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Elementary and Primary Education
Houston Independent School District
News Release
Monday, September 12, 2011

Kashmere HS to Host Special Screening of Jamie Foxx Documentary Thunder Soul
Film tells the story of the late Conrad “Prof” Johnson and the famous Kashmere Stage Band

The Kashmere High School auditorium will be transformed into a state-of-the-art movie theater on Wednesday as current students and leaders of the Kashmere community enjoy a special screening of Thunder Soul, a documentary presented by Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx.

The event begins at 1:30 p.m. at Kashmere High School, 6900 Wileyvale, and news reporters are invited to attend.

The film, set for release in theaters on Sept. 23, tells the story of the Kashmere Stage Band that gained national acclaim in the 1960s and 1970s under the guidance of legendary director Conrad “Prof” Johnson. The band reunited in 2008 to pay final tribute to Johnson shortly before his death. On Wednesday, the original band members will come together again to play alongside current Kashmere students immediately before the screening.

“It means tons to the community to see the rebirth of the Stage Band,” said Kashmere alumnus Jimmie Walker, an original Stage Band trombone player who will be conducting on Wednesday. “The kids get inspiration from that.”

Houston Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier will use Wednesday’s event to call on community members to mentor students in Kashmere and other HISD neighborhoods through Big Brothers Big Sisters. HISD is partnering with the non-profit organization and some of the city’s strongest African American fraternities – Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi, and others – to serve youngsters across the district.

“Prof Johnson poured his soul into mentoring generations of Kashmere youngsters who have grown up to be great contributors to this community,” Dr. Grier said. “We know this compelling documentary will inspire others to follow his example.”

The film will be introduced by Director Mark Landsman and students will be treated to a short video message from Jamie Foxx.

Under Johnson’s leadership, the Kashmere Stage Band became famous for playing Johnson’s original musical pieces that offered a popular brand of funk while competing bands were still playing 1940’s-era big band standards. They recorded albums, won dozens of contests, and toured internationally.

Thunder Soul documents the band’s 2008 reunion during Johnson’s final days. Throughout the film, Johnson’s former students testify about the positive impact he had on their lives.

Roadside Attractions, the film’s distributor, has arranged for the Kashmere auditorium to be outfitted with the latest movie theater sound and visual equipment for Wednesday’s screening. All HISD principals and music teachers have been invited to a second screening at Kashmere, beginning at 6 p.m. It will be followed by a panel discussion on the value of mentors with Director Mark Landsman; the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Windsor Village United Methodist Church; and others.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a donor-supported volunteer organization that places caring adults in the lives of children in one-to-one mentoring relationships. Through the positive impact of those friendships, children with a Big Brother or Big Sister are more likely to graduate from high school and are less likely to begin using drugs, begin using alcohol or engage in negative conflict. For more information, contact 888.887.BIGS or www.bbbstx.org.

The Houston Independent School District is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States with 281 schools and more than 200,000 students. The 301-square-mile district is one of the largest employers in the Houston metropolitan area with nearly 30,000 employees.

For more information, visit the HISD Web site at www.houstonisd.org.






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