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Keepin’ On Podcast

Keepin’ On looks at the journey of aging through the power of music. Music helps us experience the world through creativity, by soothing our souls, uplifting our spirits and connecting us with our cultural roots. It also informs and teaches us. Music helps us keep on Keepin’ On! Hosted by Vanne Owens Hayes, presented by Walker|West.

Listen on your favorite streaming platform!

YouTube | Spotify | buzzsprout

For more information please contact:

Van Owens Hayes at

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All Episodes



Community activists, Nick Khaliq, Nieeta Presley, and Keith Baker, discuss their community involvement and the importance of music in advancing community interests while acknowledging and lifting up our cultural roots. Whether it’s ‘PEOPLE GET READY’, ‘WE SHALL OVERCOME’, ‘AIN’T GONNA LET NOBODY TURN ME AROUND’, or ‘GLORY’, music helps to bring us together and keep on ‘KEEPIN’ ON’.


Singing artists, Gwendolyn Matthews and Gevonee Ford, converse about the spirit of connecting to your cultural roots through song. Music as creative expression is endemic to Black culture, whether gospel, R&B, jazz, or contemporary. Through their performances and social engagement, audiences witness an outstanding example for connecting to our culture through music.


The music ministry of Rev. Dr. Ellington and Tiwana Porter is revealed as this nationally renowned singing duo discuss how music expresses and reinforces our faith as we encounter the challenges of life’s journey. Some examples include ‘LOVE LIFTED ME’, ‘ANOTHER DAY’S JOURNEY’, ‘AMAZING GRACE’, ‘I BELIEVE’, and ‘JUST AS I AM’.


Grammy award winning musical artist, Stokely of Mint Condition, and his cultural historian father, Mahmoud El Kati, share their message of pride in family, cultural heritage, and humanity, through music and storytelling, while demonstrating their strong father/son bond.

Season 2 (all episodes available):

Episode 1 “Music Sparks Creativity” (parts 1&2). Music gives flight to the imagination. It can make you want to tap your foot, sing or dance, paint or write, think and do. Guests Ta-Coumba AikenRobin Hickman Winfield, and T. Mychael Rambo discuss how music inspires creativity in their respective art forms.

Part 1

Part 2

Episode 2 “The Music Lives On”. Developing and sustaining the legacy of one of the oldest Black-owned music school in the country, or a new dance performance institution, there are many opportunities and challenges. Executive Director of Walker|West, Braxton Haulcy & founder and director of TU Dance, Toni Pierce, share their aspirational vision to continue to be a community pillar through the power of music.

Episode 3 “Music, Movement & Culture”. Music can make you want to tap your feet, clap your hands, and move your body. Music as creative expression is endemic to Black culture as reflected in the unique dance performances developed by Toni Pierce of TU Dance, the smooth, rhythmic social dancing, called stepping, with Marcia Murray (stepper and community activist), and Phyllis Goff (devotee and promoter of arts and culture).

Episode 4 “The Music Lives On & On”. The challenges and triumphs of sustaining and promoting black culture in historic American classical institutions is discussed. Guest G. Phillip Shoultz, III, Associate Artistic Director of Vocalessence, shares his experiences, challenges, triumphs and vision. 

Episode 5 “Music & Justice”. The journey of African-Americans’ quest for justice and equality can be charted by the role of music in protest movements. Whether it’s “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” or “We Shall Overcome”, our forward progress is linked to song. Community and legendary social justice, Debbie Montgomery, and Jamela Pettiford (educator and singer extraordinaire) share their stories and relate the significance of music to protest. 

Episode 6 “Music & The Business of Connecting Community”. The founder of the widely acclaimed Selby Jazz Fest, brings the community together through music while running a small business that is a gathering spot for community members. Michael and Stephanie Wright discuss the challenges and benefits of running a business while contributing to community culture and values through music. 

Episode 7 “Music from Generation to Generation”. Whether your instrument is your saxophone or your voice, music can become a family tradition that is shared by generations.  Melvin Carter, Jr., brother Matthew Carter, and daughter, Alanna Carter Galloway, share their stories about the role of music in their family.

Special Episode “Music & Laugher” (parts 1 & 2). Music and laughter nurtures our spirit, expresses our identity and keep us keepin’ on. Shed G, nationally renowned comedian, movie actor, and former KMOJ radio host keeps us laughing and in good spirits as he talks about music.

Part 1

Part 2

Season 1 (all episodes available):

Episode 1 “Looking Back to Look Forward”. Do you hear a song and you’re propelled back in time to an event, a feeling, a person? Musicians Marvaleen Atlas and William Duncan chart the soundtrack of life’s journey and share their reflections on the power and inspiration of music. Listen on buzzsprout

Episode 2 “I Still Got It”. Walker|West faculty member and band leader, Tom Wells, and singer extraordinaire, Thomasina Petrus, share their stories about the benefits of learning and growing through music. Listen on buzzsprout

Episode 3 “I Still Got it Goin’ On”.  Walker|West co-founder, Grant West, and vocal artist, Ginger Commodore, reveal how music creates joy in heir lives and helps them stay active. Listen on buzzsprout

Episode 4 “The Melody Lingers On: Music and Memory”.  Public Health nurse, Beverly Propes, and the Directors of W/W Amazing Grace Chorus, Shana Moses and Rev. Carl Clomon, discuss the joy of connecting older adults with some activities that contribute to brain health and well-being. Listen on buzzsprout

Episode 5 “It’s All About the Family”. Music is an integral element of our lifelong learning, in and out of the classroom. Walker/West co-founder, Reverend Carl Walker, and musician and former W/W student, DeCarlo Jackson, discuss the power of music in their lives and how music connects us to family values and cultural roots. Listen on buzzsprout

Episode 6 “Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong About Growin’ Old”. Multi-Talented musician and actor, T. Mychael Rambo, and educator and community activist, Mary K. Boyd, talk about how music has played a role in becoming who they are and keeping them engaged with others. Listen on buzzsprout

Episode 7 “Special Guest: Jazz Legend Kenny Barron”. Our host, Vanne Owen-Hayes sat down with her dear friend and legendary jazz pianist, Kenny Barron in our virtual music hall on 720 Selby Avenue to record a very special episode of “Keepin’ On,” during a recent visit for the Twin Cities Jazz Fest. Beginning with one of the artist’s favorite tunes, through music and conversation Vanne and Kenny discuss and model the journey of aging through the power of music. Listen on buzzsprout

Find Kenny Barron’s newest project:  “Without Deception,”  with the Dave Holland Trio featuring Johnathan Blake.

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