Memphis. When we talk about American cities that have a rich musical heritage, Memphis is surely near the top of the list. Blues, soul, rhythm & blues, rock ‘n roll, rockabilly, rap, hip-hop—they all have deep roots in that Tennessee town. And the recent, critically-acclaimed film Take Me to the River revealed just how significant and far-reaching those roots are by bringing together the legends of Memphis’ soul music scene with artists of today to record a pioneering cross-genre, intergenerational album.
Inspired by Memphis’ rich history and by the film’s stirring “play it forward” musical message, we decided to bring Memphis—and some of its greatest artists—to the Museum for a full-on celebration and dance party…that will also help us raise much-needed funds for our education and outreach programs.
Headlining the evening’s musical entertainment will be William Bell, the legendary soul artist and songwriter for the world-famous STAX record label, and Jerry Harrison, songwriter, musician, producer and longtime member of the groundbreaking band of the 70s and 80s, the Talking Heads. (Jerry is also the producer of the film!) Joining them on stage will be two award-winning Memphis-born rappers, Frayser Boy and Al Kapone. Together they will pay homage to our musical heritage while adding a little 21st century musical flavor. And as if that’s not already enough, all this creativity will be backed up by the legendary Hi Rhythm Section (27 Gold and Platinum records in a row), the Royal Memphis Horns and alumni from the STAX Music Academy.
Gala tickets will be available beginning July 1, but don’t delay—many of our previous galas have sold out. You won’t want to miss this sure-to-be fantastic evening of music and fun. And items in the Silent Auction (another exciting part of the evening), will be posted on the Museum’s website by September 1.
Once again, we want to remind you: The Gala is one of the Museum’s most important fundraising activities of the year! It helps us raise the $100,000 needed to continue our educational and outreach programs and to serve the 6,000 schoolchildren and 35,000 visitors that walk through our doors each year.