THE BLK BIRD
Ra'Geen, a native of Saint Louis, Missouri, has always had a deep passion for music. From a young age, she showed immense talent and dedication to her craft, specializing in both violin and voice. While her classical training laid a strong foundation, Ra'Geen's musical journey has taken her far beyond the confines of one genre. She has graced the stage with her performances in Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, and Gospel, showcasing her versatility and ability to adapt to different styles.
At the tender age of 9, Ra'Geen picked up the violin and instantly fell in love with its enchanting melodies. Throughout high school and college, she made a conscious decision to immerse herself in music, dedicating countless hours to practice and performance. It was during this time that she sought to broaden her horizons and deepen her understanding of music. As an undergraduate student at the esteemed University of Missouri-St. Louis, Ra'Geen had the privilege of studying under the guidance of the renowned Ariana String Quartet. In 2014, she proudly graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, a testament to her unwavering commitment and hard work.
Beyond her musical pursuits, Ra'Geen is an active member of her community. She has served as an In Unison Associate Fellow and Educational Liaison at Powell Symphony Hall, using her knowledge and passion for music to make a positive impact. Additionally, she is a dedicated music educator in the SLPS system and also offers private strings instruction. Her current mission is to enlighten the community about the significance and relevance of classical music, while also celebrating and honoring the contributions of black and brown artists both past and present.
Ra'Geen's journey as a musician and advocate for the arts is a testament to her talent, dedication, and unwavering belief in the power of music to unite and inspire.
Erika N. Wilson, a proud native of St. Louis, exemplifies the advantages of receiving an equitable arts education combined with innovative opportunities.
Having graduated from Normandy High School in 2003, Wilson had the privilege of experiencing an unparalleled arts education within the fine arts department of her cherished alma mater. It was there that she first encountered the Cameron Youth Chamber Orchestra, a platform dedicated to nurturing African American youth string players. From the eighth grade onwards, and even long after her college graduation, Wilson was immersed in a genuine classical music-cultural training community.
Initially aspiring to pursue a career in music business as an A&R professional, Wilson eventually discovered her true passion within the communications department. Throughout her academic journey, she strategically maintained her position in the orchestra and secured a scholarship, a well-thought-out approach for an out-of-state student who was simultaneously fostering new talents beyond the realm of violin.
Monet Royal, a St. Louis, Missouri native, embarked on her viola studies during her undergraduate education at Southeast Missouri State University. In 2017, she successfully obtained her Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance. Continuing her pursuit of excellence, Monet furthered her education and obtained a Master's degree in Music Performance from Oklahoma State University in 2019. During her time at Oklahoma State University, she was honored as a Patti Johnson Wilson Foundation fellow and had the privilege of showcasing her talent with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra while attending classes. Demonstrating her versatility and skill, Ms. Royal has graced international stages in Guardiagrele, Italy and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. More recently, she has captivated audiences in Sacramento, California as part of the Colour of Music Festival, as well as in Atlanta, Georgia, where she participated in the first Red Bull Symphonic in the United States alongside the Orchestra Noir. Monet Royal's dedication to her craft extends beyond her love for classical music; she is also deeply committed to breaking barriers as a black, female classical musician.
Tai Davis is a Saint Louis based cellist performing multiple genres of musical repertoire. He started seriously pursuing the cello at the age of 16, studying under the late Dr. Glenda Piek. In 2002 Davis won the Southern Illinois Young Artist Concerto Competition, and soon thereafter he was awarded a music scholarship to attend Southern Illinois University studying under the guidance of Kang-ho Lee and Martha Schmiditchieva. Davis has also participated in various masterclasses with cellists Tsyoshi Tsutsumi, Marc Johnson, Andres Fejer, Hans Jorgen Jenson, and David Schepps to name a few.
Being a very active chamber musician, Davis has performed with a multitude of orchestras including Symphony of the Americas, Meadowmount, Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theatre Saint Louis, the Saint Louis Youth Symphony, the Muny Orchestra, the Paducah Symphony, and, is currently an active cellist the University City Symphony, Town and Country Symphony, St. Charles Symphony, Edwardsville Symphony, and Alliance Philharmonia respectively. He is an avid performer, a practitioner of vibrational sound therapy in the rhythmically driven duo LUX, is one of the founders of the BlckBird String Ensemble, and has collaborated with several artists and composers including Brian Owens, Tonya Gilmore, Anna Cattor, and Ron Robinson. In additional to being Regional Arts Scholar, Davis has been awarded the National Symphonic Orchestra Award, and the Jefferson County African American Heritage Society Award of Achievement through the Arts.