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Winter Newsletter

Last fall, Walker|West teaching artist Brother Ghana Mbaye worked with 5th – 8th grade students from St. Peter Claver Catholic School, during a 10-week residency as part of our #WalkerWestWithoutWalls initiative. Students learned African drumming, had vocal coaching, practiced dance moves, and honed their storytelling skills. The culmination of all that hard work: a Christmas Pageant in the St. Peter Claver sanctuary –with a live audience of their younger classmates and a virtual audience of family members.⁣

Let’s Stay Together

We are once again confronting the abhorrent truth of police violence in the Twin Cities. So many hearts are aching from watching and enduring similar local and national events, but we hold hope that change is on the horizon. We value how music brings us together, even in troubled times. We are glad to have you on this journey with us, as we do our part to create bold futures with peace and equity. Music is healing, music is restorative, and music brings us closer to each other at all times. Let’s do our best to care for, support and lend love to those in our communities who need it most, “whether times are good, bad, happy or sad,” we’re better together. 

The new year brings new opportunities to gather, explore, and grow. We’re cultivating community partnerships for music learners of all ages and backgrounds to find joy, healing, and success.

In this Winter Newsletter, you’ll hear how we gathered to close out last year and how we’re beginning anew. Follow along to learn what we’ve been working on.

Kamoinge String Ensemble & Artaria String Quartet

Side-by-side with the Artaria String Quartet, Walker|West’s Kamoinge String Ensemble (with Artaria Chamber Music School students) performed a new composition by composer Anthony R. Green, entitled “The Joy Diptych.” This concert was part of the Artaria String Quartet’s Sundin Music Hall Concert Series

This piece was created for this collaboration, in celebration of Black classical composers through time. With music from Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson & William Grant Still. The series concludes in March.

Artist PaviElle French Launches Residency in St. Paul (Walker|West In Partnership)

American Composers Forum (ACF) is excited to announce “Liberation! Lifting up our Youth:” a multi-part residency led by artist and St. Paul native PaviElle French and six St. Paul-based arts organizations. Developed from a desire to empower the young people of the community, French will pursue activities over the next nine months that include workshops, commissions, and performances.

The focus of the residency will be on “lifting up our youth” to connect, express themselves, and share their thoughts through music. The six participating organizations include: The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Walker | West Academy, Schubert Club, Purple Playground, TruArtSpeaks, and American Composers Forum.

*excerpt from link below

First In-Person Piano Recitals in 2 Years

The long-awaited return of in-person piano recitals came just before the new semester, held at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. The large sanctuary provided the perfect place to safely enjoy two outstanding recitals featuring students from all the studios and all of our piano instructors. 

For some students, it was both a first recital and first time meeting teachers in person. For others who have continued virtually throughout the pandemic, it was wonderful to see how they have adapted and continued to grow as musicians. ⁣

As a special “Welcome Back”, students were treated to some awesome performances by their teachers. Thanks to all the students, parents, teaching artists AND Lutheran Church of the Redeemer for hosting us in their beautiful sanctuary. ⁣

See more photos and video on our Instagram page!

Contact Student Services for more information: or call 651-224-2929.

Read all about it! Walker|West In The News:

  • “St. Paul music academy to expand its dementia-friendly chorus” – Walker|West’s Amazing Grace Chorus on MPR. Read More.
  • “Grants highlight work of Minnesota groups serving those with Alzheimer’s and dementia” – Amazing Grace Chorus on MinnPost. Read More.
  • See our students highlighted in the Roderick Cox Initiative newsletter, for their brilliance and scholarship. Read more.

Stay Digital, Friends

The new session for Digital Music Production at Walker|West is underway! Students ages 13-21 are receiving tuition-free instruction in skills that are the future of music. DMP is funded by the FS Foundation covers mixing, mastering, audio recording, engineering, and more. If your student is interested in this program (the next session begins May 2022), please connect with Student Services (

No prior music experience is required.

Follow us on social media, and sign up to be on our mailing list for regular updates on our programs, performances, students, and teaching/performing artists.

Major Gifts Received: Thank you! 

Here is a compilation of some of the support from our funders

  • Creative Support For Organizations, Minnesota State Arts Board – Funding for Summer Music Camps
  • F.R. Bigelow Foundation – for Operations support
  • Belton Family Foundation – for Saint Peter Claver School Residency
  • House of Hope Presbyterian Church – for Operations support
  • Hardenbergh Foundation – for Operations support
  • Hubbard Broadcasting Foundation – for Operations support
  • Manitou Fund – for Tuition Assistance 
  • Mardag Foundation – for Operations support
  • Mike & Donna Wolsted – Capital Campaign support
  • Robert E & Edith M. Grissinger – for Operations support
  • Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation – for Operations support

Interested in making a gift? Contact Braxton Haulcy.

Please don’t stop the music: Closing Out Last Year with the Rondo Community Music Series

At Walker|West music is always the perfect git, just before the holidays we held our annual music series. From October – mid December we put joy, community, and powerful artistic expression centerstage. With guests like Tish JonesMalamanya and the LA Buckner Band – we were blown away and they brought down the virtual house.

This series is one of our favorite ways to bring music and culture to our community, healing and a place to gather, whether in-person or virtual. Did you miss one of the shows?

Walker|West Without Walls: Music & Me

Students at neighborhood schools have been enjoying the benefits of music brought directly to them with our public school residencies programming. From the savvy students at St. Peter Claver School pictured in the cover photo to the sensational students at Avalon Charter School.

We’ve been energized by this in-school music education initiative and are excited to share that our, Music and Me series, hosted by Barack and Michelle Obama Elementary scholar (and Walker|West student) Anaiya Wilson has returned for Season #2.

If you’re looking for more music content in your life, then look no further than our Youtube Channel. Watch recitals, virtual concert performances, and see some of our favorite moments we’ve captured over the years. You can even binge all episodes of our, “Keepin’ On” podcast using the device of your choice. There’s something for everyone to enjoy!

Forever Growing through Music: Support Walker|West Music Academy

Your support for Walker|West has not gone unnoticed! Last November, you gave to the max, helping us to reach our instrument repair goal. You showed how community strengthens community with your year end gifts. You are helping us to build momentum in the new year as monthly givers. We’re sustaining music education access and programming with your help and your future contributions give us new opportunities to amplify our mission!

We thank you for your continued investment in the healing power and the necessity of music.

Thank you for your continued support of Walker|West

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