Despite Memphis’ well-deserved basketball reputation, Memphis is also traditionally a strong football town, particularly at the prep level. People turn out to see both the ball game, and also the battle between the bands and drumlins as well, and certain stadiums are historic locations for Memphis Black high school football, such as Booker T. Washington Stadium in South Memphis or Melrose Stadium in the center of Orange Mound. On Friday, September 19, 2014, I went out to the latter stadium to see the game between Whitehaven High School and the Melrose High School Golden Wildcats. Both schools brought their marching bands to the game, which isn’t always the case in Memphis these days, but Melrose seems to have declined in numbers in recent years, and its band, though it sounded good, was far smaller than I remembered in the past. Whitehaven, on the other hand, is one of the city’s premier high schools, academically, athletically and musically. Its band marches more than 100 members, and looks and sounds better than many colleges. The football game was a runaway for Whitehaven, but the band battle was more evenly matched, although I would have to give Whitehaven the advantage there too. Both bands pleased the crowd by playing a number of current hits, including Memphian Snootie Wild’s “Yayo”.
Although Memphis is known for basketball, the city has turned out a number of great football players, and much of it began with youth football programs like this one at Melrose Stadium in Orange Mound on Saturday mornings. On Southern Heritage Classic Parade day, the excitement is ramped up a notch, 9/8/12
Al Kapone and the U Dig Dance Academy jookers performing with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra at the Pop-Up Arts Festival at Melrose Stadium in Orange Mound, 4/29/12
Al Kapone (@ALKaponeMemphis) is one of the founders of Memphis rap, and a man who has contributed generously and selflessly to the Memphis music industry. Among his accomplishments is being one of the first rap artists to perform with a symphony orchestra. At the Pop-Up Arts Festival in Orange Mound last Sunday, Kapone performed a brief excerpt of his longer performance with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the jook dancers from the U Dig Dance Academy. It was a great ending to a great day in Orange Mound.
Jazz-A-Fire is the jazz ensemble of the Memphis Black Arts Alliance in South Memphis. It includes such great Memphis musicians as trumpeter Nokie Taylor, drummer James Sexton, pianist Steven Lee and bassist Kent Suggs, and runs a monthly jam session at the Alliance headquarters on Bellevue. Here they are performing for the crowd at Melrose Stadium during the Pop-Up Arts Festival in Orange Mound, 4/29/12
Neosoulville artist Juju Bushman wows the crowd at Melrose Stadium during the Pop-Up Arts Festival in Orange Mound, Memphis, 4/29/12. He performs regularly at The Word every Monday night at the Rumba Room on South Main in Memphis. #MemphisRising
The New Ballet Ensemble performing at Melrose Stadium for the Pop-Up Arts Festival in Orange Mound 4/29/12
The New Ballet Ensemble and School teaches all kinds of dance, from African to hip-hop, based at the campus of Dunbar Elementary in Orange Mound. Here are some of their students and instructors performing at the Pop-Up Arts Festival in Orange Mound 4/29/12
Young Memphis rap duo Sidewayz opened up the Pop-Up Arts Festival stage in Orange Mound on Sunday, 4/29/12