Named in honor of William Grant Still, the dean of Black Composers, Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia of Metropolitan Atlanta (Sinfo-Nia), celebrates over 25 years of instructing thousands of young talented instrumental and dance students, as well as providing over 400 performances locally, nationally and internationally. Sinfo-Nia is under the artistic direction of David E. Robinson, III, a 5th generation, 33-year string teacher of the DeKalb County School System. Sinfo-Nia performs various types of music, most of which are arranged by David himself. “Still Waters” symbolizes the works of the world’s greatest black composers being under-represented and under-recognized like buried treasure beneath the sea of waters in a distant ocean. A “sinfonia” is a short symphonic work or a small orchestra that intimately offers a variety of music to be enjoyed by any audience. Therefore Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia is a tribute to rare works by black composers such as William Grant Still.
Sinfo-Nia’s fundamental purpose is to give talented, young artists an opportunity to perform a variety of multicultural productions, become more proficient musicians, travel, meet other young artisans, prepare to earn college scholarships, and consider careers in the music/dance industry. The Orchestra has its own dance company that offers instruction in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, African and hip-hop styles. The Orchestra holds classes and rehearsals at First Congregational Church of Atlanta during the school year on Monday evenings 6:30 – 8:30 and Saturday mornings from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m.
Over 1,000 musicians have participated in either the Summer Academy and/or the after school program. Sinfo-Nia’s past performances range from Atlanta, throughout The USA and to Africa, including completion of three music videos for songs: Fly Away promoting the movie “life.less,” What IT Look Like with rappers Curren$y and Wale and with Ashanti Floyd “The Mad Violinist” in his composition of Battlefield to promote orchestral education. Sinfo-Nia has given repeat performances for rap artist, actor and entertainer, 50 Cent; and completed its first professional recording with Grammy Award winning Yasmeen Williams, an original member of the treasured soul a capella ensemble, “Sweet Honey in the Rock”. Recently, Sinfo-Nia completed an audio recording for the nationally syndicated Bouce TV “Color of STEM” Show, providing the them song and snippets to support the show format. The Orchestra has received accolades, and commendations of distinction from Mayors of Atlanta, Chief Executive Officers of DeKalb County, US Congressmen, Governors, Fulton County Superior Court Justice, UN Secretary General, and the US Ambassador and President of Ghana, West Africa. Approximately 86% of orchestra members are honor students from public, private, charter and home schools who continue to earn college, graduate and doctoral degrees.