|April 19, 2010|
Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist and music educator Kirk Whalum has been named president and CEO of the Memphis-based Soulsville Foundation.
On Thursday, following a long search, the board of Soulsville -- which includes the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Stax Music Academy and The Soulsville Charter School -- formally announced Whalum's appointment.
Whalum takes over for longtime Soulsville head Deanie Parker. Parker originally retired from her post in late 2007, but returned last year in an interim capacity after the departure of her replacement, Marc Willis.
The 51-year-old Whalum is no stranger to Soulsville, having grown up in the famed South Memphis neighborhood and having served as the Stax Music Academy's artist in residence since 2006.
"I felt I was already invested in Soulsville on so many levels, " said Whalum. "And so it was a matter of asking myself, 'Is this something you can do?' And the answer was yes."
"I just really wanted to qualita-tively invest -- more so than I was doing as artist in residence -- in the Soulsville kids and communi-ty," said Whalum.
Although Whalum will continue to record and tour, his new duties at Soulsville will mean a change in his performance obligations. "I'm 51, and I've been out here traveling for 25 years or more, and I've gotten to the point where I'm actually ready to scale back a little."
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