Newberry Tanks is proud to be a Gold Sponsor the Stax Music Academy and THIS WEEK we are matching donations for their annual #MusicMustContinue campaign! The campaign raises tuition money for talented middle school and high school musicians to train with professionals and learn the business.
Why do we do this? Because in 1946, a young guitarist showed up at the home of legendary artist Bukka White in Memphis, needing a job and an intro to the Memphis blues scene. The kid was pretty good, so Bukka did both. He got him a job at Newberry Tanks, and introduced Memphis to man who would become the King of the Blues — B.B. King.
B.B. King wasn’t the first or last musical legend that needed our help to give the world an everlasting gift.
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.