Xavier Eikerenkoetter is the son of Rev. Ike. When Rev. Ike transitioned in 2009, Xavier became the Spiritual Director of his New York City church and renamed it to the United Palace House of Inspiration (UPHI). UPHI is an all-inclusive spiritual community with a mission to preserve the legacy of Rev. Ike's ministry by sharing transformational lessons for a more prosperous and abundant life.
Born into a family steeped in spiritual practice and community engagement, Xavier has devoted his life to deepening, developing and expanding that legacy in a way that is entirely his own by combining spiritual and artistic pursuits in service of the most fragile and under-served members of the community.
One of Xavier’s core beliefs is that creativity is an expression of the divine mind made manifest through human beings. To that end Xavier's work fruitfully blends music, ministerial and psychotherapeutic work. He incorporates a love of ancient cultures (particularly world tribal music and spirituality) into successful programs with coming-of-age youth dedicated to helping young people make the successful transition into adulthood.
Ordained at 18, his 30 years of spiritual training, shamanic, meditative and ritual experience includes three years at the Center for Personal Transformation in the experiential study of deep meditative techniques. Xavier's credentials include a BA degree in philosophy from Columbia University and a master's in counseling psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, focusing on Jungian and depth psychology.
Since 1983 Xavier has served as a minister and, since 2009 when his father Rev. Ike passed away, spiritual director of the congregation housed at the United Palace, formerly known as United Palace Cathedral now the United Palace House of Inspiration (UPHI).
Under Xavier’s leadership UPHI has evolved into a trans-denominational, all-inclusive spiritual community that supports the individual and collective life of the soul and spirit within every human being. His responsibilities include ministering, inspirational speaking, congregational and ministerial leadership and development. His ministry embraces music as an expression of spirit, incorporating sacred dance and drum rituals in the West African tradition as well as other art forms.
A highly-trained musician, Xavier has composed and performed music and lyrics for instruments and voice. His three albums recorded to date are “Mystic Journey” (1998), a new age dynamic instrumental; “Global Soul” (2001), a vocal/instrumental blend of contemporary pop/R&B and world/tribal sounds; and “Re-Enchantment: Music to Conceive By” (2015), an eclectic, epic, fusion music.
Xavier's musical studies include four years at the Harrison School of Music, where he studied guitar, bass, keyboard, singing, songwriting, and musical theory. Xavier also spent many years in shamanic training and the study of healing and initiatory drumming techniques with Cechua (Peruvian), Dagara (Burkina Faso), and Sangoma (Zimbabwean) medicine men, and with the Masai tribe in Kenya. He studies with Mamady Keita, world-renowned Malinke grand master drummer from Guinea, West Africa, from whom he learns fine points of djembe, dunun, and Mandingue drumming.
Xavier's ministerial activities also include extensive work in the field of metaphysics and spirituality, such as conducting seminars and ordination ceremonies, guiding meditative experiences, and facilitating sacred dance and drum rituals in the West African tradition. Starting in 2003, his personal ministerial outreach has included a concentration around youth work, which resulted in two nonprofit organizations that he founded: the United Palace of Cultural Arts (UPCA) in New York City and Rhythm Arts Alliance (RAA) in Los Angeles. Both organizations work with young people, fostering the development of conscious, soulful living in the world, with particular emphasis on the transformational power of art and music.
The mission of UPCA, which was founded in 2012, is to uplift, educate, and unite the Northern Manhattan community and beyond through cultural arts at the majestic United Palace, Manhattan's fourth largest theatre.
UPCA’s highlights include:
Providing community art programs for young people to perform classical music, hip hop dance, circus arts, West African drumming, and theatre
Hosting a master class by the New York Philharmonic for young music students
Producing “The Concert!” with 150 young people playing in an orchestra made up of six NY metro area El Sistema-inspired programs
Raising close to $100,000 to return movies to the Palace after 43 years and launch the popular “Classic NYC Movies” series that has featured special guests like movie and stage star Rita Moreno, legendary director John Landis, Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda, and New York Post Chief Film Critic Lou Lumenick
Hosting the 5-year anniversary concert of the Tony Award-winning musical "In the Heights"
Commissioning the world premiere of a music score for "Frankenstein" performed live by guitar icon Gary Lucas
Producing the new holiday show "The Hip Hop Nutcracker," which combines Tchaikovsky's music with hip hop dance and a story adapted to Washington Heights
Since Xavier founded UPCA in 2012, it has provided arts instruction to over 300 children and welcomed close to 30,000 guests to its events, opening a new chapter in the history of the 85-year-old building.
As President of the United Palace, Xavier is also responsible for preserving the building and ensuring that new generations of New Yorkers, from the neighborhood and beyond, have the opportunity to become enchanted by the timeless experience of walking into the gilded Broadway entrance.
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