For some, mornings in Miami start with traffic jams on the Palmetto or massive delays on I-95 but Wake up Miami! wants to put the magic in the magic city. PAXy is the organization behind Wake up Miami! a program that brings free live music and art into people’s everyday lives by presenting a series of concerts and performances at Miami Metrorail and Metromover stations during the morning commute.
Now they’re adding a Spring series to their roster. On Mondays starting in April in the City of Coral Gables, commuters will experience a Wake up Miami! activation at University Station. “The idea is actually to have multiple stations,” said Maudie Valero one of PAXy’s founders. “We haven’t been able to do it before because of funding, but this year we were able to apply for the City of Coral Gables grant because we met the requirements, but the goal is to have the program at multiple stations year-round.”
Photo credit: Andy Alefor (and cover photo)
The Wake up Miami! series began in 2015 and since then has been showcasing local and international talent at Government Center Metromover Station on Monday mornings. Past performances have featured classical, jazz, folk, and world music by Miami-based performers and FIU School of Music students. They recently partnered with Cuban pianist, composer and arranger Chucho Valdés for a masterclass at Le Chat Noir to kick off PAXy’s expanded Spring season. Valdés is the most influential figure in modern Afro-Cuban jazz and winner of six GRAMMY awards and three Latin GRAMMY awards.
PAXy’s long term goal is to have Wake up Miami! activations across South Florida in bus stops and other areas where people encounter public transportation. For now, this is a long shot they say because Miami bus stops and Metro Movers are not equipped to handle performances. Eventually, they would like to replicate how the Munich Symphony brings music to New York’s Metro Mover. “We have a lot more work to do in terms of Metro Rail and Metro Mover,” Valero said. “What we need right now is more resources and funding to bring the projects to more stations and program year-round. Hopefully in the meantime, while we work on this bus stops will be upgraded and meet the requirements to host public art.”
Photo by MiamiArtZine
“We’ve been bringing more artistic manifestation to the program. For example, last year we closed the season with an opera at the Government Station and brought out a real piano. People get really excited to see a piece of an opera on a regular Monday morning commute,” Bello said. ” At the beginning we just did music, but one of our musicians works at New World School of the Arts and invited his dance students to perform at Wake up Miami! we then started incorporating dance. People were super engaged and loved it. That idea inspired us to feature different types of visual arts. We’ve even had streetside theater performances.”
This season, they’ll be collaborating with University of Miami musicians and WVUM the school’s radio station. The first Monday will feature the station DJ’s and invited musicians, and other events will include UM’s Bassoon Quartet and other players. They also want to get more experimental with Wake up Miami! and diversify the public’s consumption of art and music. PAXy is also working on a new project titled Cross-pollination, an artistic collaboration between Yukio Suzuki, a Japanese dancer, and choreographer and Miami-based composer, sound and multimedia artist Juraj Kojs.
Photo by Miami Art Chronicle
PAXy’s vision is to bring art to the people and give it visibility. Their goal is to make theater, opera, dance, and music shine in a different light that may otherwise not seem financially accessible or enjoyable to Miami’s general public. They also want to bring deeper mindfulness with each performance. Whether it be starting the morning with music to change people’s moods or teaming up with a local Miami band Wake up Miami! wants to move Miami differently. For Earth Day on April 22, their Monday performance will feature environmental awareness.
“That day we want to celebrate Earth and bring awareness to nature and the planet through a dance performance with Kassi Abreu. He’s preparing a special piece, and then we will end with a jazz quartet. This season we are going to feature electronic and classical music, various experimental performances and dance to celebrate earth and jazz,” said Bello. “The idea is to attract different audiences. In the stations, many people ride and pass by, and we want to bring a piece for each of them because everyone has a different taste, and we want to tell them we are here for all of you.”
For more information on PAXy or to support their mission visit https://www.paxy.org/
Christian Portilla is passionate about people and her city. She is a Colombian freelance writer in South Florida and covers community, culture, and lifestyle on her radio show/ podcast Meet Them Mondays. Topics range from toxic masculinity to ballroom culture in Miami and beyond. She is the founder of roamfreewrites.com and an advocate of sharing stories that highlight the real Miami. Her print coverage has led to significant cultural programs in Miami being saved through funding, watchdog stories like her coverage of Little Haiti’s gentrification issue and even called out major brands like Cafe Bustelo and the City of Miami. Portilla identifies as Latinx and contrasts her entertainment coverage with heavy reporting on Miami’s marginalized communities.
Her work has been featured in Miami Herald, Miami New Times, Vice, and Beyond Borders Magazine to name a few and she’s interviewed celebrities like Jennifer Garner, Magic Johnson, and Ozuna.
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