Walker|West Accents & Illuminations
October 2019 Newsletter
Summer Music Camp Highlights
Thirty 5- to 12-year olds transformed into budding musicians at Walker|West’s Summer Music Camp. In just three weeks of half-day classes, the campers learned the basics of five instruments: piano/keyboard, violin, percussion, a brass or woodwind instrument, and voice.
The program culminated with a recital during which the young musicians performed for friends and family on all five instruments. They brought the house down.
Here is what one parent had to say about the camp:
“Zoe and Niko are having such a fantastic experience at camp so far. It has been so sweet to see the huge smile on Niko’s face as he plays his song on the piano for us, and I’m amazed at the way Zoe has been able to push through frustrations with being behind some of the other kids in experience. They have so many good things to say about the counselors and the program in general. We’re so grateful and glad to have found the camp!”
Though most campers are new to the program, some enjoy Summer Music Camp so much, they come back year after year.
The camp includes lunch, snacks, and plenty of time for making friends and having fun, but there is serious business taking place.
The camp encourages musical discovery and exploration while building team work, discipline, focus, and self confidence in each camper. Even if these students never pick up an instrument again, they leave camp with a sense of mastery. They’ve learned that they can try something difficult, succeed, and have fun while learning. Those are lessons that can set them up for success in all areas of life.
A reporter for Minnesota Parent Magazine visited the camp and talked with staff. The magazine plans to run a feature article on the camp in their Camp edition early in 2020.
It’s never too soon to think about Summer Music Camp 2020. Limited tuition assistance is available.
Summer Jazz Intensive
It’s one thing to play an instrument; it’s another thing to play jazz. From August 5 to 9th, ten students ages 12 to 18 received one-on-one and group instruction in what’s been called America’s only original art form: jazz. The Jazz Intensive program was made possible by a City of St. Paul Cultural STAR grant.
The week focused on playing together in an ensemble, improvisation, music theory, and jazz history.The culturally diverse group of students were divided into two ensembles by ability. All the instructors were prominent Twin Cities area jazz musicians. Guest artists Kevin Washington, Pete Whitman, Jordan Anderson, Anthony Cox, and Ernest Bison presented master classes.
Scholarships were available.
Early Childhood Music Program
Walker|West kicked off its new Music for Families program last month. A collaboration between Walker|West and Sing Play Learn with MacPhail®, the 10-week program is open to parents with children ages 0 to 4.
Taught by Ivory Doublette, a Sing Play Learn with MacPhail® music specialist, Music for Families promotes music awareness and meets the varied needs of each child. Through the power of music, children develop social skills, control, increased attention span and an appreciation of music.
The next session is tentatively scheduled to begin in early January, but you don’t have to wait. Join us for the remainder of this session, which runs through mid-November. We have two class days and times to choose from:
10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m., Thursdays through-November 14
1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m., Fridays, through November 15
There are currently just five families in each class.
To register or learn more, please contact us online or call us at 651-224-2929.
RONDO COMMUNITY MUSIC SERIES
Ashley DuBose Concert Recap
Neo-soul, pop, and R & B vocalist Ashley DuBose kicked off the Rondo Community Music Series Friday, September 13, performing to a packed house. She debuted several unreleased songs during her two, 30-minute sets.
The performance was the first of four free concerts in the Rondo Community Music Series, made possible by the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts and the Rondo Community Land Trust More Jazz on Selby Initiative. Even though the event was free, we received generous contributions from guests in support of Walker|West.
The Walker|West performance hall exuded a classy new ambiance for the evening. The rows of chairs were replaced by linen-topped tables lit by electric votive candles. People began calling it “The Club.”
The evening began with a VIP reception for some of Walker|West’s long-time supporters. Guests enjoyed food and beverages courtesy of Twist Davis Group (Revival and In-Bloom restaurants), Heritage Tea House, and Dual Citizen Brewery.
The Selby Ave. Brass Band performed during the reception. Vocalist Thomasina Petrus captured people’s attention with her singing and expressed her devotion to Walker|West and its long history of music education. She said she agreed to perform with the band even though later that night she’d be appearing in the opening night of the play “Crowns.”
Taylor Hamilton, a Walker|West teaching artist who plays keyboards in Ms. DuBose’s band, introduced Ashley DuBose. She took the stage and proved why she has gained international recognition as a performer and recording artist.
Between sets several people gave heartfelt testimonials about Walker|West.
DeCarlo Jackson, a Walker|West alumus who now performs internationally with the group Hippo Campus, talked about how Walker|West helped him become not only a better musician but also a better human being.
After her son was murdered, Rosemary Nevils brought his children to Walker|West. She said she and her grandchildren experienced the music school as a place of healing.
Lastly, Andrea Hayden gave a memorial to her late brother Michael Hayden, who passed away in car accident. He was a musician and would have wanted to support an institution such as Walker|West. There will be an ongoing memorial donation to honor Michael.
The Kevin Washington Quintet Performs Sat., Oct. 26
Walker|West invites you to a free performance by the Kevin Washington Quintet at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, October 26. A reception, with complimentary food and beverages provided by the Twist Davis Group (Revival and In-Bloom restaurants), precedes the concert at 6 p.m.
Kevin has three decades of experience as a professional musician ranging from stages in Detroit to New York to the Twin Cities in addition to being the lead drum instructor at Walker|West. Any one who has seen Kevin play the drums knows that he is among the most versatile of jazz musicians. He is as adept at playing straight-ahead tunes as he is incorporating Afro-Latin/African rhythms or hip-hop and funk into his sets.
With Kevin’s leadership, his Quintet aims to take the music to new, contemporary heights while retaining the improvisation inherent in jazz. At the end of 2018, Kevin’s group performed a tribute to the legendary jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove, who had just passed away. Since that highly acclaimed performance, there have been several encore performances of this tribute, including one at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. The night’s set list will include some of the Hargrove tribute pieces along with a variety of other selections.
The concert is the second of four free performances in the Rondo Community Music Series, made possible by the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts, and the Rondo Community Land Trust More Jazz on Selby Initiative.
Saturday, October 26
6:00 p.m., Reception; 7:30 p.m., Concert
760 Selby Ave., St. Paul
Free and open to the public
If you plan to attend, please call 651-224-2929 or RSVP online.
Other Series Dates in the Rondo Community Music Series
7:30 p.m, Saturday, November 16
Triple Encore Performance:
From R & B to Gospel: Robinson, Duncan & Duncan, and DP Voices
Walker|West Faculty led by Mr. Duncan
7:30 p.m., Saturday, December 7
Desean Jones of Detroit Music Factory
Upcoming Programs & Events
Digital Music Production Pilot
The Minnesota State Arts Board Arts and Learning Program has fully funded a collaborative pilot program between Walker|West and St. Paul’s High School for Recording Arts (HSRA).
The program will include six students from each institution.
Walker|West students will go to HSRA to learn digital recording and technology. HSRA students will come to Walker|West to learn instrumental music and basic music theory. The collaboration will help students optimize their musical experience and career options. This “test and learn” program begins this month and continues for the full academic year. After the school year, the program will be evaluated and expanded.
Walker|West has long sought an opportunity to collaborate with HSRAs. We are very pleased to take part in this pilot program.
Barack & Michelle Obama Elementary School Music Enrichment Pilot
Walker|West will bring music enrichment to Barack & Michelle Obama Elementary School beginning this month. Two days a week, Walker|West co-founder Grant West will provide piano/keyboard instruction and internationally known percussionist Baba Tunde Lea will teach a percussion class to the young scholars at Obama Elementary.
Eighty percent of the students at Obama Elementary are persons of color. Minnesota Commission of Education Mary Catherine Rickers is interested in this pilot and wants us to update her department on our progress.
The anticipated outcomes for the pilot include:
- Growth in math and language skills, and creativity
- Improved music skills
- Positive nonacademic skills (i.e., confidence, discipline, teamwork, and determination)
- Positive attitudes toward school
- Acquisition of valuable life skills, including ability to focus, self discipline, problem solving, and critical thinking skills
The 10-week session will be held during the school day at Obama Elementary, which is located just blocks from Walker|West.
Walker|West 2nd Sundays at Twist Davis Group Restaurants
A Delicious way to Support Walker|West
The Twist Davis Group kicks off Walker|West 2nd Sundays on October 13. The restaurant group will generously donate 100 percent of profits made on the second Sunday of each month to Walker|West. Walker|West Co-founder Grant West will perform piano selections at the Revival St. Paul location Oct. 13.
You can support Walker|West while enjoying a meal at any of the Twist Davis Group’s fine establishments:
Revival offers fried chicken and other classic Southern comfort foods served in a stylishly relaxed surrounding.
- Revival St. Paul: 525 Selby Ave., St. Paul, Minnesota 55102, 651-340-2355
- Revival Minneapolis: 4257 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55409, 612-345-4516
- Revival Smoked Meats: Keg and Case Market, 928 West Seventh St., St. Paul, Minnesota 55102, 651-321-2508
In Bloom is a fine dining concept featuring seasonal and wild ingredients expressed through fire. It is located on the historic grounds of the iconic Schmidt Brewery.
Thank you for helping us take full advantage of this delicious opportunity made possible through the generosity of the Twist Davis Group. We are profoundly grateful for their ongoing support.
Potential Workshops with Two Trumpet Greats
Jazz Great Terence Blanchard will be performing at the Ordway Theater in October. He may be available to teach a master class at Walker|West. We will let you know as soon as we confirm arrangements.
Walker|West may also host a master class with Iraqi-American composer/jazz trumpeter Amir ElSaffar prior to his appearance at the Ordway Theater in February. Mr. ElSaffar will lead an ensemble as part of Ragamala Dance Theater’s performance of Ragamala Rooted: Written in Water. Again, we will update you once details are firmed up.
Walker|West in the Community
- Walker|West represented at the Selby Avenue Jazz Festival last month. Thank you Tonya and all the volunteers for manning the table, and to our faculty members who opened the day by performing with the Selby Avenue Jazz Band.
- A Walker|West string duo and a jazz ensemble will play for the Grand Opening of the Dr. Josie Johnson Community Room at the University of Minnesota School of Public Affairs. This private event recognizes Dr. Josie Johnson, the first African American to serve on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents.
- Faculty member Taylor Hamilton was part of the band that performed for the grand opening of Prince: Before the Rain, at the Minnesota History Center. The exhibit is composed of photographs taken by Allen Beaulieu, Prince’s personal photographer.
As always, there is a lot happening at Walker|West. No matter how busy we are, however, we never forget how fortunate we are to be part of this extraordinary music-learning community. We are grateful to our students, families, staff, faculty, founders, board, volunteers, community partners, and, of course our funders and supporters. Thank you for your part in helping Walker|West thrive.
If you value this organization, please consider supporting it financially through one of the five ways to support Walker|West.