A Memorial Day parade presented by the Evanston Community Council winds through the streets of Xavier’s next-door neighbor in celebration of the rebirth of King Records, a project involving several Xavier faculty and staff. The parade begins at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, May 31, at the Academy of World Languages on Fairfax Avenue in Evanston and makes a two-mile loop through the neighborhood that abuts the Xavier campus.
Local resident Bootsy Collins and Philip Paul, former King Records musicians, are riding on a float designed to look like a soundstage. The bands Urban Centric and Detroit National are performing in the parade. At the end, a new song celebrating the King Records rebirth is being unveiled.
King Records, located in Evanston near Xavier’s campus, was the first record company in the U.S. to be completely integrated. It featured many well-known rockabilly genre and R&B artists, including James Brown, and many hits including “The Twist.” Though the label was sold in 1968, the original studio has sat empty for years, and the King Studios project is working to preserve its legacy.
The project members held a contest and selected a song, “Funky Fresh,” written by Withrow High School senior Danielle David, for the parade. The music was created in collaboration with Paul, a former King Records drummer, and Steve Boller, a Xavier University music student.
Current board members for the King Studios project and its subcommittees include:
Bootsy Collins and Philip Paul; Byron White, former associate director for community engagement at Xavier; former Cincinnati City Councilman Jim Tarbell; Liz Blume, director for the Community Building Institute at Xavier; Community Building Institute staff member Pickett Slater Harrington; Xavier assistant professor of art Jonathan Gibson; Xavier associate professor of art Kelly Phelps; Xavier alumnus Corey Parker; Xavier associate professor of history Christine Anderson; and Xavier associate professor of music Tom Merrill.
For more information about the parade or about the King Studios project, please call 513-745-3263.