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Monday, September 17, 2007

On a mission

Novella Smith Arnold has been, as Jake and Elwood might say, "on a mission from God."

She's gotten the autographs of eighteen legendary Stax Records artists, producers, and recording engineers on a handsome new Gibson ES-335 guitar. It's in connection with SIMposium 2007, a national conference of CIOs and information technology (IT) leaders being held in Memphis next month.

In honor of founder Jim Stewart, and in celebration of Stax's 50th anniversary, the guitar is being auctioned online to benefit the students of Stax Music Academy studying the use of technology in music production and management. The sponsor is SIM Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Society for Information Management.

The cherry-red Gibson bears the documented autographs of legends in the recording industry: Jim Stewart, Al Bell (owner of Stax in the 1970s), John Fry (founder of Ardent Recording Studios), and "Papa" Willie Mitchell (Hi Records, Al Green's producer). Also mastering engineer Larry Nix; engineer/producer Terry Manning.

Stax artists who have signed the guitar include: Academy Award-winning superstar Isaac Hayes; his former songwriting partner David Porter ("Soul Man"); soul men Steve Cropper and "Duck" Dunn (Booker T. and the MGs, The Blues Brothers); James Alexander and Larry Dodson (The Bar-Kays); keyboardist Lester Snell; guitarist Bobby Manuel; keyboardist Marvell Thomas (son of Rufus); guitarist Charles "Skip" Pitts (wah-wah on "Shaft"); singer-songwriter Don Nix; Stax songwriter and Soulsville founder Deanie Parker.

SIM members and SIMposium 2007 registrants and sponsors can bid. If you are not a SIM member, you can still register for the conference. Check with your company's CIO or IT department to find who in your organization is already attending SIMposium 2007 and could bid on your behalf. If they're not registered, perhaps they ought to do so for the professional benefits. Note: Pre-conference registration (giving you the login ID to bid) closes Monday, October 1; after that you must wait a week and register on-site.

Society for Information Management / SIM International is an association of senior information technology (IT) executives, prominent academicians, select consultants, and other IT thought leaders built on the foundation of local chapters, who come together at the SIMposium conference each year to share and enhance their intellectual capital for the benefit of members and their organizations.

For more information about the guitar signings and/or to obtain photos for publication, contact the webmaster of this site (link in in the sidebar).

Photo: Four of the guitar signers appear together in this photo of the rehearsal for the Stax 50th Anniversary concert at the Memphis Orpheum, June 22. Left to right: Lester Snell (partially obscured), Skip Pitts, Isaac Hayes, and Bobby Manuel. They're playing the theme from Shaft.

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