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Walker|West

Past Events

Sphinx Virtuosi Pre-concert With Kamoinge Strings

On Sunday, October 15, Kamoinge Strings performed their first concert of the season at the Ordway Music Center in downtown St. Paul. The premiere string ensemble of Walker West set the mood for the audience attending the Sphinx Virtuosi concert. Kamoinge Strings performed selections that ranged from classical to jazz and closed with a stirring arrangement of “We Shall Overcome.” The ensemble comprises 12 violinists ages 12 to 18 years from our string studios.

In addition to Kamoige, these diverse and accomplished students participate in the highly competitive Minnesota Youth Symphonies, Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies, and the Artaria Chamber Music School. The event was sponsored by the Schubert Club and entailed the ensemble sharing and in many cases, introducing their artistry to the Sphinx Virtuosi audience and personnel. Comprised of 18 accomplished Black and Latinx artists, Sphinx Virtuosi is an internationally acclaimed, dynamic, and inspiring professional self-conducted chamber orchestra that serves as the flagship performing entity of the Sphinx Organization – the leading social justice non-profit dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

The orchestra released its first album, SONGS FOR OUR TIMES this year, and was in the final leg of a national tour. Heading to Philadelphia and New York’s Carnegie Hall after Saint Paul, the orchestra made time to meet with our Kamoinge Strings students after their concert. Among those who had a chance to hear our students was Afa Dworkin, President and Artistic Director of Sphinx. She hoped students would consider participating in their programs, including Summer Performance Academy. In the past, Walker West string students have participated in this national program for gifted Black and Latinx string musicians, allowing them to spend time at such conservatories as the Curtis Institute, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Chicago College of Music at Roosevelt University. Nice start to the season! 

  • Sunday, October 15, 2023 | Kamoige Strings Pre-Concert Performance for the Sphinx Virtuosi  at the Ordway 
  • Sunday, November 12, 2023 | Kamoinge Strings at the Bell Museum for the opening of their new Planetarium Show
  • Saturday, November 18, 2023 | Kamoinge Strings at the Filmore Minneapolis for the MN Association of Black Lawyers
  • Thursday, November 30, 2023 | Kamoinge Strings at the Landmark Center for National Association of Counties 
  • The string department also had two recitals in November (11/4 & 11/11). The department will do its annual Holiday Recital / Concert on  Saturday, December 9. The performance will feature Kamoinge Strings.

Merging Music With Science | Kamoinge Strings At The Bell Museum

With the opening of their new Planetarium Show, “Secrets of the Forest.”, Kamoinge Strings inaugurated a new program that brings music to the Bell Museum – Minnesota’s official natural history museum and planetarium. Kamoinge Strings performed in two galleries as visitors wandered the museum. Over 600 guests visited the space on Sunday, November 12, for the opening weekend of the new show – a record number. And visitors stayed for the mini-concerts!

Kamoinge played for approximately 45 minutes to a crowd of young and old and everything in between. The new show is cinematic mastery of Secrets from a Forest. This Bell Museum original planetarium production features members of the Minnesota Orchestra as it illuminates the creation of the Stradivarius violin. Beginning in the forests of Italy and concluding in a concert hall, this story illustrates the intimate connections between sound and nature throughout time and space. Kamoinge and Walker West obtained many new fans as Marie distributed Walker West swag and provided information about the ensemble and the academy to the many inquiries. Some folks hung around for both mini-concerts!

We even got lots of hugs afterward from Bell Museum staff and visitors. The Bell Museum has offered a discounted rate for Walker West students and families as part of our partnership. See Student Services about this great promotion, and go see the Secrets of the Forrest before it ends in February! Playing among Minnesota’s mastodons and Castoroides (giant beavers) gives a whole new meaning to “playing to a big audience.

Tune Into Summer Event

Thursday, June 1 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Location: Walker|West new building – 650 Marshall Avenue, Saint Paul, MN

Thanks to our many partnerships including Wilder Foundation & Model Cities, we have secured a new home for our music learning community.

Guests of the event came to check out the development plans for a state-of-the-art digital music space, performance hall, and exterior zones for camps and warm weather music.

A Conversation with Randall Goosby

Saturday, March 11, at 4:00 – 5:15pm

Learn more about Randall Gosby here: https://randallgoosby.com/

Alexa Tarantino Masterclass

Esteemed jazz saxophonist, woodwind artist, composer and mentor, Alexa Tarantino conducted a masterclass for Walker|West students and community members.

Monday, March 6th | 6:30pm – 7:45pm

Learn more about Alexa here: alexatarantino.com

Music, Resistance, and Activism

A panel discussion moderated by Earl Ross, String Department

Thursday, February 23 | 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

About the Discussion

This panel discussion is a part of a month-long series of community and university events produced by Concordia University, St. Paul in partnership with Walker|West and other community and faith-based organizations.  The series culminates in a concert featuring a community-centered performance of Joel Thompson’s “The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed”.  For tickets or more information about the culminating concert, please visit www.csp.edu/tickets/ 

About the Panelists

Toni Carter

Toni Carter is the first African-American ever to serve on a county board in Minnesota.  While serving as Ramsey County Commissioner, she led several system change efforts such as the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative that has reduced the number of youth held at Ramsey County’s Juvenile Detention Center and increased system and community alternatives for low-risk youth. Active in community building for over 30 years, Toni has served on numerous community boards, including the Saint Paul Planning Commission, the Metropolitan Area Library Service Agency (MELSA), the Walker West Music Academy, the West Side Community Health Center, the Saint Paul YWCA and the Jeremiah Program.  She also has served as member and chair of the Saint Paul Board of Education.

deVon Gray

The multi-instrumentalist, classically trained composer is as comfortable writing orchestral and operatic works as he is churning out jazz riffs and hip-hop bravado. His breadth of knowledge saturates various instruments, multiple genres, and limitless styles. And he does it all so effortlessly even he is unaware that he’s working. While many creators spend hours perfecting their craft & skills, dVRG, as he is known, envisions the pen and watches the music write itself. In addition to performing, Gray collaborates with artists (mostly musicians) to produce impactful journeys of socially conscious sound and art. Lending his expertise to several different local, regional, and national performing ensembles he’s fortunate to have shared stages and screens with folks including: Heiruspecs, Brother Ali, Chastity Brown, and many more.

Jayanthi Rajasa

Jayanthi and Gospel Machine guitarist Wes Burdine wrote the song “Hand in Hand” in for the Million Artist Movement. The song, inspired by the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, was first performed at the Million March MN rally on December 13, 2014. “Hand in Hand” addresses both the police and elected officials;[8] Jayanthi also performed the song at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre‘s May Day Parade in 2015 and at Black Lives Matter events. The song has become an unofficial anthem for the Minneapolis Black Lives Matter movement Jayanthi was also active in protests following the death of Philando Castille, where she used her singing to process grief and deliver hope. She currently facilitates the Homies in Harmony, Walker West’s early childhood program. 

September 2022 – February 2023

2022 Rondo Community Music Series, sponsored by the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts.

Rewatch all performances with the link below.

Let’s Get Our Jazz Ensembles Gig Ready for Give to the Max!

For 2022 GTMD project we raised funds for our Youth and Adult Jazz Ensembles.

Gospel According to Jazz, a musical healing experience linking the improvisational style and techniques of Jazz with a spirited interpretation of the Gospel, driving community connection and conversation. 

Previous Dates

August 7, 2022 – Give Get Sistet – Rewatch the entire service courtesy of Liberty Community Church

August 14, 2022 – Kevin Washington Rewatch the entire service courtesy of Liberty Community Church

August 21, 2022 – Jack Breen, Music of Coltrane Rewatch the entire service courtesy of Liberty Community Church

More about this series:

This collaboration with Liberty Community Church and Walker|West explores how Jazz music has been closely intertwined with the concept of spiritual identity. The ties between Gospel music and the Jazz tradition run deep.

Jazz is rooted in freedom, joy, and trust. It’s innately spiritual, fueling a creative spirit that loves community and collaboration. Like the Gospel and gospel music traditions, great jazz has a story to tell. Stories that require faith (improvisation), collaboration, and passion to deliver!

From Louis Armstrong performing Spirituals, to the sacred music of Mary Lou Williams and Duke Ellington –many Jazz artists have mixed sounds and performance styles within each genre and tradition.

Join us for the 2022 series, as we celebrate and elaborate on this connection. We can’t wait to share the Gospel According to Jazz with you!

The Burning Truth Project – Live-streaming June 3rd

Presented by Pangea World Theater and Walker West Music Academy

Featuring vocalists Andrina Brogden, Katia Cardenas and Sarah M. Greer with Theo Brown (keys), Miguel Hurtado (drums) and Nii Mensah (bass).

The Burning Truth Project is a 90-minute performance that weaves together songs and story with space to share and reflect some of the many thoughts, lessons and feelings we have been holding as a community since the summer of 2020.

Created and performed by vocalists Andrina Brogden, Katia Cardenas and Sarah M. Greer.

Original artwork by Jordan M. Hamilton. Donations accepted and appreciated.

Walker|West Student Ensemble Joins PaviElle French & Friends

May 22, 2022 | 6:30pm | Fitzgerald Theatre

Join us for a very special evening featuring Emmy Award-winning, interdisciplinary artist PaviElle French, alongside outstanding local musicians, members of her illustrious 6-piece band, and a student ensemble from Saint Paul’s Walker West Music Academy. This concert at the historic Fitzgerald Theater will feature all original music by PaviElle, including the world premiere of a new work, commissioned by Schubert Club, celebrating themes of Black liberation, and youth empowerment. Weaving together a tapestry of Jazz, Soul, Hip-Hop, and Classical music styles, the work reflects PaviElle’s response to current happenings in our country.”

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Generous support has also been provided by Bill and Susan Sands and the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation.

String Ensemble at Sundin Music Hall

February 5 | 7PM

Kamoinge String Ensemble played side-by-side with Artaria String Quartet on Saturday February 5. Music by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, William Grant Still, and Anthony Green premiering his new work Joy Diptych.

Sundays At Landmark Student Concert

More about the event: The Walker|West student concert is part of the Sundays at Landmark Program series at Landmark Center. The series is sponsored by Ramsey County, Ecolab and Xcel Energy.

Give to the Max Day 2021

You’ve already helped us raise more than $8k for instrument repair. Thank you!

(This event has ended. Make a gift anytime year-round visit:walkerwest.org/donate)

Rondo Community Music Series (2021)

October – December

This event has ended – rewatch shows anytime here: crowdcast.io/walkerwest

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