November Newsletter

November 11 RCMS Concert featuring WDP Crew ft. Robert Robinson

Rondo Community Music Series

Save Your Spot

Duncan & Robinson return to the series for the 4th time. We can’t wait of the sounds of these incredible artists hit the airwaves again. This duo, along with background from the WDP singers will perform gospel, jazz and R&B. As Mr. Duncan promised, “you’ll be inspired and you won’t walk out the same.

RSVP today to reserve your spot virtually on Crowdcast or Attend In-Person by registering on EventBrite!

November 12 Secrets from a Forest Special Guests: Kamoinge Strings of Walker West Music Academy

Mention “Walker|West” at the ticketing desk for $5 off gallery admission for adults and $6 off for youth 3-21

Join us for an in-gallery performance by Kamoinge Strings from Walker West Music Academy.

When: Sunday, November 12 | 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Where: Bell Museum | 2088 Larpenteur Avenue W, St Paul, 55113

Recommended for all ages

November 13 Masterclass & Concert: Steve Hirsh and the Sparks Quartet

We are excited to announce a special event that will enrich the musical journey of our talented students. On November 13th, Walker West will be hosting Steve Hirsh and the Sparks Quartet, featuring renowned musicians William Parker, Eri Yamamoto, Chad Fowler, and Steve Hirsh, for a captivating masterclass and concert.

When: November 13 | Masterclass at 4 PM, Concert at 7 PM

Who: Masterclass is open to all musicians, feel free to bring your instrument. Concert open to students, family and general public.

Where: 760 Selby Ave, St. Paul, MN

For questions please contact or 651-224-2929.

Registration Open Adult Group Voice Class

Sing in a group setting, and learn from professional vocal and choral instructors. Participants will be guided through seven 45 minute sessions each Saturday in vocal basics, choral technique, part singing, operating in harmonies, and “Circlesongs”.

When: Saturdays at 3 PM | October 28 – December 16, 2023

Where: 650 Marshall Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104

Who: Ages 18+, all skill levels

Libby Turner (Voice Department Chair)
Sarah Greer and Carl Clomon (Guest Instructors)
William Duncan, Liam Vance, and Kevin Jackson (Voice Department Faculty)

Cost: $30 per class, $210.00 for full 7 weeks

For questions, contact or 651-224-2929.

Registration is open for Session 2 of Homies In Harmony with Auntie Jayanthi (8 Weeks)

For children ages 0 – 6 and their caregivers.

Auntie Jayanthi introduces musical concepts and early sound exploration drawing from African American cultural experience, vital artists, and familiar folk music. Early music learners will explore various instruments, sing, and play in a nurturing environment.

For questions contact Student Services:

When: Fridays at 10 AM or 11 AM | December 1 – February 2
When: Saturdays at 10 AM or 11 AM | December 2 – February 3
School Closed:  December 29 & 30 and January 5 & 6

December 2 RCMS Concert featuring Katia Cardenas Ensemble

Rondo Community Music Series

Save Your Spot

Luminous, multi-genre vocalist and international touring artist Katia Cardenas inspires audiences with her sultry, soulful voice and infectious energy and presence. Possessing an impeccable range and dynamic style, Katia grew up in a musical family, and her professional training came largely “on the job,” performing throughout high school with her mother’s Bay Area bands and collaborating with her Seattle-based father on numerous recording projects.

RSVP today to reserve your spot virtually on Crowdcast or Attend In-Person by registering on EventBrite!

December 8 Shed G Comedy Series

Micheal Prince & Piper The Comedian

When: December 8 | Doors Open at 7 PM
Where: New Hope Cinema Grill | 2749 Winnetka Ave North | Cash App $ShedG $20

On Saturday, November 4th, members and staff of the AGC Chorus for Dementia Awareness at Walker | West presented and participated in the Mayo Clinic’s 2023 Conference on Brain Health and Dementia. The conference aimed to provide attendees with an opportunity to explore emotional wellness for oneself and the knowledge to positively impact emotional wellness for those living with dementia.

The University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) in North Minneapolis was one of seven regional watch sites for the conference that centered personal, cultural perspectives and engaged approximately 40 community participants.  

Presenters and facilitators included those living with dementia, care partners, healthcare professionals, artists, advocates, and researchers who are all dedicated to this topic. The event was presented in partnership with the #AlzheimersAssociation and #AARP. The watch site partners also included the AGC Chorus at Walker | West, the Alter Program for dementia awareness, the University Center for Healthy Aging and Innovation, and UROC.


October Newsletter

Experience Jazz

Starts this Saturday, sign up today!

Experience Jazz is a genre-bridging music ensemble program for instrumentalists (looking for bass and saxophone), vocalists, rappers, DJs and other aspiring musical artists. A partnership with High School for Recording Arts, this innovative program is an incubator for middle and high school musicians to learn, play and compose new music together in the studio. Led by renowned local performers and passionate educators: LA Buckner, DJ Mickey Breeze, Peter Goggin, and Cody LeDuc.

When: October 7 – January 20, Saturday Mornings 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM
Who: Youth Musicians of all backgrounds, grades 7-12. No prior jazz experience required.
Where: High School of Recording Arts

Rondo Community Music Series

Upcoming Concert: October 21, featuring Kevin Washington and RA Spirit

Save Your Spot

Kevin Washington has been part of this series since its inception, with his group RA Spirit performing in the 2021 series as well. You won’t want to miss their return. Kevin is among the most versatile of jazz musicians-as adept at playing straight ahead tunes as he is incorporating Afro-Latin rhythms on hip-hop into his sets. He has studied under legendary drummer Max Roach and has played with top jazz performers such as saxophonist Antonio Hart and James Carter. Kevin is a Walker|West instructor.

Join us live on our Facebook page, YouTube, attend in person by registering on EventBrite or watch through Crowdcast! If you miss the live event, you can watch the replay and our other past events here. In order to watch with us in our virtual music hall, be sure to click ‘Save My Spot’ when you get to Crowdcast, to get updates about this show, including a reminder just before show begins.
RSVP today to reserve your spot virtually on Crowdcast or Attend In-Person by registering on EventBrite!

Walker West at The Dakota

Join us for an evening of music on October 30

Enjoy music performances from students and faculty of Walker West and a short program to update attendees on the vision and progress of Walker West’s Power of Music Campaign. Performers will include Kevin Washington, Ernest Bisong, Ted Olsen, Kavyesh Kaviraj, Solomon Parham, Jack Breen, Cody Steinmann, and Peter Goggin, in various configurations. T. Mychael Rambo will emcee the event.

When: Monday, October 30, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Where: The Dakota | 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Tickets are now on sale! Tickets are $20 and are available on The Dakota’s website. Dinner and drink service will be available for purchase.


Register for Fall Semester at Walker|West

Walker|West Newsletter: September 2023

Homies in Harmony with Auntie Jayanthi

Auntie Jayanthi introduces musical concepts and early sound exploration drawing from African American cultural experience, vital artists, and familiar folk music. Early music learners will explore various instruments, sing, and play in a nurturing environment.

This early childhood program is a way to make musical memories with your little one from the very beginning of their life! Join us to learn about our peaceful instincts, self esteem, empathy, history and responsibility.

When: 5 and 8 week sessions starting September 29th or 30th
Who: Children ages 0 – 6 and their caregivers
Where: 760 Selby Avenue

Make Music Rooted in Jazz, Blues, Pop and Hip-Hop

Experience Jazz is a genre-bridging music ensemble program for instrumentalists, vocalists, rappers, DJs and other aspiring musical artists. A partnership with High School for Recording Arts, this innovative program is an incubator for middle and high school musicians to learn, play and compose new music together in the studio.

When: October 7 – January 20, Saturday Mornings 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM
Who: Youth Musicians of all backgrounds, grades 7-12. No prior jazz experience required.
Where: High School of Recording Arts

Rondo Community Music Series

Our first event for 2023/2024 RCMS happening September 30th! New this year, we will have panel discussions via Zoom starting September 27th. Check out more details on this year’s artists and the full lineup. Learn more

Explore Beat-Making and Mixing

Learn to make music the modern way through Walker|West’s Digital Music Production Program (DMP). DMP is designed to introduce young students to a whole new world of musical possibilities, through new cutting-edge musical technology. Enrolling now!

When: Tuesday and Thursdays, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Who: Students Ages 13 – 21 for both beginners and advanced
Where: In-person at 760 Selby Avenue

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. Listen to the podcast

Hosted by Vanne Owens Hayes, presented by Walker|West.

Lesson and Ensemble Registration Open

Individual Music Lessons (K – Adult)
Fall semester happening now through January 27, 2024. Register

Jazz Ensembles (13 – Adult)
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, we have an ensemble that will challenge you and help you grow as a musician. Students rehearse in 1-hour weekly sessions. Join us for youth ensembles Monday or Tuesdays, and adult ensembles on Wednesdays. Learn more

Walker West News and Events

Ujamaa Partnership

Starting in Fall 2023, Walker West Music Academy will partner with Ujamaa Place by serving Ujamaa men through WWMA’s Digital Music Production program. Read the blog

Amazing Grace Chorus

The Amazing Grace Chorus was featured on a CNN segment “Champions for Change”. Stay tuned for updates on AGC’s webpage about the upcoming watch party, more details coming soon.


May Newsletter

Accents & Illuminations

Walker|West Newsletter: May 2023

Sending peace after this Memorial weekend. We hope you honored the memories of the fallen in the best way you know how. For many of us, that’s something that smells like flavorful cookouts, soundtracked with cultural classics required to be on everyone’s playlist. Some of those songs might feature talent grown and developed at Walker|West, which has been a cultural hub for 35 years. In this newsletter, we’re saying thank you to our families, funding partners, and everyone who supports our organization. We’re thankful for your investment of time, tuition, and absorbing the many stories that have emerged. To convey our gratitude, and why your gifts, and partnership mean so much to us, allow us to reach back, and provide some context. Get ready to groove, as we invite you to gather with us this summer, and prepare for all that Walker|West Music Academy has to come.

Let’s start from the top

The Makings of Walker|West

Walker|West began as a studio for young African-Americans of the Rondo Community to foster new paths to success. Founded in 1988, by Rev. Carl Walker and Grant West. The original Walker|West Music Academy location was 777 Selby Ave . These passionate men with their commitment to the church, and love for music, provided instrument & vocal lessons, and a myriad of programs over the years. The student population of their humble non-profit grew larger, moving into a bigger building at 760 Selby Avenue in 2014 . Striking art by Ta-Coumba T. Aiken decorated the exterior in 2018, and it was a beautifully welcomed update. We’re now five years past, our lease at our current space is almost up, and we’re ready to grow through music more than ever.

The Time is Now

Moving at the right pace to find the perfect place

One goal for our the Walker|West team, is to build upon the legacy of this organization. With that, comes the need for a new space to gather, and explore through music. Since 2021, we have opened our capital campaign, seeking funding to expand our programming, and update our learning and gathering space. Earlier this year, we integrated Minnesota Jazz Education programs with ours, closing the gap between our organizations, and creating even more room for our Walker|West Without Walls initiative. We are re-imagining our Digital Music Program thanks to a major contribution from the NBA Foundation, and a partnership with Hamline University. Music education is necessary for our people of all ages and backgrounds, and the methods and practices of Walker|West continues to inspire, and elevate members of our communities.

So, on the road to expansion, and sourcing capital campaign funding, our ED and team came across the future home of Walker|West Music Academy. The location: 650 Marshall Ave in St. Paul, former site of the Wilder Foundation. Since last year, our Capital Campaign has included a request from the MN State Legislature for funding to cover the cost of the purchase and renovations of our community cultural hub’s new home base. With state senators & representatives on our side, and right before an omnibus bill & potential grant opportunity would come to fruition, There was “a match made in heaven” with Model Cities, St. Paul, who extended an opportunity we could not miss. Through yet another magnificent partnership, Model Cities and LISC have provided a 2.5 million dollar loan. The loan is in the form of a purchase-resell transaction, which essentially means Model Cities has purchased the property on our behalf. We intend to purchase the property from Model Cities now that we have been approved for a $4.1 Million Direct Appropriation from the State of Minnesota. The generosity and timing of this transaction allowed Walker|West to close on the purchase in April 2023.

Coming up!

Amazing Grace Chorus Spring Concert

You are invited to gather with our elders on June 11th for “Keepers of the Culture”. Enjoy the gospel sounds of our jewel Amazing Grace Chorus. Take some time to learn about healthy aging, especially if someone in your family suffers from memory ailments as they have progressed in life. The event will be held at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. Festivities begin at 4pm.

Spend your summer with us!

Register for our remaining summer camps

There is still time to register for summer music camps at Walker|West. This year, we’re offering vital and unique options for your students.

-Summer Jazz Intensive is for middle school and high school youth who are new to jazz or experienced in jazz music, and want to improve their improvisation skills.

-The Summer Jazz Violin workshop is designed for violin students looking to branch out from traditional classical music, or desire to improve their improvisational skills.

Find out more details regarding summer camps on our website. Tuition assistance is available.


April Newsletter

Accents & Illuminations

Walker|West Newsletter: April 2023

Spring is upon us, and we’re stepping to a tune of our own. We’re growing through music with new collaborations, fresh takes on our programming, and a prosperous future ahead. Keep reading this newsletter for insight on upcoming events, and to learn how to ask your senators to support Walker|West!

Let the Music In!

Spring opportunities to explore with Walker|West

Prepare to take a trip to Eau Claire, WI, for the Eau Claire Jazz Fest. Two Walker|West Youth Jazz Ensembles will be performing April 22nd. Take a moment to find out more! Gather with us, and support our young musicians this weekend!

Also on the Horizon: 

Saturday, April 29th, we’re partnering with She Rock She Rock for their long-running bi-monthly “She Rock All Ages Open Jam.” This is a collaborative event for women, femmes, and non-binary musicians of all ages and skill levels to sing or play with the professional women musicians of the She Rock house band–or just relax and enjoy the performance. Young music lovers and learners are encouraged to rock the stage! Let’s prop up future performers–let’s rock! The event runs 2-5pm at Walker|West.

Senate Bill #SF674; requesting appropriation for Walker|West

Help Walker|West gain state support for our Capital Campaign!
Join us on the quest for senatorial votes in support of Walker|West Music Academy. This specific request will contribute to the renovation costs of our organization’s future home, a necessary and deserved expansion of our learning space, and programming. Our initial request was for $5.4 million, in which $2.5 million was successfully appropriated with House support. Let’s secure support from the senate for the full amount!

If the Minnesota Senate Committee on Capital Investment moves to approve, this funding reinforces Walker|West as a major community cultural hub in Rondo. While Senator Klobuchar did give us a shoutout on twitter last month for our recognition by the NBA Foundation, Now is the time to let your senator know that they should vote to appropriate funds for Walker|West Music Academy. Every action towards our Capital Campaign helps us grow through music and improve our community. Here are the steps you can take!

Time is on your side!

Register for our remaining summer camps
While slots for camps are filling up quickly, we have openings left for two out of the three camps we’re offering this summer!

  • Summer Jazz Intensive is for middle school and high school youth who are new to jazz or experienced in jazz music, and want to improve their improvisation skills.
  • The Summer Jazz Violin workshop is designed for violin students looking to branch out from traditional classical music, or desire to improve their improvisational skills.

Find out more details regarding summer camps on our website. Tuition assistance is available.


March Newsletter

Accents & Illuminations

Walker|West Newsletter: March 2023

February Flew away, and now spring is creeping onto our shoulders. Forget about the idea of flurries and slush, and let us refresh your memory on why Everybody Loves Walker|West. As you read this newsletter, you can catch up on what our music learners have been up to, and get a glimpse of the next step in our scales.

A Slam dunk for our Digital Music Program

Walker|West wins with the NBA Foundation

Let’s get loud and thank the Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Lynx, and the NBA Foundation for awarding us with a grant that will help restructure our Digital Music Production program! With support from the Minnesota Timberwolves, we were selected alongside thirty organizations throughout the nation. Walker|West joins them in gratitude for this generous support for programming that uplifts our communities. 

Joining Forces

Big Changes for Minnesota Jazz Education
In February 2023, we welcomed Katia Cardenas (above) to Walker|West. She served as Executive Director for Minnesota Jazz Education for several years, and is now the Program Director for “Walker|West Without Walls”. This merge with Minnesota Jazz Education programming that has been underway will continue the expansion of our mission to gather, explore, and grow through music. We’re excited for everything we’ll discover on this new path.

Always More to Explore

Corner Conversations with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation
This winter, we had a chance to partner with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation to discuss the necessity of music education. Our Executive Director, Braxton Haulcy sat down with Chris Garner from the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation for a recent episode of “Corner Conversations”, a video series that highlights the impactful work of local organizations. Many thanks to our funding partner for continuous support. Watch & Learn!

For the live music lover in you

Rondo Community Series
The latest iteration of the Rondo Community Music Series was some of the best live music you could easily tune into! The lineup was full of performing artists that regularly teach Walker|West students. Remember that you can catch up or re-watch each performance on Crowdcast, and on YouTube! Maybe you have a favorite performance? We would love to know! Subscribe to Walker|West on Crowdcast, so you don’t miss anything we have coming up.

Special thanks to our legislative supporters! $2.6 Million has been awarded toward the Walker|West Capital Investment, Minnesota Direct Appropriation Bill.

Thank you to our Funding Partners!

  • Jean Schroepfer towards our Capital Campaign
  • Margaret Perryman for General Operations
  • Jock Donaldson towards our Capital Campaign

Hope lives in the Power of Music

Rondo Night: A new way to highlight St. Paul’s Black Entrepreneurs!
The St. Paul Winter Carnival, held on (date) was opened with some new energy through the Walker|West Jazz Ensemble. While we’d love to tell you how awesome it was to support the recognition of black history and celebrate , there have already been some accounts. Check out the coverage from Kare 11, and Pioneer Press! and consider Walker|West when seeking local talent. After all, what’s more impactful than the power of Music?

In memoriam:
Former Board Chair Franklin C. Jesse Jr.

Please join us in sending condolences to the Family of Franklin C. Jesse Jr., who passed away peacefully in February 2023. Mr. Jesse served as Board Chair for Walker|West and was an incessant supporter of Walker|West Music Academy. He assisted the organization with his skills and dedication to the community. If you wish to celebrate his memory monetarily, it was indicated in his obituary to send donations to Walker|West Music Academy in his honor. We appreciate Franklin C. Jesse for championing our mission while he was on earth, and while he rests in the heavens.


January Newsletter

As we celebrate 35 years of music learning and community connection we’re excited to continue this journey with each of you. Thank you for being in our community where we gather, explore, and continue to grow together. May this new year be filled with gratitude, hopefulness, and joy for what’s to come!

Accents & Illuminations

Walker|West Music Academy | Newsletter | January 2023

Join us this Saturday for the first open house of the year!

You, your family, and friends are invited to this month’s open house! We welcome you to meet some of our staff, learn about what we offer, and you may see one of our programs in action. Come spend a few hours with us! Enjoy refreshments, and ask anything you want to know about Walker|West. Enroll for individual lessons, and find out how you can support our organization.

Saturday, January 28th, 2023 | 10am – 2pm

Walker|West Music Academy
760 Selby Ave, St. Paul, MN 55104.

If you have any questions or need more information, please give us a call at 651-224-2929 or email us at

Get ready for the next show in the Rondo Community Music Series: Felix James

Saturday, February 4, 2023 – Save your spot to watch online

Don’t miss this special Black History Month performance and Felix’s first appearance in the series.

In order to watch with us in our virtual music hall, be sure to click ‘Save My Spot’ when you get to Crowd cast, to get updates about this show, including a reminder just before show begins. In order to attend in person, use the button below to contact Libby Turner or call/text 651-263-3831. 

To attend in person please email:

You are invited to the 137th Saint Paul Winter Carnival’s first RONDO NIGHT

Join us for an evening of lively Rondo performances. Support BIPOC artisans, businesses, and organizations. Savor flavorful bites from Taste of Rondo while learning more about the vibrant history of Rondo.

It will be a night to remember.

This Event is Sponsored by a Grant from the: Saint Paul Star Program. Plus Presenting Sponsors: Priority Courier Experts and Xcel Energy

  • When: Thursday, February 2nd, 5:00 – 9:30 p.m.
  • Where: Landmark Center 75 West 5th Street, Saint Paul 55102
  • What: Music, art, food, fun, friends, special guest appearances / Free prize drawings / Free event with Free public transportation.

*Walker|West is a RONDO Roundtable member organization and invites you to attend this external event. For more information contact the event organizers.

Gather, Explore and Grow: Thank you for 35 years of support!

The joyful sounds and spirit of music enrichment that originate on Selby Avenue in St. Paul are fueled by a broad community of supporters. Our key income sources are a mix of revenue generating programming, support from corporations and foundations, and individual donors and volunteers. 

Special Thanks to our recent funding partners:

  • Anonymous ($250,000 for Capital Campaign)
  • US BANK Foundation ($100,000 for Capital Campaign)
  • 2022 Innovation in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Award, Family Caregiver Alliance (for Amazing Grace Chorus)

If you would like to make a major gift, please get in touch with our Executive Director, Braxton Haulcy

( | 651-789-1684).

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

New Year, New Teaching Artist – Welcoming Michael May

Michael May is a guitarist / educator. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Wayne State University. He studied under Steven Carrier and Matt Michaels at Wayne State University and privately with Guitarist John E. Lawrence. Michael has worked as a teaching/artist with Twin Cities Mobile Jazz, Park Square Theater (Marie and Rosetta) and continues to perform with various artists in the Twin Cities area.⁣

⁣What compelled you to join on at Walker|West? Any connection to the school?
”Walker West has a great legacy and reputation for music education. I also have many friends on the Walker West faculty.”

⁣What is the importance / benefit of music education?
“There are many benefits of a music education. It is GREAT exercise for the brain!” ⁣

⁣How would you describe your teaching style?
”Organic, Intuitive and Personal”⁣

Begin, re-start, or continue your music learning journey with Michael May and other teaching artists here at Walker|West. Enrolling now. New Semester begins soon.

Photo: Unity Church

January Jazz Sunday with Walker West Jazz Ensemble @ Unity Church

Sunday, January 29 | 2:00pm | Unity Church Sanctuary

This concert will feature Unity Church youth Callum Schultz (upright bass) and Will Aldrich (saxophone) in performance with other members of the Walker West Jazz Ensemble. Come support these young musicians and the incredible community resource that is Walker West Music Academy. The concert is free but donations will be gratefully accepted in support of the work and students of Walker West.

*This is an external event featuring Walker|West students. We invite you to attend this free concert in support of the jazz ensemble. For questions about the event please contact the event organizers

Support Music Education: Consider Monthly Giving in 2023

Thank you to all who made their EOY gifts this past December and throughout last year. If you’d like to get a jump on your 2023 charitable giving, deepening impact in a simple, secure way: consider making your gift a monthly sustaining donation.

Monthly giving makes it easier to break up your gift over time, for greater impact as well as helping our organization have funds we can count on throughout the year.


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 |

  • 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 ( | 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


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


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 (

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:

Walker West Music Academy outgrows Selby Ave. site | MyVillager :

“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:

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:

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:

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