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


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