Last year, Rhodes’ Mike Curb Institute for Music partnered with the Levitt Shell in Overton Park to present a concert for the community. The event, also sponsored by the Rhodes Memphis Alumni Association, was a huge success and proved to be a great way for the Memphis community to converge with the Rhodes student community through music.
This year, Dr. John Bass, director of the Curb Institute, is excited about planning another Rhodes Night at the Levitt Shell to be held Sept. 14, and this time with a unique twist. Last year’s show featured Rhodes graduate and New York-based trumpet player Bill Mobley playing with an all-star band made of Memphis musicians. But this year’s guest artist Earlice Taylor will share the stage with various Rhodes musicians, creating an “amalgamation of professional musicians, students, alumni, and faculty.” Taylor is a jazz vocalist and alumna of Memphis’ Manassas High School.
The show also will feature performances by the Rhodes Faculty Jazz Players, including Bass on guitar, and the Rhodes Jazz Band, with Dr. Troutt joining them onstage for one number.
What excites Bass the most about this concert is that it will demonstrate that the Curb Institute is “looking at new kinds of projects.” Rather than being known as an organization that presents only big concerts and community events, this event will show that the Curb Institute is “involving students and creating something new.”
One of the initiatives of the Curb Institute, after all, is “to create partnerships in Memphis in order to create unique student experiences,” and giving students a chance to perform at the Levitt Shell allows for that and displays the talents of Rhodes students to a larger audience. At last year’s concert, there were an estimated 3,000 people in attendance.
Constructed as a Works Progress Administration project during the Great Depression, the Levitt Shell has encouraged a community built around music which is exactly what the Curb Institute hopes to achieve through this concert. Bass also notes that the Levitt Shell “offered opera nights to the community during the Great Depression” and is “the first place that Elvis Presley was paid to perform in Memphis.”
Rhodes Night at the Levitt Shell begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public, but the college will have a VIP tent where appetizers and beverages will be served. Admission is $20 per person and $15 for alumni graduating 2004-2013.Register online here.
(Information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate Sophie Anderson ’15)