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As a member of the O.V. Wright Memorial Fund team, you are receiving this email to help keep you informed about what's going on.
This past monday, June 23rd, there was a meeting in Memphis at which Red Kelly delivered a Cashier's Check in the amount of $1763.02, which was the total amount received so far through our PayPal campaign, to Preston Lauterbach, the man who started all of this in the first place:
The other gentleman in the photograph is Sylvester Sartor, the newest member of our team. An invaluable addition, Sylvester knows just about everybody in Memphis, and will be assisting us as we move forward with our plans. He is currently in discussions with the Cemetery about just what type of memorial our contributions will allow us to purchase, and we will keep you posted on what he finds out.
Now for the exciting part:
Sylvester has been friends with Willie Mitchell for years, and was the man behind getting Willie his long overdue 'Trustees Award' at the Grammys this past February. He agrees with us that any celebration of O.V. Wright's work must include Mr. Mitchell, who produced virtually every thing he ever recorded. Thanks to Sylvester, Red was able to meet with Willie at Royal Studio on June 22nd, and talk with him about our plans for some kind of tribute concert this Fall in conjunction with the laying of the stone.
Here's what he had to say:
"...you've got the eggs and the ham, right? Well let me tell you something, if you all are the eggs, I'm the pig!"
In other words, he's whole hog on this and ready to go. We spoke about using Hi Rhythm as the back-up band for the concert ("no problem," he said, "I practically raised Teenie Hodges up..."), and spoke a little about our concept of a host of different singers performing O.V. Wright's material. Which, of course, brought us to the subject of Al Green:
"Al's funny," Willie said, "Let me call him. I'll tell him when he's got to show up, and he'll be there, don't worry."
SO, as you can see, this whole idea of ours is beginning to grow. With Willie on board, the possibilities are truly amazing.
The target date for the concert is Saturday, November 15th, with a graveside ceremony (and possible Gospel concert) scheduled for the following day.
There is an incredible amount of work ahead of us to make this happen. We are working on possible sponsorship options now, as well as political and governmental backing. A concert of this scope (which, if you think about it, not only honors O.V., but Willie Mitchell as well here in his 80th birthday, Grammy award winning year) needs to be held in the right setting (like the Orpheum Theater), and consequently will take some serious financial backing.
We can do this, folks. There is no force so great as an idea whose come. It is time for Memphis to stand up and honor O.V. Wright, Willie Mitchell, and the incredible body of work that Royal Studio continues to produce to this day.
We welcome any of your thoughts and contributions about all of this, and your assistance in spreading the word. There are, of course, no firm commitments on any of this as yet... and I am writing to you before we post anything on the web about it... but just imagine the possibilities!
...like Al Green, Don Bryant, Otis Clay, Percy and Spencer Wiggins, Syl Johnson, Ann Peebles, etc. etc all backed by the one and only Hi Rhythm.
Lord have mercy!
THE O.V. WRIGHT MEMORIAL FUND