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June Newsletter


Register Now For Our Summer Camps!!

“Grow Through Music” Summer Camp

Our “Grow Through Music” camp offers a fun introduction to a variety of instruments for beginning students, and a way to reconnect with friends and instructors for returning students. Campers will learn in a supportive small group environment with a chance to perform during our end of camp presentation.

When: July 8 – July 26, 2024 | Monday – Friday | 8am – 12pm daily
Who: Grades K-6

Summer Music Production College Course at Hamline

Supercharge your artistic voice this summer with hands-on Music Production instruction in this 2-week intensive college course at Hamline University! Full scholarships are available to all students.

When: July 8-12, 9am-3pm | Monday – Friday
Who: Grades 10+

Summer Jazz Intensive

The Summer Jazz Intensive program is a one week comprehensive experience for beginner to advanced youth musicians to hone their performing skills, take applied classes and interact with world-class jazz faculty at Walker|West.

When: July 29 – Aug 2, 2024 | Monday – Friday | 10am – 4pm daily
Who: Grades 6-12

Summer Jazz Violin Workshop

5-Day Intensive (For intermediate violin students)

This 5-day workshop is for violin (only) students looking to branch out from traditional classical violin or who desire to take their improvisation to the next level.

When: August 5 – 9, 2024 | Monday – Friday | 9am – 12pm daily
Who: Grades 5-12

Walker West at Twin Cities Jazz Fest

Walker West is providing educational and performance opportunities for students, including…

  • Masterclasses with the headliners, Karrin Allyson and Kandace Springs
  • A “Chronology of Jazz Matriarchy” from our 2024 Jazzwomen Collective
  • 2 days of youth performances on the Walker West Music Academy Youth Stage at Saint City (218 E 7th St, St. Paul, MN 55105). 

Check out this “Guide to Walker|West at the Fest” to catch our students and faculty performing all weekend long. 

Friday June 21

 – 12:30 MASTERCLASS with Karrin Allyson w/ Jazzwomen Collective @ Saint City

 – 2pm Walker West “Women in Jazz Retreat” Performance @ Saint City

 – 2:45pm Walker West Youth Jazz Ensembles @ Saint City

 – 3:45 Aberration Combo (ft. students from Experience Jazz 2023-24) @ tpt 

 – 4pm Kamoinge Strings of Walker West @ Saint City

 – 7pm – Kevin Jackson @ Papa Legba’s

 – 7pm – Walker West Advanced Ensemble @ Pimento Jamaican Kitchen

Saturday, June 22

 – 11am MASTERCLASS with Kandace Springs
@ Walker West Music Academy

 – 12pm Youth Performances – Walker West Music Academy & MacPhail Center for Music’s Youth Jazz Ensembles, with Headliner Joe Lovano @ Jazz88 Mainstage

 – 2pm Kavyesh Kaviraj Quintet @ Jazz88 Mainstage

 – 3pm The Avant Garde – Hosted/curated by WW Teaching Artist Chadwick Phillips @ 5th Street Stage

 – 4pm Walker West Jazzwomen Collective presents “A Chronology of Jazz Matriarchy” @ Jazz88 Mainstage


Saturday, June 22 11am at Walker West

“Kandace has a voice that could melt snow” – Prince

Walker|West is honored to host a masterclass with Twin Cities Jazz Festival headliner, vocalist, pianist, and songwriter Kandace Springs in our performance hall. Kandace will perform and present with her all-female rhythm section, including Camille Gainer on drums, Caylen Bryant on bass. Vocalists are especially encouraged to attend, and may be able to participate. This event is free and open to the public.
Presented by Walker|West’s Women in Jazz Initiative.

About Kandace Springs

After a wait of almost three years, Kandace Springs’ legion of worldwide fans finally have a new album to look forward to. 2024’s Run Your Race, her tribute to her late father, legendary Nashville soul singer Scat Springs, is the first album of hers to feature almost all original songs, written by Kandace both solo and with some stellar collaborators, such as Gregg Wells (Adele), Matt Hales (Liane La Havas), and her long-time partners Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken (Rihanna). 

“This album is probably the most personal one I’ll ever make,” says Ms. Springs. “My dad was a huge influence on my life and my music, and when he passed away earlier this year, I knew I had to pay tribute to him with this record.” 

Kandace’s last album, The Women Who Raised Me, was released in 2020, garnering 5-star reviews from publications ranging from DownBeat to The New Yorker, as well as winning the Deutscher JazzPreis for best vocal album of the year. Three years is a long time, but Kandace is convinced that her fans will feel the wait was worth it.
“In a way, this album took a whole lifetime to make,” she says, “and I think it shows.” 

Announcing Walker|West’s
2024 Jazzwomen Collective

Performing Saturday, June 22nd – 4-5PM on the Jazz88 Mainstage (in Mears Park) at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival

The 2024 Walker West Jazzwomen Collective brings together women and non-binary musicians with ties to the Twin Cities jazz scene to promote gender justice in jazz. The group performs a mix of original compositions and arrangements and consists of seven emerging instrumentalists including (pictured above, clockwise from top left):

Ella Grace (DePaul University) – trumpet
Izzy Karr (Berklee College of Music) – flute
Sophia Kickhofel (Juilliard School) – alto saxophone
Lo Salinas (Winona State) – keys 
Sophia Kaufmann (Macalester College) – bass
Gabby Helf (Macalester College) – drums

The Jazzwomen Collective is a part of Walker West’s Women in Jazz Initiative, which is focused on addressing the gender gap in jazz, promoting conversations about gender equity, and providing safe spaces for women, non-binary and trans players to experience #jazzwithoutpatriarchy, a movement being led by the Institute for Jazz and Gender Justice at Berklee College of Music. Programming is focused on creating supportive environments for women, non-binary, and trans students to play together, providing opportunities for connection and mentorship, and increasing visibility for women students, artists and organizations across MN.


Our ensembles, including Kamoinge Strings, perform at the annual Twin Cities Jazz Fest this year, one of the largest FREE civic jazz festivals in the region. June also represents the time in which we commemorate Juneteenth – Freedom Day, and the contributions of LGBTQIA+ history-makers.

On Wednesday June 19, Rondo Center of Diverse Expression (RCODE) hosts its 4th Annual Juneteenth Observance at the Rondo Commemorative Plaza, 820 Rondo Ave. St. Paul. This year, the RCODE honors Walker West Music Academy and its founders, Re. Carl Walker and Grant West with the Distinguished Community Leadership award. Activities include outdoor performances by Kamoinge Strings, vendor booths, food trucks and exhibits for children.

Join Us as we celebrate Juneteenth w/ Rondo Center of Diverse Expressions!


11th Annual Honors Recital

Congratulations to our graduating seniors who all were honored during our 11th Annual Rev. Carl Walker and Grant West Honors Recital. The recital included solo selections from high school students and ensemble performances from the Advanced Youth Jazz Ensemble and Kamoinge Strings. This year two faculty nominated seniors were selected by our Founders to receive the Founders Award for their exemplary musicianship and commitment to their musical studies at Walker|West. The 2024 Founders Award recipients are Ataa-Adjetey Mensah and Wacheke Njoroge. We applaud all of our graduating seniors for reaching this milestone and wish you well with your future endeavors. Remember you will ALWAYS have a place at Walker|West to explore, perform and GROW THROUGH MUSIC!

2024 High School Graduates

Oliver Conrod-Wovcha | Cello
Garet Decker | Piano
Gabe Hartnett | Tenor Sax, Advanced Youth Jazz Ensemble
Ataa-Adjetey Mensah | Drums, Advanced Youth Jazz Ensemble
Jackson Muenster | Piano
Wacheke Njoroge | Violin, Kamoinge Strings
Pria Stauning | Trumpet

Check out this Kare 11 spotlight:

Central High’s principal gives back to the place that raised her

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