Explore the role of St. Louis in American popular music at the Missouri History Museum



Performances by Grammy Award-winning rapper Murphy Lee, Red & Black Brass Band, Funky Butt Brass Band, The Gentlemen of Vision team and more

St. Louis is often absent from the list of America’s great music cities, but it shouldn’t be. The origins of the first four genres of American pop music – ragtime, blues, jazz and country can be traced back to St. Louis.

A little over 1 hour from Rolla, residents can discover the sound of America in Saint-Louis. The region has produced legends that are on a first name basis around the world, such as Ike & Tina, Miles, Chuck and Nelly.

It was home to the “Velvet Bulldozer” Albert King, the “Black Venus” Josephine Baker and the original “king” of pop music, Scott Joplin. And don’t forget world-class songwriters like John Hartford, Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, and Willie Mae Ford Smith.

Few cities in the world can claim so many leaders in such a wide array of styles.

On Saturday, August 28, the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park will host the Grand Opening of St. Louis Sound, a free 6,000 square foot special exhibit that explores St. Louis’s vital role in American popular music history. of the dawn of the sound recorded at Nelly’s “Country Grammar”.

Over 200 historical artifacts from legendary musicians, world-class songwriters and important places will be on display.

“Our exciting lineup of opening weekend events gives our community the chance to come together, celebrate and connect to St. Louis’ deep musical heritage,” said Andrew Wanko, public historian and head of the exhibit content for St. Louis Sound. “We are delighted to invite you to discover why Saint-Louis is one of the most important cities in the world for musical invention and enjoyment.”

Throughout the weekend, see live performances on multiple indoor and outdoor stages, hands-on activities, and presentations from the team who created the exhibit and the people who take the pulse of the music scene of Saint-Louis.

Check out the full program below:

Saturday August 28

  • Inauguration ceremony with Murphy Lee, Grammy Award-winning rapper from platinum-selling group St. Lunatics, and Missouri Historical Society President Dr. Frances Levine at 10 a.m.
  • Live concert with Marko Polo and FIRE DOG from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Activities for the kids including coloring giant 2D guitars and painting rocks inspired by St. Louis Sound to add to the STL ROCKS rock garden from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Grab drinks and a meal at some of the best food trucks in Saint-Louis from 2pm to 6pm
  • The main outdoor stage kicks off with the Red & Back Brass Band from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
  • Murphy Lee and Friends Take to the Outdoor Stage 3:45 to 5 p.m.
  • KDHX broadcasts live in the MacDermott Grand Hall from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Music My Way with DJ LadyJock is live from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Catch Traveling at the Speed ​​of Sound with The Time Traveler G. Wiz from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday August 29

  • The Orchester symphonique de Saint-Louis performs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
  • Activities for the kids including coloring giant 2D guitars and painting rocks inspired by St. Louis Sound to add to the STL ROCKS rock garden from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Bobby Norfolk stars as Scott Joplin with pianist Brad Ellebrecht from 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
  • The national champion Gentlemen of Vision St. Louis step team performs from 2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
  • Keynote “Love that St. Louis Sound” featuring the Funky Butt Brass Band and local writers Amanda Doyle and Steve Pick from 3 pm to 4:30 pm

Artifacts on display include:

  • St. Louis Aluminum Foil, recorded by St. Louisan Thomas Mason in 1878 on a phonograph (a device recently invented by Thomas Edison), is the earliest playable recording of an American voice and the earliest known recording of a musical performance. In March 2021, the Library of Congress announced the “St. Louis tinfoil” is one of 25 “audio treasures worthy of preservation forever” to be inducted into their national registry.
  • Costumes from Treemonisha, the ill-fated opera from ragtime legend Scott Joplin. An original theatrical dress and artifact by artist, French resistance agent and civil rights activist Joséphine Baker.
  • Dress worn by Tina Turner on The Tonight Show.
  • Artifacts from the Imperial Club, which hosted Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm and televised dance performances.
  • Guitars owned by Chuck Berry, Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, Albert King and Mel Bay, who taught millions to play the guitar.
  • Trumpets by Miles Davis and Clark Terry.
  • Stage wear from legendary artists like Little Milton, Luther Ingram and the 5th Dimension.
  • The piano of Henry Townsend, the St. Louis blues legend whose recordings span nine consecutive decades.
  • Outfits by gospel stars David Peaston and Willie Mae Ford Smith.
  • Fontella Bass Gold Record and Grammy Nomination for “Rescue Me”.
  • Mississippi Nights artifacts, including the stage floor everyone performed on, from Kenny G to Nirvana.
  • Stage clothing from The Welders, a 1970s female punk band from St. Louis.
  • Artifacts from Bob Heil, who built audio systems for The Who and invented the Talkbox.
  • A drum that symbolizes racial division in the jazz scene of the 1920s in Saint-Louis.
  • Parts of Gaslight Square, the hub of 1960s St. Louis nightlife.

The Missouri History Museum will offer a wide range of exhibit-related programs throughout the duration of the exhibit, including the St. Louis Sound: LIVE series of free live performances relating to the many artists featured in the exhibit. . St. Louis simply cannot remain silent. No matter the genre, style or musical moment, this city has a huge story to tell.

St. Louis Sound is open at the Missouri History Museum from August 28 through January 22, 2023. Admission is free. The Missouri History Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. JSM Charitable Trust is the presenting sponsor.



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