Stax students take history to the stage - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Stax students take history to the stage

Students from Stax took the stage Tuesday with major music stars like Kirk Whalum and Larry Dodson of the Barkays. Students from Stax took the stage Tuesday with major music stars like Kirk Whalum and Larry Dodson of the Barkays.

(WMC-TV) – Students from Stax took the stage Tuesday with major music stars like Kirk Whalum and Larry Dodson of the Barkays.

It was all part of two free, Broadway styled musical productions honoring Black History Month.

The musical is called "Welcome to Soulsville" and features a thumping beat and many of the hit songs that made Stax famous.

Designed to honor Black History Month, the musical tells the story of three students who are searching for knowledge about the Stax legacy and get to know themselves better in the process.

‘They're learning about their history," said Stax instructor Justin Merrick, the musical's author. "They are learning about their heritage over on McLemore. We have a line in the play that goes ‘Under the bridge and the way we go just got to follow old Bellevue Road."

The musical features Soulsville Foundation CEO Kirk Whalum and Barkays lead singer Larry Dodson.

The performance takes you behind the scenes to a time where Isaac Hayes, David Porter and many others made their mark on music.

"We have so many young people who don't know the legacy that we have in Memphis," said Mark Wender, COO of the Soulsville Foundation. "The music in particular is just incredible and this show will show people the music that emanated from their neighborhood, from Memphis and its and incredible body of work."

Judging from the applause after the morning performance, the show was a hit to students eager to learn about Stax and its place in history.

"They need to know about it and appreciate it," Wender said. "It's history. It's black history and it's history for everybody in our community."

The next production of "Welcome to Soulsville" gets underway at 7:30 tonight at the Cannon Center.

Admission is free.

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