Pick-Up Notes – Fall Newsletter 2023

Pick-Up Notes
The Newsletter from the St. Joseph Arts Academy
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Dear Students & SJAA Families,Recently, we were honored to be a part of a fall presentation on the arts in our community to the Joseph Company in coordination with “Imagine 2040”.  The presentation brought nearly every local arts organization together to discuss and strategize about the future of the arts in St. Joseph.  Together, we created a powerful message that went directly to the heart of our local community leaders.

These leaders recognized the importance of OUR academy in fostering a vibrant arts community in St. Joseph. At the heart of the SJAA mission is the belief that the arts are not just a form of entertainment but a powerful means of connecting people and enriching lives. As we work in harmony with local organizations like the Albrecht Kemper Museum of Art, St. Joseph Museums, Second Harvest Food Bank, RRT, Creative Arts Productions and our public and private schools, we strengthen the cultural fabric of our city, providing a platform for families to engage in the arts.

Our academy is THE place where creativity knows no bounds, and our students are the driving force behind this cultural renaissance. By collaborating with organizations such as the St. Joseph Symphony, Downtown Association and 3D Arts Pod, we amplify the impact of the arts in our community. It is through these collective efforts that we create an environment where the arts flourish, offering families an opportunity to embrace the beauty of expression and innovation.

We encourage all of our families to become an integral part of this thriving arts community. Together with organizations like the Allied Arts Council and the Community Chorus, we aim to inspire, educate, and entertain, forging lasting connections that enhance the quality of life for every St. Joseph resident. Thank you for your continued support, and let us look forward to a future where the arts are at the heart of our community.

It was our challenge to the Joseph Company leaders to be a “Champion for 8”.  And we put that challenge to each of us.  It’s simple and fun!  Make a commitment to visit one museum, attend one show and/or make a retail purchase or take a class each month, October ’23 to May of ’24 for a total of 8 Months.

Look for the “Arts Menu” located around the academy for some places to start.  With your support, local arts will continue to grow along with the cultural identity of our hometown.  It’s the simple first steps to making St. Joseph a better and better place to live, work and play for all of our families!

Let’s Make Some Great Music This Fall!

jason and SJAA

Jason Riley – Director

(816) 294-4856 cell
St. Joseph Arts Academy
(816) 974-SOLO (7656)


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  • Special Events and Roddy Barnes LIVE
  • New Students
  • Current Contests
    • 30 Day Practice Challenge
    • Referrals
  • Celebrations
    • Referral Contest Winner
    • Student of the Month!
    • Pet of the Month
  • Calendar of Events
  • … AND MORE!
SJAA News & Updates
Academy Welcomes New Team Members

DRUMS ARE BACK to the SJAA and New F.O.H (Front of House)!
Join us in welcoming new team members: Chris Bates (Drums), Jess Mengel (Admin), and David Parker (Drums)!

We have a very select team at the SJAA. Very happy to have these great folks with us.

Photo Day @ SJAA 2023!
Our annual student appreciation and “Photo Day @ SJAA” was a big hit last weekend.  Students got the “model” treatment with a fun photo shoot (with their instruments) with Tyler Osborn Studios from KC.  These heirloom quality photos are a snapshot in time that will be beautiful art for the SJAA walls and a treasure for our families’ homes.

Bluegrass Battles Hunger
SJAA violin and guitar students gave a special performance in support of the Second Harvest Food Bank.  “Bluegrass Battles Hunger” is an annual music festival to benefit the hungry in our region.  After a rainout and a reschedule, the bluegrass went on in the SJAA recital room to a packed house.  Thanks to all the students and families who rallied for this great cause!

Upcoming & Special Events
Attention: Pianists, Singers, Songwriters
(or anyone interested in blues, jazz or gospel styles)

Roddy Barnes Live!
RSVP – Limited Seating Available. Call/text/email for your spot.
The incredibly talented Roddy Barnes will be performing live at the AKMA, Saturday, November at 7pm. Renowned for his captivating musical style, Roddy seamlessly blends the rich sounds of blues, jazz, gospel, and the vibrant spirit of New Orleans into a captivating performance. His mastery of the piano, combined with his soulful vocals, creates an immersive and unforgettable experience for all who have the pleasure of listening. Prepare to be swept away by the melodic tapestry woven by Roddy Barnes.

SJAA students from the Studio of Monica Johnson will perform in recital in advance of Roddy’s performance beginning at 545pm.  Come early to share some music with them and support the advancing musicians from the academy!

Welcome to SJAA!

Help us welcome our newest SJAA students….

Jaynee, Stetson, Andrea, Jewel, Mavis, Jacob, Sayla, Mason, Cooper, Morgan, Nataly, Anastasia, Breanna, Eliana, Lukus, Nathan, Tanya, Noori, Eamon, Casey, Evan, Keegan, Kruz, Bodhi, Lanna, Helen, Ariel and Christian!

Private lessons spots are limited with our amazing coaching faculty at the SJAA but we still have room to grow.  Thank you for referring your friends and family to the academy!

Current Contests
Referral Contests for Current SJAA Students!

Refer a friend or a family member to the SJAA for private lessons and you’ll be registered for a drawing to WIN a PRIVATE Pizza or Ice Cream PARTY at the SJAA!

Share our referral card as a GIFT FROM YOU and they’ll get FREE registration and their First Lesson FREE (a $67 Value!) when they register for lessons.  AND… you’ll both be registered for the quarterly referral contest for a chance to win a PRIVATE PARTY at the SJAA!

They WIN, you WIN and the SJAA WINS another great student JUST LIKE YOU! Thank you for sharing the SJAA with your friends and family!

Awards & Recognitions
The amount of 1st Recital, Book Completions & Practice Buddy certificates, awards and recognitions is simply incredible this season.  Your students are working hard to accomplish their musical goals.
All get posted to our “Wall of Fame” on our Facebook Page.
November is a 30 Day Practice Challenge!

Grab a practice sheet from your teacher and write down your practice time. Turn in your practice log for this 30 day month and earn a prize!
Grand Prize is $25 gift Card!

30 Day Practice Challenge… Emily P.!

Congrats to Emily, who practiced over 30 hours in September!  We’ll give Emily a $25 Visa Gift Card. Every student who participated received positive recognition and a gift card from the SJAA!

Summer Referral Contest Winner… Alejandro C!

Alejandro (pictured with little brother, Max) refers his friends and familiy to the SJAA.  The boys study piano in Mrs. Marina’s studio.   We’ll host a Pizza or Ice Cream Party for Alejandro and 15 of his friends! Congratulations, Alejandro! Thank you for referring your friends and family to the Academy.



Here Comes the Bride!

Congratulations to Mrs. Monica (formerly King) (and Trevor) Johnson who “tied the knot” recently!!!  Wishing you a lifetime of happiness!  – Your SJAA family

Student of the Month Award
Our Student of the Month is…   Alex R.!

We are so lucky to have Alex and his family with us at the SJAA.

Alex’s hobbies include playing guitar (as a homeschooler he drives over an hour each week to study with Mr. Riley), video games, reading and working with electronics.  Aside of the work at the SJAA, he’s into Bible quizzing, community theater, leading worship and church activities and works on the family farm.

Alex (along with his guitar coach, director, Mr. Riley) will be performing in the pit for CHS Theatre’s upcoming run of the musical “Mean Girls”.

He’s also humble, kind-hearted and a hard worker.

Way to go, Alex!  We are SO proud of you!!

We’ll celebrate Alex with an Amazon gift card! Thank you, Alex for referring your friends and family to the Academy.

To be considered for Student of the Month, be sure to talk to your teacher about all your musical and extracurricular activities, share pictures and refer your fellow musicians to the academy.

Pet of the Month Award
Our October “Pet of the Month” goes to …   the Lindsay’s dog, Sadie!  Thank you to the Lindsay family for sharing a photo of your sweet fur baby.

Each month, SJAA will select a pet to feature and a donation will be made to Friends of the Animal Shelter of St. Joseph and St. Joseph Animal Shelter in honor of all of our local pets in need. Share a favorite pic of your favorite pet and maybe they’ll be named the SJAA “Pet of the Month”!  Bring on those adorable snapshots!

We’ve now reached over 40, 5-star Google reviews!  So, thank you to everybody that put in their reviews.  We so much appreciate it, but we want to get to 50 reviews.  If you haven’t yet, please consider going to Goggle, giving us a review.  We’d love your feedback and thank you so much again for helping us get over 25 5-star Google reviews.


REVIEWS https://g.page/r/CZvsJULwejcCEAg/review

Calendar of Events
SJAA 2023

10/14 – Photo Day @ SJAA
10/14 – SJAA @ Pumpkin Fest 5:30pm
10/28 – “Mall-o-ween” @ East Hills Mall,
Halloween-themed SJAMTA Student Recital, 2pm

11/1 – “30 Day Practice Challenge” Begins!
Join for a chance to WIN $25 Gift Card
11/4 – Roddy Barnes LIVE @ AKMA, 7pm
11/19 – SJAMTA student recital @ Potter Hall MWSU, 2pm

12/9 – “Mall-a-thon” 10am-4pm @ East Hills Mall
12/25 – Merry Christmas!  SJAA Closed.

Looking Ahead in 2024

2/24 – SJAMTA “Monster Concert”
@ Potter Fine Arts Theater, MWSU, 3pm

Sign up for Auto-Payments

Monthly tuition for private lessons (30 minute weekly sessions) is $108.

Review Our Lesson Policy

Does Your Teacher Have Openings?

If you need a schedule change or would to be added to a waiting for a particular teacher, please contact our office and we can add you to the waiting list.  If you are not a student yet, there are still limited lessons spots available.

  • Andrew Holmes 330 Tuesday
  • Brent Isom FULL
  • Chris Bates 530 Thursday
  • Claire Gerhardt 4pm Friday
  • Darren Verbick 330 Tuesday
  • David Parker 6 Monday
  • Jason Riley FULL
  • Jolie Riley FULL
  • Marina Gurnovich  Thursday
  • Monica King 330 Thursday
  • Terry Brock FULL
  • Tyler Boone 930 Saturday
  • Anthony Glise 630 Monday
  • Reaganne Kovac 4 Friday

SJAA Classes/Courses – Private music lessons in Guitar, Piano, Violin, Cello, Voice, Ukulele, Drums, Mandolin, Banjo, Electric Bass, Trumpet, Strings,  Early Childhood Classes, Group Guitar, Group Ukulele. Art Classes, Online Music Lessons & Adult Art Classes.

We also offer…
Discounts on music books & accessories, instrument rentals and rental space for birthday parties and special events.

TeacherZone is our on-line platform for our students and our teachers.

UNITED FIBER has come to the SJAA!
Free Wi-Fi – SJAA password “MusicAccomplished”

Academy Mission

Our mission at the St. Joseph Arts Academy is to provide the highest quality musical instruction and performance opportunities to beginning and advancing students in the Midland empire. We use our patience, enthusiasm and loyalty to encourage, inform and inspire others to happily share their skill and talent in love and gratitude to make the world a better place.

OUR MOTTO…   Music Accomplished!

Thank you for reading -“Pick-Up Notes” –  
Fall Newsletter from the St. Joseph Arts Academy!

It’s always a great season and they go by so fast!

Thank you for encouraging the advancing musicians in your life and in our community.

We are making the world a better place through music.

It’s fun!  Thank you for that.

Jason Riley
8162944856 (personal cell)
Here to help! Call or text if you need anything at all.
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