by Anja Wuolu
Hundreds of people flocked to the streets on Dec. 1 for the first day of the Winter Walk. There was a tree-lighting ceremony, crafts at Bad Habit and more. Toward the end of the event, on Saturday afternoon, the town relaxed quite a bit. At Jupiter Moon Ice Cream, local musician Scott “Scatt” Smith entertained shoppers with jazzy Christmas music.
“I’m kind of new to the area,” Smith said, “and it was really nice to know there’s something like this that’s being organized.”
Smith has worked in hotels, restaurants, marketing, movies, management and more. On Dec. 2 and 3, Smith filled the ice cream parlor with rich sounds of jazz. Smith sings and plays an electric keyboard split into piano and bass parts. He’s never released his own album, but plays live music from Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter, Tony Bennett and other swing, jazz and blues artists.
Friday was boisterous. Saturday was much more laid back. Smith recently moved to Central Minnesota from Hawaii, and this year was the first time he participated in St. Joseph’s Winter Walk.
“I really, really like Minnesota,” Smith said, “I lived here back in the 80s, and I always said if there was a place I was gonna go back to, it would be Minnesota.”
After 25 years of trying to make Hawaii feel like home, Smith returned to the place he loved most: Minnesota. Smith has lived many places around the world: Italy; Germany; Thailand; Fiji; Washington, D.C.; North Carolina; Minnesota; Washington state; California; and most recently Hawaii.
Though they had great careers in Hawaii, Smith and his partner, Maggie Kunkel, felt isolated. Literally on an island, not able to commute to a bigger city, Smith and Kunkel realized they needed to move. Upon consulting with a number of friends who live around Minnesota, they decided on St. Cloud.
“Hawaii is beautiful,” Smith said, “but really there is not much going on. You can’t just get in your car and drive around.”
The pair moved from Hawaii to St. Cloud in October of 2021. Kunkel owns a Japanese aluminum product distributer called KunkelWorksUSA. Smith works for Jupiter Moon and Backwards Bread. He also has his own copper art business called Copperhead Productions. Any time outside of that is allotted to music.
“The end result [of the Winter Walk] for me was I got to play and meet a lot of people from the area,” Smith said. “It was such a busy night in an ice cream shop, and I’m playing jazz and I’m playing Christmas music. This is pretty cool. This would be difficult to do in Hawaii for some reason. I just can’t see it happening.”
Smith is eager to participate in other events, visit all the art museums in the Twin Cities and enjoy the Christmas season.