about it," said Brownlee.

The students are also looking forward to meeting some of the artists who, in addition to performing in the concert, will also share their experiences and answer student questions during the workshop.

"I'm most excited about seeing Michelle Obama. But, also Justin Timberlake, because he just had an awesome album to come out that was so good," said Williams. "So, I'm gonna make sure I'm wearing my suit and tie."

Stax Academy Vocal and Operations Director Justin Merrick is excited to see his hometown, Washington, D.C.

"But, I think the main part about the experience is seeing how the students can grow from the exposure and being able to soak up that, this isn't just a national but an international icon," said Merrick.

Stax Museum Director Lisa Allen will be in the audience for the concert.

"And, knowing that we're preserving and promoting the legacy and that we're celebrating 10 years at Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Then, to have The White House celebrate it along with us on a national level, it's all so overwhelming," said Allen.

"It's an amazing feeling. And I'm just so proud of Memphis. I'm so proud of the artists from the past, you know," said Williams.

The Soulsville, USA workshop will be streamed live at The White House's website at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 9. The concert will be streamed at the same site at 5:55 p.m.

The Memphis Soul concert will be broadcast April 16 on WKNO.

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