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Annual Heiruspecs Scholarship Concert coming up May 29

Posted on 13 May 2015 by Calvin


The hip hop band Heiruspecs will play their annual scholarship concert to benefit Central High School students on Fri., May 29. Bedlam Theatre is hosting this year’s event at 213 E. 4th St., across from the Union Depot. Doors will open at 7pm and the concert, which promises to be jumpin’, will start at 8pm.

Heiruspecs band members, past and present, are all alums of St. Paul Central, and this event is their biggest giving-back moment of the year, according to bass player Sean Twinkie Jiggles McPherson.

The band has been donating $1,000 scholarships to three graduating Central High School seniors every spring since 2010. The winners are chosen from a stack of promising applicants, who are challenged to describe how they will use the money to further their passion for the arts. The band members believe it’s tougher being a young person these days, and they want to recognize artistic talent, value and merit with their scholarships.

The scholarship concert is known as the band’s most collaborative event. They like to invite special guests who reflect the diversity of talent on the Twin Cities’ music scene, opening themselves up to different styles and instruments. One of this year’s guests will be trumpet player Solomon Parham: a stellar musician and teacher extraordinaire at the Walker Music Academy in St. Paul. In the early days of Heiruspecs, horns had a place of prominence, so look forward to bringing that sound back home.

For the first scholarship concert, Mayor Chris Coleman introduced the band members from the stage. Their relationship with the mayor has stayed strong over the years. Last month Heiruspecs played for Coleman’s State of the City address in the Ordway’s new performance hall downtown. Coleman acknowledged Heiruspecs not only for the lasting quality of their “good hip hop music,” but also for their solid St. Paul pride.

The current band line-up is Sean Twinkie Jiggles McPherson on bass, Chris Felix Wilbourn on raps, de Von R. Gray on keyboard, Muad’dib on raps and beatbox, Peter Leggett on drums and Josh Peterson on guitar. McPherson and Wilbourn are the two remaining founding members, graduates of Central’s class of ’97.

Other members have come and gone but the band’s connection to the Midway neighborhood has never wavered.

The first place Heiruspecs played at was Cahoot’s Coffee Bar, just down the street from Central High School. Their rehearsal space was, and still is, near the corner of University and Snelling avenues. Several of the current band members live nearby.

“When we were younger,” McPherson said, “a lot of hip hop groups from St. Paul would pretend they were from Minneapolis—but we were always proud of where we came from. Growing up in Midway, we could see that our neighborhood was one big mosaic of many different people living together, without having to be the same.”

So what about that name? Heiruspecs (pronounced high-roo-specs) is an intentional misspelling of a Latin word it closely resembles. McPherson was an earnest Latin student at Central High school in 1995, and heard the Latin word “haruspecs” in class and just liked the way it sounded. He shouted it out to Wilbourn in studio recording class that afternoon (where the original band members met). The rapper liked it too, wrote it down on his hat as he heard it—and the name just stuck.

The scholarship concert is an all ages event; you can’t be too young or too old to enjoy it. Tickets are $12 in advance or at the door (if there are any left).

Heiruspecs was featured in a recent edition of the TPT music showcase Lowertown Line. The legacy they hope for, according to McPherson, “is to be Minnesota’s ultimate hip hop band.”

It seems they have earned some high respect…