Founded in 2000, Stax Music Academy (SMA) was created to provide viable, affordable options for mentoring and youth development, using music as its tool. The Academy especially focuses on serving at-risk youth of the surrounding Soulsville area, the fertile M phis neighborhood that gave birth to numerous legendary songwriters and performers, including Aretha Franklin who sang in her father's Metropolitan Baptist Church as a young girl, David Porter, Stax Records house composer, and Al Green whose 1970s mega-hits were recorded at Willie Mitchell's Royal Studios. SMA provides students with music education and unique performance opportunities, with the goals of enhancing their leadership and academic skills and inspiring th to become facilitators for community change. SMA's vision is rooted in the belief that music can shape a young person's life. We use music as a tool to mentor young people, and instill th with a set of values and skills that will serve th throughout the rest of their lives. The Academy bodies the spirit of harmony, respect, and cooperation that defined M phis' legendary Stax Records, the M phis-based label that was highly influential from the 1960s to 1970s in R&B and soul music, and introduced the world to such legends as Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Booker T. the MG’s. Like its namesake, SMA welcomes young people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, and provides th with unique opportunities to learn, grow, and truly find their voices. Stax Music Academy is a subsidiary organization of the Soulville Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that also operates the Stax Museum of American Soul Music located on the original site of Stax Records and The Soulsville Charter School. These organizations work to enhance community progress by preparing youth and preserving the Soulsville historical legacy. Stax Music Academy presents performances by a select group of students at the Folklife Festival from June 30th to July 4th.