How to Describe Our Music Scene? Happening
People who live here, and those who visit, often say “Wow, you’ve got a lot of serious talent for a smaller city.” Visit any of our many music festivals, outdoor concerts or venues and you’ll see that it’s true. From blues at Ben Magoon’s to favorites like Jason Riley or Blue Oyster Culture Club at Rockin’ on the River, St. Joseph is always rockin’ to the beat. Maybe it’s because we have a rich musical history. Maybe it’s because of our musical present, with punk bands Radkey touring the world and Scruffy and the Janitors showing up regularly in rotation on Kansas City’ alt station, 96.5. Maybe it’s because we have a lot of creative people. Or maybe it’s just because. We’ll let you form your own theory.
LIVE MUSIC SCENE
The live music scene is happening all week, year-round. Check out Sounds of Summer Friday night concerts at Felix Street Square, or the Sunday night Imagine 11 series. Bring your lawnchairs and the family for Parties on the Parkway, or stake out your spot for a weekend of music magic at the Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival. Names like Under the Big Oak Tree draw a toe-tapping crowd at Bluegrass Battles Hunger, and new to the city is the Celtic Street Festival. Music at the Mansion (held at the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion) is a spring season hit, and of course August brings Trails West! – the region’s premier arts and music festival. Acts across all genres, and across both the local and national scene take the stage at this show-stopping event. (Past names at Trails West! have included Taylor Swift, Grand Funk Railroad, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Styx). On a weekly basis, Cafe Acoustic allows new and existing local talent to captivate the audience, and big-scale country acts can be found at No Place. Rock fans head to Amnesia II, where names like Head East pack the house and tell stories of hanging out with bands like Boston and the guys in Def Leppard). For a softer sound, check out the Saint Joseph Symphony performances, St. Joseph Community Chorus or the year-round professional shows brought to town to the Missouri Theatre by the Performing Arts Association.
A long-time name in St. Joseph music is Lanham. From school instruments and lessons, to walls of guitars, amps and drums, Lanham Music has launched some of the region’s best musicians. Some of the instructors have filled in on the stage for big names themselves. Gerhardt Music is another local name for students young and old. Many advanced students and faculty at MWSU offer lessons, and many have played alongside the best … such as globally successful classical guitarist Anthony Glise. (Watch the MWSU calendar for regular recitals and performances in their auditoriums.)
BLACK ARCHIVES MUSEUM
Celebrating St. Joseph’s music heritage means a trip to the Black Archives Museum at the St. Joseph Museum on Frederick Avenue. Exhibits, artifacts and stories of legends who lived in St. Joseph, like Coleman Hawkins and Etta Cox, continually impress many generations of locals and visitors. One visit here and it’s easy to see where our city gets its flare for great music.