We Got Rhythm!
Newberry Tanks is a proud Gold Level Sponsor for Stax Music Academy, a program of the Soulsville Foundation, which also operates the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Founded in 2000, the Academy is celebrating 20 years of equipping young musicians with the skills they need to excel in music, as well as leadership training. In addition to our sponsorship, Newberry Tanks is proud to support Stax Music Academy’s #MusicMustContinue campaign by matching every donation made during the week of August 3 up to $5,000!
COVID-19 has forced many organizations — including Stax Music Academy — to go virtual. Simultaneously, many schools are slashing their budgets for the arts, so Stax Music Academy is now providing free virtual workshops and classes for all students in Shelby County to those without. The music must continue for these young students. Together, we can be a lifeline for kids across Memphis and Shelby County, making music education accessible regardless of their ability to pay.
Why is Newberry investing in a Memphis music academy? Read on.
Newberry Employee of the Year 1946: B.B. King
In 1946, Newberry Tanks was a thriving supplier of oil tanks and equipment thanks to hard work, quality products, reliable delivery times, and intentional innovation. But that year, Newberry was also the employer of legendary blues guitarist Booker (Bukka) White, and his young second cousin…none other than the ‘King of the Blues’ himself, B.B. King.
The story goes like this: Bukka worked for founder Jimmy Newberry at Newberry Tanks long before he became a celebrity, his skills as welder as deft as his skills on a guitar. After a stint in prison, Bukka needed a job and went back to see Jimmy. Bukka was expecting a no, but Jimmy hired him back, believing everyone deserves a second chance.
One day Bukka arrived home to find his young cousin, Riley King, asleep on his stoop. Going by “Blues Boy” (soon to become B.B.), the King of the Blues was barely more than a teenager. He’d hitched all the way from Mississippi, in the hope his famous cousin would introduce him to the Memphis music scene. Bukka not only did that, but introduced him to Jimmy so he could support himself. Together, Bukka and B.B. welded by day at Newberry, and set fire to Memphis blues scene at night.
Bukka never forgot the kindness Jimmy Newberry had shown him and his young cousin: he stayed with the company the rest of his career. B.B. left Newberry to become a musical legend.
The Music Must Continue
Today Newberry Tanks is committed to continuing Jimmy’s legacy of supporting musicians in recognition of and respect for the talents and craftmanship of our current and former employees.
Making music just got a little harder, while playing a key role in keeping us all going through these hard times. The music must indeed continue. Here at Newberry, we are #StrongAsSteel” and we intend to help make sure these kids, the community, and the world at large can foster and enjoy the music. Join us in supporting and celebrating the work this wonderful academy is doing. And be sure to tune in for their music online! They can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Help us in supporting this worthy cause! You can donate here.
Newberry Tanks and Memphis-based Stax Music Academy Announce Sponsorship
West Memphis, AR May 7, 2020 – Today Newberry Tanks LLC and the Memphis-based Stax Music Academy jointly announced that Newberry is a new Gold Level Sponsor for several programs of the academy. The sponsorship will enable talented children and young adults to receive musical training and mentorship at Stax.
The brainchild of Memphis business professionals, philanthropists, and former Stax Records artists and founded in conjunction with the adjacent Stax Museum of American Soul Music at the original site of Stax Records, the Stax Music Academy is now celebrating its 20th anniversary as both an institute that offers intensive music education and youth development programming.
The investment holds special meaning for Newberry Tanks as well.
Newberry Tanks CEO Chris Long commented, “As a Memphis company, we feel we have a responsibility to uphold the tradition started by our founder, Jimmy Newberry, in supporting the blues and blues musicians. Not many people know this, but back in the 1940’s, Newberry Tanks employed Bukka White and B.B. King as welders, even though Bukka was newly released from prison and King had no experience as a welder. Full-time employment wasn’t always easy to find in post-war Memphis, but Jimmy believed in them both, and by enabling them with full-time employment, he helped enable them to give the gift of their music to the world.”
Long continued, “Great music is a gift that never ages, while great talent is rare and frequently in need of support. We have watched the students at the Stax Music Academy for years and we’ve decided it’s our duty to get involved. We look forward to a great partnership with the Stax Music Academy for many years to come.”
According to Stax Music Academy Executive Director Pat Mitchell, “The Stax Music Academy is always appreciative of corporate support and sponsorships, but this new partnership with Newberry Tanks holds a special place for us because of their involvement in the rich history of Memphis music, which is the core of what we teach, study, and perform. Blues and rhythm and blues are genres in which our students excel, so it’s only fitting that the company that once employed B.B. King and Bukka White are now supporting the Stax Music Academy.”
For more than 90 years, award-winning Newberry Tank and Equipment has been manufacturing quality aboveground and underground steel tanks for the American Supply Chain and every branch of the U.S. military. The “Think Tank” of Oil and Petroleum storage, Newberry Tanks is intent on innovation: offering tanks on demand, dedicated customer service, turnkey solutions, and the fastest delivery in the country. *Ask about our Preferred Customer Program
Founded in June 2000, the Stax Music Academy inspires young people and enhances their academic, cognitive, performance, and leadership skills by utilizing music with an intense focus on the rich legacy and tradition of Stax Records. It exists to nurture and present the next generation of great Soul Communicators from the greater Soulsville region, holistically equipping them to excel and to impact the world through the universal language of music.