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Capital Campaign

Walker|West Announces Design and Build Team for Capital Campaign

Capital Campaign Updates

As part of our Power of Music to Heal our Community Campaign, we are are moving to a new space. More than just a building for lessons and performances we are seeking to build a destination and resource for our community. We have the design and build team in place to do just that. Read more about the team below!

To learn more about our capital campaign or to make your pledge or gift visit our Capital Campaign page.

Build Team: Noor Construction & Greiner Constructions General Contractors

NAWAL NOOR STACY GLOVKA

PROJECT EXEC                  PROJECT EXEC

NOOR CONSTRUCTION    GREINER CONSTRUCTION

Design Team: Locus Architecture

WALE FALADE        CONSTANCE CHEN  WYNNE YELLAND

Project Manager. Designer Design Lead

Building & Facility Management Project Team

BETH PFEIFER       SARA MOSMAN

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Newsletter

Fall Newsletter

Walker|West String students and faculty led by Instructor Earl Ross during a rehearsal to accompany Pavielle French for the debut of her original work “The Sovereign Suite,” which premiered earlier in 2022.

A Season of Reflection and Change

At Walker|West, our years are jam-packed with recitals, camps, festivals, and more! The colors of the season create time for reflection and recollection of our goals. Fall cues up a shift in priorities for many of us, but most of all, colors our minds with new ideas. As you read this newsletter, catch a glimpse of what’s new with our programs and learn how you can help us exceed the goals of our capital campaign!

Happy sounds only: Early Childhood Education with Homies in Harmony

Walker West proudly provides music education for students of all ages –including infants and toddlers. Bring your little ones to enjoy early sound exploration with Homies in Harmony, led by Auntie Jayanthi. Gather, explore and grow through music together! The new session begins December 2nd. Enrolling now.

Walker|West at the Minnesota State Fair w/MPR

We’d like to send a huge thank you to Minnesota Public Radio for hosting us on MPR Day at the State Fair. Next to a fantastic sound stage, a group of staff and volunteers represented Walker|West at the great Minnesota get-together to usher in the fall season. Nearby patrons received branded hand fans to beat the heat, and were treated with some of the best musical performances outside of The Grandstand!

Special Thanks to our funding partners!

  • Carlson Family Foundation for General Operations
  • City of Saint Paul Cultural Star Program for our Capital Campaign
  • City of Saint Paul Neighborhood Star Program for our Capital Campaign
  • Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies for tuition assistance
  • HRK Foundation for General Operations

Major League Soccer-Hometown Hero (award) for General Operations
Read More: MLS All-Star Hometown Heroes Showcase celebrates, honors Twin City community impact leaders | MLSSoccer.com

  • Minnesota State Arts Board for General Operations
  • Nordson Corporation Foundation for General Operations
  • Patrick & Aimee Butler Family Foundation for General Operations
  • Regional Cultural Treasure Award for General Operations (funding made possible by a collaboration of the McKnight, Ford, Bush and Jerome Foundations)
  • Schubert Club for tuition assistance
  • Securian Financial Foundation for General Operations
  • Xcel Energy Foundation for tuition assistance

If you would like to make a major gift, contact our Executive Director, Braxton Haulcy (braxton@walkerwest.org | 651-789-1684).

Thank you for contributing to the success of Walker|West!

Thinking BIG: A conversation with the National Endowment for Humanities

The Minnesota Humanities Center, as the state’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), recently conducted a self-assessment with NEH. As part of this assessment, which happens every 5 years, NEH came to hear first hand about the impact of the funding and relationship with the Humanities Center. In August we accepted the invitation to host NEH’s assessment team along with the Humanities Center’s leadership staff. Our Amazing Grace Chorus was the focus of the visit. 

We provided a tour, sharing details about the 2021-23 MN State Legacy Cultural Heritage grant in the amount of $145,000 for our Keepers of the Culture: Our Journey, Our Stories Through Words, Pictures, and Melodies project. Feedback from the visit showed that NEH and the Humanities Center were impressed with our team, facilities, and vision. 

“This project is an excellent example of the impact the Legacy funding has in communities” notes Kevin Lindsey, CEO at the Minnesota Humanities Center.

In keeping with NEH’s focus on the study and application of humanities with attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions and history, our offerings place cultural knowledge in the forefront to foster rich human connection. With support from the NEH (funding at this level is another powerful ‘first’ for our organization), we show in deeper ways how we have harnessed the power and benefits of music, especially from the African-American cultural tradition.

Walker|West has an additional RFP out for funding to support the purchase and renovation of the 650 Marshall Building, the cornerstone of our Capital Campaign.

Earlier this fall we were part of Rep. Betty McCollum’s Selby Ave Business Walk with our neighbors, Golden Thyme. Thank you to Rep. McCollum for stopping by and for lending her voice of support (along with Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Smith) of our NEH capital grant that is under consideration.

Giving big: The Stevens Family Gives to Inspire! Featured in our soon-to-be-released Impact Report is the story of the Stevens Family. Inspired by a, “heart connection to our mission” this family decided to give big for our Capital Campaign.

Meet the Architects! Locus Architecture selected for the Walker|West cultural hub. Please join us, and welcome the talented team that will lead in the curation of a new space in conjunction with our capital campaign.

Streaming for the first time: Watch our 2022 Fall Voice Recital

Let’s get Digital: Register for our Digital Music Production program. This series of classes includes training in the latest tools and software, taught by some of Walker|West’s finest performing artists, Ernest Bisong, Solomon Parham, Kevin Washington and Kavyesh Kaviraj.

Art + Medicine feature w/ TPT

Our Amazing Grace Chorus is featured in a special episode of Art +Medicine, a series that examines healthcare through the arts. Walker|West programs for adults 55 and older exemplify the healing power of music, and we couldn’t be more excited to share this collaboration!

Save your spot to watch online with us. RSVP to watch in-person. Catch up on shows you may have missed. Rewatch the shows you love. All this and more on our website.

Changes at Walker|West: Farewell Lisa!

Early September marked the end of the Lisa Moy era at Walker|West. After nearly a decade as our Student Services Coordinator and then later Student Services Manager, event emcee of choice and warm, welcoming presence when you walked through the front door –Lisa is moving along in her career. Thank you Lisa! We wish you all the best in your future endeavors, including being the newest flute student of Mr. Felix James!

Support Walker|West by giving to the max: You can help get our Jazz Ensembles Gig Ready!

Let’s get our Jazz ensembles gig ready! Join us in preparing for the biggest fundraising day of the year as a MN Non-Profit. Stay connected as we look to raise funds for designated performance instruments and equipment. The Walker|West Jazz ensembles need their instruments in top shape for a consistent performance schedule. Make sure to mark your calendars! Give to the Max Day is November 17th.

Thank you for your continued support of Walker|West

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Blog

MetroNOME Brewery Gives to the Max for Music Education at Walker|West

Our lowertown neighbors, MetroNOME Brewery are making a big impact for our Jazz Ensembles this year for Give To The Max. Earlier this fall the cozy and cool venue hosted a performance by Wynton Marsalis as an addendum to his recent Orchestra Hall appearances. At this event donors raised nearly $4,000 for music education and MetroNOME decided to split the amount between us and our neighbors to the west, Hopewell Music Cooperative North. 

The generous gift is just in time to help us reach our #GTMD22 goal which is focused on getting our accomplished Jazz ensembles gig ready. Our Youth and Adult ensembles have opened for international musicians at the Twin Cities Jazz Fest. They have graced the stage of the Selby Avenue Jazz Fest, performed at the Landmark Center –and recently they opened for (the very same) Wynton Marsalis at Orchestra Hall. ⁣

Our Program Director Tonya Gregory and Founder Grant West went for a tour of the brewery last week. We caught up with Bill Eddins, (Co-Owner, Chief Design Officer, Assistant Brewer and Music Director Emeritus of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra) for a short interview.

How was MetroNOME, a for profit organization with a mission dedicated to music education, conceived?

The year 2020 hit. Come the middle of March –everything I was involved in had disappeared. All my gigs, gone. My wife and I were doing Thai-Yoga massage at our studio, gone. I was a tennis judge, gone. Everything disappeared.

For the first time in my life I found myself with nothing to do. And then in May, we had the riots. My third set of riots. Miami in ‘89, LA in ‘92 and now here. About a month later, I found myself in the shower on a beautiful late June day, getting madder and madder and madder. From the shower window I looked out, through the anger thinking, you should brew today, it’s a perfect day and you should brew today!

The other half of my brain was saying, Bill, you just went through your third set of riots. Why are we fighting the same fight that we were fighting 30 odd years ago? Nothing has changed. Being a musician, my next thought was –we’re not investing in the things that make our society better. Like music and music education. Why are these the first things on the chopping block? It makes no sense. I sat there in the shower, staring at one tile for at least ten minutes. Something clicked. I got out, sent an email to Matt (MetroNOME co-founder/co-owner) and said, Here’s my idea: We’re going to found a brewery and once we’re profitable, we are going to take our proceeds and fund music education for underprivileged youth. 

I sent that email out and didn’t hear from that guy for like TEN DAYS! No call, no text, no reply –I was tempted to drive by his house to see if there was a “For Sale” or “SOLD” sign out in front. Like maybe he disappeared off the face of the planet, to get away from this crazy idea I’d pitched him. 10 days after that he got in touch and said, “yes, this could work.” We started working on MetroNOME from there.

How was the connection to Walker|West made?

Dude, I’m in music! I’m a musician and there is no such thing as 6 degrees of separation in our business– it’s never more than two– so as soon as any little connection gets made, it’s like the neurons are firing. It was utterly inevitable for us to be connected with Walker|West. I’d heard of Walker|West through the years. Before I was involved in building MetroNOME, I’d been hearing about Walker|West. The Twin Cities is a very musically active area, there’s a ton of music going on. It’s one of the big reasons that I like living here.

On the importance of supporting music education:

As much as the Twin Cities is a very active scene, there is a section of society that insists that these things –the arts, music education–that these things, things that make us better as a society are not important. That they are superfluous, are add-ons. Some ask why we would even waste money on these things. This enrages me on every single level because why would you not want to invest in things that make society better? 

It’s as simple as that in my book. Is the money that much more important than living in a civilized society? It’s become my mission to turn that around and to ensure that any kid who wants to learn and study music has the opportunity. When it comes to music education, I will absolutely throw money wherever it can go!

I know that like 4%-5% of these kids may end up in the MN Orchestra (my background is in the classical genres) and that’s fine. I know the other 95% will either play in rock bands, or do jazz, or world music, or may not even do anything musical past high school, but they get that experience. They will understand why music is so important. The fun of it, the joy of it, and the fact that it makes our society better because it brings us together as human beings. 

The whole thing about music, from a sociological standpoint, is that it forces us to interact with one another. Music builds community past racial, gender, sociological barriers and that’s the wonderful thing about it for me!

Is there any common ground between brewing beer and playing music?

Brewing beer is easy, anyone can brew beer. Brewing good beer is pretty easy as well. But brewing a beer that’s good today, good tomorrow and again and again going forward –that’s hard! What we are trying to do is eliminate variables and that’s the same thing you do when you are practicing an instrument. The technique is the same day after day, after day, after day. It’s just that you can use what you’ve learned differently. What if we put the emphasis here, what if we change the amount of an ingredient there. Subtle differences. 

We thank Bill (and Matt) and MetroNOME Brewery for their wonderful gift towards this year’s GTMD goal. Help us get to the goal by November 17th. Gifts of any size whether one-time or recurring make an impact.

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MUSIC EDUCATION IS A NECESSITY: WALKER|WEST SCHOOL RESIDENCIES

We all start somewhere.

Walker|West started in a small room with a few instruments. Music for students in Rondo in 1988, wasn’t available nor accessible. This is still the case for many African-American students, students in our neighborhood, and students from low- income households.

Just as Rev. Walker and Grant West stepped in to fill a gap then, we are continuing the essential work of opening music education access for students of all ages. What’s a better setting than local schools?

Our Walker|West Without Walls initiative, is central to our strategic direction. Students participate in weekly classes with one or more of our teaching and performing artists, for about 8-12 weeks. Regularly culminating in a final performance at their school for friends and family to enjoy.

Can you recall a time where the study of music was required, and a necessary part of your education? You may have chosen an instrument–like the snare, or trumpet, or maybe even the clarinet. You enjoyed coordinating your fingers and breathing to play those first notes of the scale. Or you might remember how it felt to hit the major milestone of mastering your part in a song. Finally getting that piece of music down pat, from start to finish.

Music creates a powerful, positive mindset when you listen and especially when you learn it. Music education helps build a foundation for future success, something that all students should have access to.

Over the years, Walker|West with support from community and funding partners have been working to change the trajectory of young people through music education. This is the cornerstone of our mission, and we’re ready to keep it going!

SCHOOL RESIDENCIES BY THE NUMBERS

• 2019-2020 School Year: 34 students at 2 Sites
• 2020-2021 School Year: 262 students at 1 site (online)
• 2021-2022 School Year: 170 students at 2 sites

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THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT

Muhkuhi (center) is an active member of our youth violin ensemble, led by instructor Earl Ross.

When you want to know about the future, we feel it’s best to ask those who will help shape it. We checked in with accomplished youth violinist, budding photographer, and long time Walker|West student Muhkuhi about where she thinks we’re headed.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR THE FUTURE OF
WALKER|WEST?

I’m excited to work with new people. We (string students) have gotten to work with some great composers and musicians.

HOW HAS PLAYING AS A MEMBER OF THE KAMOINGE STRING
ENSEMBLE CHANGED YOUR PLAYING / APPROACH TO MUSIC?

Before the ensemble it used to just be playing solo on the strings recitals, with the ensemble we play together. We get to perform in new places with new people and I didn’t have as many opportunities to do that before. I get nervous playing solo because… well, that’s just me, but in Kamoinge everyone is playing something different. But then it all comes together as one piece.

YOUR TWO SISTERS ALSO STUDY VIOLIN. WHAT’S IT LIKE HAVING SIBLINGS STUDYING THE SAME INSTRUMENT?

During the school year we are mostly all practicing on our own. We all have different schedules, but once in a while–like in the summer when we are practicing for the youth symphony we will work together. Sometimes it’s annoying and they don’t listen, but
other times it’s nice to hear what we can play together.

Sometimes we’ll play old duets that we’ve played before. We can always hear each other practicing and it really motivates me to keep practicing.

Walker|West youth ensembles like our Youth Jazz Ensemble and our Kamoinge String Ensemble have opened for, and accompanied professional musicians at the Twin Cities Jazz Fest, Selby Avenue Jazz Fest, Landmark Center, and other local
places. Most recently our youth string ensemble accompanied PaviElle French at the world premiere of “The SOVEREIGN Suite”, an original work which debuted in 2022.

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IMPROV NEVER SOUNDED SO SWEET

Ernest Bisong, long time Walker|West teaching artist (who originated our Summer Jazz Violin Workshop), stopped to chat with us about all things Walker|West.

WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO WALKER|WEST?

Long before I came here, I was teaching classical violin in Nigeria, but really wanted to branch out and see what else was out there. I wanted to check out other methods that were non-traditional, especially for string teaching. And so that’s how I wound up here. I had an uncle that was living in Virginia and I came to do a workshop with Dan O’ Connor – I just had to pay for the airfare.

I auditioned at McNally-Smith and they said we’ll pay for you to come study with us. That’s how I got connected to St. Paul. From there, I connected with Solomon Parham, and he introduced me to Walker|West. From there I started teaching individual lessons and teaching at summer camps.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED FOR IN THE NEXT CHAPTER OF
WALKER|WEST?

I think the next chapter is going to be a game-changer. I’m super excited about our Digital Music program. As a team we take a very innovative approach, incorporating beat-making, songwriting and the use of “real” instruments. I’m looking forward to our students and teaching artists having access to more professional
grade equipment and programs for making their own music–something tangible to bring home.

Another thing is more master classes and concerts to bring in and support the best talent around!

With the Summer Jazz Violin camp, I’m really focusing on highlighting string players across the Twin Cities–we’ve got people doing some really cool things.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR ROLE IN WALKER|WEST’S FUTURE?

There’s a few things I’m spearheading, on the different teams that I’m involved with. For the strings program, I’m working on creating a repertoire, a master list of compositions for students, just a huge well to pull from. I’d love to continue growing the jazz violin program into a huge thing that everyone wants to be a part of. There’s just so much to explore in using improvisational styles and techniques on this classic instrument.

This is the second year of the workshop, it was 3 days the first year–but this year, it’s going to be a whole week of broadening the possibilities on violin. I’m hoping to help grow our programs
into something with greater recognition both statewide and nationally.

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SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

Since this photo from our “At Home” series, the Webber’s have welcomed new little ones, bringing their number up to 10.

THE WEBBER FAMILY (ALL 10 OF THEM) HAVE BEEN A CONSTANT FIXTURE IN OUR COMMUNITY SINCE 2008.

Octavia remembers passing by Walker|West at the old location often as a child. It wasn’t until she was invited to a recital years later, that she discovered all the great things happening inside. “It was just a really warm welcome,” she recalls, “Everyone was so inviting and interested in our family, especially the kids– and it just felt like home.”

Though the Webbers now live in a nearby suburb, Octavia and Jordan see the commute to weekly lessons and summer programs as a key part of their family’s music learning journey. Everyone in their crew who can hold instrument is learning how
to play.

“Giving the children the chance to explore with teachers who bring out the best in them feels so important – those teachers become family, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and mentors – and you need to nurture and nourish relationships with good people!”

FUTURE OF WALKER|WEST: WHAT IS THE WEBBER FAMILY EXCITED ABOUT?

The Webber Family is excited about their family and children staying involved and connected as students, volunteers and community members. They hope to see more masterclasses
and concerts, like the Terence Blanchard Masterclass in 2019 and the Desean Jones concert for the Rondo Community Music Series in 2020.

Walker|West is committed to providing music education access for students of all ages, from infants to elders. We started in a duplex on Selby offering lessons for K-12 students and now at 760 Selby we have programs for early childhood education, elders and older adults. Our expanded programming is mission centered bringing benefits of music education to more people in our community.

There’s something for everyone, at Walker|West

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THE STEVENS FAMILY GIVES TO INSPIRE

Susan and Patrick Stevens have been part of the Walker|West community since its earliest days. Their son Brian was a student and volunteer at Walker|West as a teen who needed a break from playing sports. Jennifer married into the Stevens family, and learned about Walker|West her first date with Brian. Their children (Elliott, Graham and Patrick) are now students of Walker|West having done recitals and camps with us. It’s safe to say, the Stevens are here to stay!

We checked in with the Stevens family, just as they pledged a $250,000 lead gift for the Walker|West Capital Campaign (which is currently underway). The Stevens feel a responsibility to invest in this music learning community, because they believe in Walker|West and want to honor what Susan calls, a heartconnection to our mission.

When Susan first heard Grant West’s music wafting out of Dayton’s, he happened to play a favorite song of her parents – this struck her right away. She needed to know more about the “2 guys teaching piano” on Selby Ave.

When Susan learned about how Rev. Walker & Grant West were revered community members, she could feel that Walker|West was a special place.

“Music is the language of the soul,” this is an adage Brian remembers seeing and hearing in his time as a student of Rev. Walker (and later Grant West). And while Brian is moved by our mission, he adds that “it’s the feeling inside the building that Rev. Walker & Grant West and so many others bring,” that makes the difference moving the mission forward. A mission and vision that has always been centered on impact for our neighbors, those near and far.

Susan’s consulting group signed on to help Walker|West create our first business plan in the early ‘90s. A plan that raised over $400,000 and helped move Walker|West to its next chapter at that time. As Walker|West is entering its next 30 years, the Stevens see this moment as a time to deepen their commitment as a family.

The large gift is unique among their charitable giving. It’s a stretch. But one they make enthusiastically, to support how our work is expanding and changing under leadership of Braxton Haulcy, our current Executive Director.

Walker|West’s teaching style is different from other places, Brian and Jenn agree. “It’s one thing to play and read music, they note, Walker|West offers something even deeper than that.” Jenn is a music educator, she studied music theory in college. As she recalls it, though she learned a lot the way she was taught theory didn’t live in her fingers or notes the way it does for Walker|West students. The sense of self expression, growth of confidence, interplay of chords and notes–not simply reading or doing pieces by rote, are things that stand out for Jenn and Brian.

Jenn notes the first time she came to a recital to see one of her children play. Recalling how our way of encouragement and support were unmatched. Students are often accompanied by teachers, which lifts the notes they know how to play, and turns it into something big! Family and friends sing along, calming any jitters that students may have. For Jen, this is a notable and welcome contrast from how she remembers recitals.

Music connects us, from East Saint Louis, to Wyoming, to Denver, to Mendota Heights, to Nebraska where Susan’s family is from. In uncertain times, music can communicate things we struggle to find words to process. Whether it’s our family singing show tunes when gathered together, or protest music carrying us through times of unrest – music comforts, heals, soothes and unites.

Along with healing, music sparks joy! We asked the Stevens family what they were most excited about for Walker|West and they had this to say:

Jenn: The idea for this gift started when we wanted to host a friendraiser to get all of our friends to experience what Walker|West can offer. Because of COVID we had to change those plans, and when the new building came up, a specific need
became more apparent. We’re excited to support the new building. And as an educator, I’m excited about the expansion of programming, especially early childhood music education!

Brian: The new building will really allow Walker|West to evolve and be more flexible in how it evolves. Music is changing. How people want to learn music is changing, like with digital music production. It’s such a great time for the academy. We wanted to
get in early, and we hope that others will join to help carry on the work of Walker|West into the next 50 years.

Susan: Ditto.

To make a major gift, or to support our capital campaign, contact Braxton Haulcy, Executive Director

For more about the Power of Music to Heal our Community Campaign visit: walkerwest.org/capital-campaign

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Summer Newsletter

Students at our Grow Through Music camp learning about drumming from Bro. Ghana Mbaye. Getting these drums repaired was the goal of our #GTMD21 fundraiser last fall. Thank you for helping to keep camp educational and fun!

Future Focused: Raising Capital for the Culture

Plans for the future are taking shape
Working on a bold future

Walker|West is claiming its title as a cultural destination and resource for the Rondo community. Now is the time to empower the entire community through music education from the African American experience. The richness in Black history, especially that of Rondo, requires continuous celebration. Join us in the work to make that a reality with the power of music. Learn how you can support our capital campaign as we focus on the Future of Walker|West Music Academy.

Multi-instrumentalist Matthew Whitaker at our recent masterclass and social hour, sponsored by Travelers

Thank you to our Funding Partners

  • Anna M Heilmaier Charitable Foundation (Capital Campaign)
  • Boss Foundation (General Operations)
  • Carlson Family Foundation (General Operations)
  • Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts (Rondo Community Music Series)
  • HRK Foundation (General Operations)
  • Mike & Donna Wolsted (Summer Jazz Intensive)
  • Minnesota State Arts Board Creative Support (Summer Music Camps)
  • Roderick Cox Music Initiative (Instrument Replacement, tuition assistance for youth of color)
  • Nordson Corporation Foundation (General Operations)
  • Rosemary & David Good Family Foundation (General Operations)
  • Sheltering Arms Foundation (Early Childhood programming)
  • Travelers Foundation for Sponsoring our recent Matthew Whitaker Masterclass and Social Hour
  • Xcel Foundation (Tuition Assistance)

Large gifts are essential to the stability and growth of our organization, especially as we strive to reach our Capital Campaign goals. To support Walker|West with a major gift, contact our Executive Director, Braxton Haulcy

You better recognize! Updates, awards, and recognition

Walker|West Institutional Video

New media alert! Should you ever need a refresher on some of the history of Walker|West, here’s a crash course. Share our video with your family, friends, and any music learners in your life.

We are excited to announce the new additions to the Walker|West staff and our Board!

Let’s welcome Marie Flowers as our new Outreach Coordinator, and Libby Turner as Program Director for Adult Education. We’re also honored to introduce Michael Walker, Son of founder, Rev. Walker, and Cherise Ayers, daughter of founder Grant West to the Walker|West Board of Directors.

Easy Listening

If you’re looking for a new podcast, tune into Keepin On’, which focuses on the journey of aging and the power of music through it all. Season 2 coming soon.

MPR in the Morning

In case you missed it, Executive Director, Braxton Haulcy was interviewed by MPR’s Angela Davis in May.

Paying Homage

Quite recently, the Star tribute featured David Smith, a budding musician and student at University of Minnesota, and a previous student of Walker|West under Mr. Duncan. We congratulate his recognition, and wish him future success!

Thank you for valuing Walker|West

With your support, we are able to provide music education to all. Our programs, performances, recitals, and camps are made possible through funding support from our partners and individuals like you. We appreciate your contributions, as they help us grow through music as a community. If you would like to make a one-time or monthly gift, visit our website. You help us propel our work forward. Thank you!

Upcoming Events

Get into the Gospel Life: Gospel According to Jazz

As we have stated before, there is a necessity for the music and its healing power especially in these current times. It’s vital to our mission to showcase the African American experience, and what better way to do that, than with performances by faculty and friends of Walker|West. For the first three Sunday’s in August, Walker|West partners with Liberty Community Church in Minneapolis to provide gospel performances expressed through Jazz techniques. Join us in person, or virtually for this series.

Get ready for the biggest and best Rondo Community Music Series yet!

Beginning in September, we have a stellar line-up that includes the Give Get Sistet, Gerard Ahlgren, Jack Barrett, and so many more! Performances will be available for virtual viewing via Crowdcast, and if you know you know! Encourage your family and friends to tune in. Every performance to date has been powerful and memorable. Stay connected for more information, and check our events calendar on our website to make sure you don’t miss your favorite artists!

Thank you for your continued support of Walker|West

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Spring Newsletter

Students at a dress rehearsal for their Walker West Without Walls Initiative Music & Me performance at Barack and Michelle Obama Elementary. For 6 weeks Walker|West teaching artist Chadwick Phillips worked with these talented students on the art of Hip-Hop and Poetry on Thursday mornings.

Building a bold future

While it seems that spring is fading quickly, at Walker|West, we’re just getting warmed up! As we look ahead into the next big phase for our organization, the power of music gives us more than enough room to gather, and grow with intention. Continue reading as we explore the strong community and funding partnerships that propel our work. 

Can you help us tell the MN Legislature about Walker|West?

Walker|West could receive up to $5.4M through a one time appropriation bill (HF 4197) to use as a capital investment for our new facility. Securing funding for a new site is the cornerstone of our current capital campaign. The bill is likely to be voted on by May 23, 2022. We could use your support to let the MN Legislature know about the power of music and the Walker|West mission.

Here’s what you can do:

Calling your local legislators is always a great start, however, there’s a handful of legislators we think may not already know about our work. We want to make sure they hear about how our 34 year-old, culturally rooted and responsive community music school is doing the work. Creating space for K-12 students and everyone to gather, explore, and grow through music.

When you have a moment give them a call and tell them why you support Walker|West!

MN House

MN Senate

Here’s why Walker|West is a great candidate for this capital investment

With our strategic direction and capital campaign, we’re committed to youth music education access and building more community centered space for wider and deeper connection. As a Regional Cultural Treasure, we are engaging students and families close by (with lessons, and school residencies), around the nation and even internationally (with virtual instruction, concerts, and other community partnerships)! 

We have the experience, expertise, and enthusiasm to continue bringing the benefits of music education to K-12 students and students of all ages –from infants to elders.

Anthony Green at Walker|West

On April 10th, Walker|West had the pleasure of welcoming composer, performer, and social justice artist, Anthony R. Green for a very special discussion/Q & A in the performance hall. ⁣

Mr. Green played piano, sang, and engaged in a wide-ranging discussion on everything from copyright law to the struggle of finding places to do laundry while on the road. ⁣Mr. Green spoke in depth about the creation of the special piece played by our Kamoinge String Ensemble with Artaria String Quartet this past February. He also shared a bit about the process of composing over 200 other original compositions. 

Thank you to Anthony R. Green for sharing your beautiful music, thoughtful responses to our many questions, good humor and words of encouragement! We hope you visit again soon.⁣

Recently The Minnesota Humanities Center awarded the Walker|West Amazing Grace Chorus with a Cultural Heritage and Community Identity Grant in the amount of $145,000.⁣ ⁣Thank you to MHC for supporting this wonderful program. Pictured: Amazing Grace Chorus Directors – Shana Moses (left), Rev. Carl Clomon (center), and Gale Cannon (right).

Funding Partners this Spring

Here’s a look at some of the major support we received this quarter:

  • 3M (Operating)
  • Best Buy Foundation (Operating)
  • Elmer & Eleanor Anderson (Operating)
  • Mardag Foundation (Operating)
  • Minnesota Humanities Center (Amazing Grace Chorus)
  • Star Tribune/MPR Connect Grant (Marketing Support)
  • Stevens Family (Capital Campaign)
  • U.S. Bank Foundation (Operating)

Special thank you to the Stevens Family! With an exciting lead gift of $250,000 for the Walker|West Capital campaign, the entire Stevens family wants more people to know about the impact of our community music school. With 3 generations of family members involved with Walker|West since our early years, their commitment to our mission serves as a testament to how music brings us all together.

To make a major gift, or to learn more about how to participate in our capital campaign contact: Braxton Haulcy, Executive Director (braxton@walkerwest.org).

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.

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

Walker West growing beyond music | Star Tribune: https://www.startribune.com/walker-west-growing-beyond-music/600171936/

Walker West Music Academy outgrows Selby Ave. site | MyVillager : https://myvillager.com/2022/04/13/walker-west-music-academy-outgrows-selby-ave-site/

“Bravo Walker|West”: Special thanks to Bill Caitlin, long-time friend of Walker|West for his words in support of our work in Reader’s Write | Star Tribune: https://www.startribune.com/readers-write-abortion-boys-volleyball-walker-west/600172811/

Photo: Tom Dunn Photography, MinnPost

Ta-Coumba T. Aiken wins Guggenheim One of the best things about being rooted in the historic Rondo community is the connections we have with prolific creators like Ta-Coumba T. Aiken. When we moved to our facility at 760 Selby an original piece of art from Ta-Coumba was commissioned and can be seen adorning the outside of our space today. We’re so proud to be connected with this local artist, and even more proud of the well-deserved recognition he’s received with this award.

Read more about this outstanding accomplishment here: https://www.minnpost.com/artscape/2022/04/ta-coumba-t-aiken-wins-a-guggenheim-recognizing-decades-of-dynamic-work/

No place like home: recitals at 760 Selby Ave

Over the past year we’ve slowly eased our way back to in-person student recitals thanks to Lutheran Church of the Redeemer a few blocks away on Dale Street. By allowing use of their beautiful and spacious sanctuary, we’ve been able to come together and celebrate the hard work of our students and teaching artists, free of those often pesky Zoom glitches, and the occasional younger sibling photobombing in the background. ⁣

April 4th was extra special, as we came together in Walker|West’s very own performance hall at our home base on 760 Selby Avenue for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

⁣The recital featured students of Walker|West teaching artists, Jack Barrett, Andrew Griffin, Franco Holder, Felix James, Elisha Phillip and Pieter Swart, (who brought along one of the newest little members of the Walker|West community to work). ⁣

Excellent work students and teachers!⁣

Certificate in Music Production Program – Hamline Partnership

Here at Walker|West we continue to expand and adapt to a changing musical landscape. Our Digital Music Production program is now partnered with Hamline University for an out-of-school time program which sets the stage for continuing professional development after high school.

At the college level, the Certificate in Music Production offered at Hamline is a 12-credit, 6-course curriculum, with three courses offered each fall and spring. Jeff Bailey, Hamline faculty member, program director and Walker|West board member, will work with high school students 1 day per week throughout the school year.

Currently, students who are at least a junior in high school up to the age of 21 can participate. High school students with a solid GPA will even receive transcript credit for their work. 

This program is meant for those looking to pursue a career in digital music production (DMP). It’s an immersive experience that has several career pathways to include Music Creator, Theater Sound Design, TV Commercials or Jingle Writer and more. With the partnership, you have an opportunity to build a career that can take you down a multitude of musical paths and cultivate new opportunities for those looking to break into the music business.

For more information about this special program or about Digital Music Production at Walker|West please contact Student Services: info@walkerwest.org

Support Walker|West Music Academy

We’re sustaining music education access and programming with your help and your future contributions give us new opportunities to amplify our mission! Thank you for your continued investment in the healing power and the necessity of music.

Thank you for your continued support of Walker|West