Yesterday was the first out-of-town stop for the middle- and high-schoolers (dubbed the Summer Soul Tour Band), and it was a doozy: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. After several other shows at high-profile digs, they’ll hit the Kennedy Center on Wednesday.
“This is the first time some of these kids will have gotten to take a trip like this,” says Stax Music Academy artistic director Ashley K. Davis. “It’s more than just playing music; it’s an educational trip and a cultural opportunity as well.”
To Mr. Davis, he’s merely helping Stax come full circle. He explains that back in the label’s heyday, “There were all these musical icons that lived in the neighborhood who could sing and play music who had no outlet, and today, it’s no different really.”
Mavis Staples’ and Isaac Hayes’ shoes may be tough ones for teens to fill on the concert stage, but the director says that his musicians aren’t daunted. “We’re doing ‘Dock of the Bay,’ and the kid who’s singing it is the youngest in the group — he’s 13,” says Mr. Davis. “He’s got to be about four feet tall, just a little shrimp of a guy. He’s the total antithesis of Otis, but this little kid has got a big voice on him. A big voice.”
The Stax Music Academy students play Wednesdayat 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. The show is free.