Named in honor of William Grant Still, the dean of Black Composers, Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia of Metropolitan Atlanta (Sinfo-Nia), celebrates over 27 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, 35-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. Sinfo-Nia is an orchestra that classically archives music of black composers and is a tribute to their rare works.
During summer 2017 Sinfo-Nia’s International Music Cultural Exchange Program was officially endorsed by Jamaica’s Ministry of Culture as a component of Jamaica’s 55th Year of Independence celebration. Our musicians, along with members of the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica, performed and served as youth ambassadors in Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Sinfo-Nia’s first-ever International Youth Orchestra Festival of the African Diaspora serves as a platform for appreciation of diverse cultures, increased awareness, knowledge, motivation and invaluable global experience.
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. Sinfo-Nia is one of the few community orchestras with 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.
Thousands of 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, to Africa and the West Indies. To date Sinfo-Nia has completed several music videos to include songs: Fly Away promoting the movie “life.less,” What IT Look Like with rappers Curren$y and Wale and was featured 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”. Sinfo-Nia completed an audio recording for the nationally syndicated Bounce TV “Color of STEM” Show, providing the theme song and snippets to support the show format. Sinfo-Nia is esteemed to have finished a recording of the late Edgar Redmond’s Soul Fiddles. Redmond was a composer, clarinetist, arranger and orchestrator for legendary R & B personalities and groups such as The Fifth Dimension, Ike and Tina Turner and Diana Ross. In January 2018, Sinfo-Nia filmed its first national commercial for Symphony Chips, one of the few black-owned potato chip companies in the world. 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.