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McNally Smith: Best of 2012

Watch McNally Smith’s “Best of 2012” Documentary!

To coincide with the album’s release, a commercial-free , 30-minute documentary aired on The CW television network. The documentary focuses on the creation, production and promotion of the album from March through its launch this month, and it features interviews with several McNally Smith students and alumni, as well as staff members Judi Vinar, Christian Betancourt and Christopher Blood.

McNally Smith: Best of 2012 is available for free download at or at the link on the right. Free physical copies of the album are available at record stores and music establishments all over the Twin Cities, including Electric FetusCheapo, Down In The ValleyEclipse Records and Amsterdam Bar and Hall.

About the Artists:

Steve Sullivan (“Just Wanna Be With My Girl”)

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Year: Alumni (2011) | Major: Music Production

Steve Sullivan is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. His music combines the electric blues of Muddy Waters and classic R&B of Ray Charles to a blend of heartfelt Americana. After years of crisscrossing the country, breaking hearts and fronting bands, the self-taught New Mexican guitar-slinger arrived in Minnesota. His band, Steve Sullivan and the Factory is known for their unrelenting, four hour energy-filled live shows. Their latest studio release, Evil Is A Man Made Thing, premiered live on the Centennial Showboat on the Mississippi river to a packed house of loyal fans. *Also in the band is current student Jessica Lynn Gates. **Also featured on their album is Holly Ann Latcham (alum, Live Sound) and Cassondra Lea Meyer(alum, Vocal Performance).

Kara Laudon (“Take You Seriously,” “Prove Yourself”)

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Year: Senior | Major: Vocal Performance

Kara Laudon is a singer/songwriter from the Twin Cities.  She picked up the guitar at age 13 and would spend hours on end playing and writing songs in her room. Her honest lyrics are relatable and her thoughtful melodies are easy to listen to. When playing live you will find her on stage with guitar or ukulele. Kara’s voice is sweet and pure, the overall sound simplistic yet still engaging. Her first EP, “Worth Fighting For” was released in January of 2011. She has played at the SXSW music festival and also at venues including 7th Street Entry and The Fine Line. Kara’s goal is to write songs that people can relate to and connect with. She is currently working on a self-titled EP that will be filled with feel good tunes and will reveal a more mature sound that shows her progression as a singer and songwriter.

Matthew Dale (“Jump On In”)


Year: Alumni (2012) | Major: Guitar Performance

From classical concertos to progressive fusion rock, Mathew Dale has many notches in his musical belt.  With his guitar on his shoulder, he entertains audiences with high energy and passion. He has performed in St. Louis, Mo and in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN as a solo artist and in many groups.  As a solo act, he serenades cocktail lounges and private events with the silky sounds of a nylon string.  With bands, his electrified sound brings a new balance to grace and grit. As a magna cum laude graduate from McNally-Smith College of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance, Mathew is also passionate about teaching.  He shares his love of theory and technique with all of his students who range in age and skill level. Mathew is also an active composer and arranger.  He writes and performs many pop and jazz solo guitar arrangements.  Lately classical writing for both guitar and piano has enthralled him.

Omar Reyes (“Amor Gitano”)

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Year: Junior | Major: Production/Audio Engineering

Singer/songwriter Omar Rey Reyes hails from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Musically he lives everywhere in between. Omar is on the vanguard, crafting a cross-cultural sound that mirrors his geographical journey. Not tied to tradition, this Guatemalan-Minnesotan prefers his acoustic Takamine over la Marimba anytime. Omar’s sound could be described as “raw, deep, intimate and unpretentious.” The sincerity of his music reflects his musical and everyday experiences. Nowadays, forgoing conventional stereotypes that typify much of the Latin music landscape, Omar is instead defining his own “Latin Rock” genre.

Ryan Horton (“Wandering Light”)

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Year: Senior | Major: Composition and Songwriting

Ryan Horton is an electronic composer interested in marrying harmony, rhythm, and ambience all into one form of auditory experience. He has scored a few local documentaries, as well as set music to art in the Art Inspired Music Project. What sets Ryan apart from typical composers is his music is designed to be psychological therapy.  This contributes to his ability to contour specific emotions of different composing influences (such as art, video, or the environment around him) that create an overall sense of control and precision.

Colin Schwanke (“Summer Nights,” “So Hard”)


Colin Schwanke is currently a Junior studying Music Production and Music Business at McNally Smith College of Music.

Eric Andrade (“South America”)

Composer’s Reel

Eric Andrade is a recent alumnus of the McNally Smith College of Music Composition and Songwriting program.

Lizzy Herder (“Undercover”)

Lizzy Herder is a Sophomore vocal performance major at McNally Smith College of Music.