Whether you sing or play bass, guitar, drums, keyboard, strings, brass or woodwinds, the Music Performance programs at McNally Smith will help you grow as an artist, performer and professional musician. Class sizes are kept small so that you receive the kind of attention and feedback you need to develop musically.
Your instructors are world-class players who bring industry experience to the classroom to help prepare you for making a life in music. Your peers are fellow musicians and collaborators to work with and learn from who are as committed to the music as you are.
And with over 40 different ensembles to choose from, you’ll be able to tap into a world of musical diversity and a wealth of playing opportunities that exist on campus and in the surrounding Minneapolis-St. Paul music scene.
Studios & Facilities
Our campus features 3 performance venues, 6 technology labs, and 11 recording studios where students learn to record, edit and mix music and audio.
There’s a lot to explore outside of class, including student organizations, free concerts, music ensembles, and the diverse music and art scene of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Assistant Department Head, Ensembles
Dr. Scott Agster has performed all over the world with such distinguished groups as The UNT One O’Clock Lab Band, The Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Salsa del Soul, the Matt Sawyer Orchestra, Snowblind (founding member and composer), Jack Brass Band, G8, Bella Galla Big Band, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, and The Skunkfoot Seven. Scott has had the opportunity to work and perform with many acclaimed artists including Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, Dave Douglas, Phil Woods, Nicholas Payton, Stefan Karlsson, Slide Hampton, and Paul McKee. He’s recorded 21 CDs including several KJOS Music Big Band Samplers; The Music of Frank Sinatra (Bella Galla Big Band); Traditionally Speaking (Jack Brass Band); Taking Shape (Snowblind) and Run With It! (Hip-hop group G8). Scott was also a founding member and arranger for the Vector Trombone Quartet, which was a finalist in the International Trombone Association Quartet Competition in Helsinki, Finland in 2003. Scott is currently active as a clinician on low brass techniques and improvisation. Scott's recent research to determine modern trends in jazz curricula around the United States has been highlighted during the 2007 IAJE conference in New York.
Mary Jane Alm has toured internationally, been featured on national network TV and performed on stage for some of America’s largest corporations. Today, she continues a busy gig schedule with both her own band and with a show band called Synergy, which tours the corporate client world. Mary Jane’s first album, Prisoner of the Heart, was recorded in Minneapolis. Two more albums, Blue Earth and Too True, were recorded in Nashville and in various studios in the Twin Cities, including Paisley Park. Her latest album, Me and The Wild Blue, was produced and mixed by Grammy Award winner, Steve Hodge.
- Minnesota State University, Mankato
- General Mills
- Johnson & Johnson
Performed With or Opened For:
- Charlie Daniels
- David Byrne of the Talking Heads
- Jimmy Webb
- Marie Osmond
- Michael Johnson
- The Judds
- Willie Nelson
Worked Locally With:
- The Rupert’s Orchestra
- Women Who Cook
Honors & Awards
- One of only seven women inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame
- 15 Minnesota Music Awards, including “Best Female Vocalist” and “Artist of the Year” and “Best Country Song”
- Twice inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame as a solo artist and a member of City Mouse
- Grammy-nominated, Emmy Award winner and Parents’ Choice Award winner for one of her five albums with the Music Workshop for Kids
Zach Bagaason is a Minneapolis-based hip-hop producer, performer and educator - as well as co-founder of the Mexican-American rap-duo Big Quarters. Big Quarters' self-produced debut album "Cost of Living" earned recognition as Best Hip-Hop of 2007 by Startribune and Popmatters.com. Big Quarters' follow-up "From the Home of Brown Babies & White Mothers" received acknowledgement as one of the Best Albums of 2009 by Star Tribune.
Zach is a co-founder of the Twin Cities only monthly hip-hop production event "Last of the Record Buyers" and former-organizer of the TCCHH production battle from 2004 - 2007. He is also a co-founder of Minnesota's most-respected and recognized production crew, Famfeud. Individual accolades include 3-time Run Ya Jewelz Beat Battle Champion and Minneapolis' Big Tune semi-finalist.
Zach, alongside brother Brandon "Allday" Bagaason, developed a hip-hop songwriting and production curriculum currently used with young people in the Minneapolis YMCA. Past workshop and program sites include: La Oportunidad, Hope Community, Inter District Downtown School, Minneapolis YMCA, Pillsbury United Communities and McNally Smith College of Music.
Zach has shared stages with Cee-Lo, Slum Village, The Coup, Rhymesayers, Doomtree and Heiruspecs. As a producer, he's worked with Brother Ali, I Self Devine, Toki Wright, P.O.S, Sims, Musab, Power Struggle, Mankwe Ndosi and Mux Mool.
Brandon Allday is a Minneapolis-based hip-hop producer, performer and educator - as well as co-founder of the Mexican-American rap-duo Big Quarters. Big Quarters' self-produced debut album "Cost of Living" earned recognition as Best Hip-Hop of 2007 by Startribune and Popmatters.com. Big Quarters' follow-up "From the Home of Brown Babies & White Mothers" received acknowledgement as one of the Best Albums of 2009 by Startribune.
Brandon Allday is a co-founder of the Twin Cities only monthly hip-hop production event "Last of the Record Buyers" and co-founder of Minnesota's most-respected and recognized production crew, Famfeud.
Brandon Allday, alongside Medium Zach, developed a hip-hop songwriting and production curriculum currently used with young people in the Minneapolis YMCA. Past workshop and program sites include: La Oportunidad, Hope Community, Inter District Downtown School, Minneapolis YMCA, Pillsbury United Communities and McNally Smith College of Music.
Brandon Allday has shared stages with Cee-Lo, Slum Village, The Coup, Rhymesayers, Doomtree and Heiruspecs.
Department Head, Bass
Jeff Bailey has performed in a wide variety of musical settings as a musician, composer, and producer. He has performed with world-renowned jazz artists Captain McDuff, Craig Taborn, James Carter, Nachito Herrera, Eric Garvat, Rodney Jones, Dave King, Brian Lynch, Wessel Anderson, Peruvian guitar master Andrés Prado, and James Moody. Never one to be pigeonholed into one style, Jeff has also toured and performed with Keri Noble, Joey McIntyre (NKOTB), Tommy Barbarella (Prince), Charles Lazarus (Minnesota Orchestra), Reverend Billy Steele, Jennifer Kimball, Heather Headley, and Charley Drayton. Jeff has also logged time on the road touring and giving clinics in the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, South America, and Japan. Jeff has served as musical director for Keith Antar Mason and the Hittite Empire and the Black Fathers and Sons project at the B.A.M. Next Wave Festival in New York, with photographer Albert Chong and writer Quincy Troupe. Jeff has also received accolades for producing a Minnesota Music Award-winning CD for Alicia Wiley, receiving a Best of the Twin Cities Award as a founding member of Moveable Feast, and a Minnesota Music Award nomination for best Bass Player of the Year.
Chris Beaty is an award winning composer, instrumentalist and engineer. His work can currently be seen on ABC news, The National Geographic channel, PBS and at the Smithsonian museum in Washington DC. Coming up in the Twin Cities music live scene, Beaty joined forces with Asche and Spencer and became lead composer. After holding that post for 17 years, he branched out on is own and currently creates about 25 hours of broadcast media music annually. Working from his own studio, Beaty also handles session guitar work, music and sound design for installations and education materials.
A native of East-Berlin, Dr. Eva Beneke is an unstoppable performer. Highlights of her career include appearances with the German Symphony Orchestra under Kent Nagano, invitations to international festivals in Perú, Germany, Lithuania, the U.S. and Canada and a live performance with Carrie Underwood at the 2010 American Country Music Awards. Beneke’s debut CD, Coming Home, was released to wide critical acclaim in 2010. Her performances have been broadcasted internationally and her arrangements for guitar ensemble are gaining international recognition. The American publishing-house Clearnote Music published two of her guitar compositions in 2009.
Beneke began her studies at the Berlin University of Arts with Martin Rennert. She then received the prestigious solo artist diploma at the Franz Liszt Hochschule in Weimar where she trained extensively with Thomas Müller-Pering, one of Germany’s most influential guitarists. In 2012, Beneke received a doctorate with honors from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, after having studied with Grammy® winning guitarist Scott Tennant and jazz-guitar legend Bruce Forman. In the Fall of 2012, Eva Beneke joined the faculty at McNally Smith College of Music.
If you are interested in studying classical guitar with Dr. Eva Beneke, please click here to learn more about McNally Smith's Master of Music in Performance degree.
Dawn Bentley combines a diverse musical background, professional practice as a self-employed business consultant, and historical experience working with nonprofits and grass-roots organizations to bring energy to her position within the Music Business Department of McNally Smith. For over 25 years, she has played violin in various ensembles from punk bands to professional orchestras with a dozen assorted recordings in her repertoire. A Master's degree in Nonprofit Management has solidified her working knowledge of the sector after having served as the Secretary and Board Chair for the Diverse Emerging Music Organization (DEMO), as well as Entertainment Coordinator for multiple gala events for Twin Cities nonprofits. Dawn also holds a Master's in Business Administration with a concentration in International Marketing. During the mid-1990's, Dawn scheduled music for a downtown Minneapolis club to boost fading business, attract new, more diverse crowds, and grow weekend audience. As a former co-owner of Snowplow Records, Inc., she was once the primary source of booking five bands signed to the label. Dawn's latest musical ventures include being a full time band member with local indie rockers Atomic Flea and a performer with the seasonal free-form jazz ensemble Semiconductor Orchestra. Along with performance, Ms. Bentley currently books, promotes, and is part of the creative force behind Midwest emerging Kindie rockers The Bazillions and Duke Otherwise. Dawn continues to stay involved in the local music scene while running her own consultancy and teaching at McNally Smith as well as Minnesota State University, Mankato.
- Bachelor of Arts - Hamline University, St. Paul, MN
- Master of Nonprofit Management - Hamline University, St. Paul, MN
- Master of Business Administration - Hamline University, St. Paul, MN
In 1985, Raymond established Absolute Music, a commercial music studio, where he wrote and produced TV and radio spots for McDonald’s, US Banks, Volvo, the MN State Lottery and others. He has produced musical entertainments for Shell Oil, the NFL, Buffalo Wild Wings, AARP and Great Clips Int’l, while working with Jay Leno, Dana Carvey, Debbie Reynolds and Mickey Rooney. He has recorded 2 CDs of original compositions and several pieces for orchestra with live storytelling narration.
Since 2004, Raymond has served as resident musical director at the Ordway Center, where he conducts and performs regularly. He received the 2007 Ivey Award for Musical Direction for his work on the Ordway production of "Love, Janis." That same year he was awarded the Mpls. Star Tribune’s “Best Musical Director” award. Other local credits include Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, History Theatre, Mixed Blood, Illusion, Troupe America, Hey City Stage and Brave New Workshop.
Raymond’s arrangements are published by Music Theatre International and the R & H Library. His arrangements for Sisters of Swing have been produced at 43 theaters around the U.S. and Germany. At Hey City, Raymond created Nat King Cole, Music and Mystique for local singer Dennis Spears.
As an educator, Raymond served as residency composer for the Minnesota Opera in 45 schools around the state. From 2002 to 2005, he was a MN State Arts Board residency artist. In 2005, Raymond was hired to teach and lead the development of performing arts curriculum for the new Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, a charter high school. Through 2010 he chaired the music department and fostered the creation of SPCPA’s musical theater department.
Raymond studied with composer-in-residence Phillip Rhodes while he earned his BA in English Literature at Carleton College.
From Paula Abdul to Yanni and Bobby Z, as well as hundreds of artist in between, John “Chopper” Black brings over forty years of experience to McNally-Smith College of Music.
As a Musician, Producer and Audio Engineer, Chopper’s extensive knowledge in Recording Studios, Audio Recording, Music Production, TV and Radio Advertising, Live Performance and Live Sound, inspires his passion in the mentoring of students in the arts of Music Production and Recording.
He has worked with many of the major record labels such as Virgin, Capital, MCA, Motown, and Warner Brothers, just to name a few. Chopper has multiple Gold and Platinum Records to his credits.
Department Head, Music Production
Christopher Blood has covered a lot of ground in his two decades in the recording industry. Starting off as a drummer in a local rock band, Blood worked his way up the studio ranks, recording several of the premier artists in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In 1997 he became co-owner of A440 Studios. In nearly a decade at A440, Blood recorded and produced countless albums for top local and major label artists. He has also worked in a number of the top recording studios around the country, including Stankonia in Atlanta (Outkast’s studio) and Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood.
In 2006, Blood started a new chapter in his recording career opening the Twin Cities-based Sonic Edge Studios, where he continues to work with top local, national and international talent. He is also very active in the live sound scene and has been a design and operations consultant for recording studios in Minnesota, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Texas. Blood’s recording credits and clients include: Atmosphere, Next, Juvenile, Mr. Cheeks, James Grear and Co, Big Walter Smith, Lil’ Romeo, Eyedea & Abilities, Brother Ali, Unknown Prophets, Black Flood Diesel, Anderson Windows, MN Dot, Boulder Buddy’s, Sony Records, No Limit Records, Universal Records and Rhymesayers Entertainment.
Fred Bretschger joined The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in 1980. Originally from New York, he began playing the bass at age 16 and attended the North Carolina School of the Arts and Cleveland Institute of Music. He completed his studies at The Juilliard School. In 1976, he joined the Buffalo Philharmonic, and became principal bassist of the Indianapolis Symphony in 1978. During the 1990–91 season he took a sabbatical from the SPCO to serve as principal bassist with the Houston Symphony under Christoph Eschenbach.
As a chamber musician, Bretschger has appeared as a guest artist with the Chicago Chamber Players, the Los Angeles Piano Quartet, Strings in the Mountains, Bach Dancing and Dynamite, and Bravo! music festival in Vail, Colorado. He has also performed at the Tanglewood, Aspen, Grand Teton, and Santa Fe Opera Festivals. Since 1993, he has been on the performing faculty at the Sarasota Music Festival as well as the Summer String Academy at Indiana University in 1998 and 1999.
Bretschger is also a conductor and arranger, as well as a lover of jazz, blues, and ancient ethnic music. He has conducted many 20th-century works at the Grand Teton Music Festival, the University of Minnesota, and the Spectrum Contemporary Ensemble in Tampa. In 2000, he led a full scale production of Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale at the Cactus Pear Festival in San Antonio
Sarah Burk isa performer and recording artist on keyboards, vocals and violin. Sarah holds a B.M. degree in Music Theory/Composition from the University of Minnesota – Duluth and a Master of Liberal Studies from the University of Minnesota. She has also studied Salsa and Latin Jazz with Nachito Herrera. Sarah has toured the United States, Europe and the Middle East with a variety of ensembles and theatre troupes, and has performed on National Public Radio with Salsa Del Soul. Other endeavors keep her active in African and international dance music, jazz, R&B, gospel, big band, classical chamber music and variety ensembles. She has been involved in more than 30 theatre productions in Europe and America serving in roles as music director, conductor, composer, pianist, violinist and arranger.
Cindee Calton is an anthropologist with a specialization in linguistic anthropology. She has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Iowa. She also has a B.A. in mathematics and anthropology from the University of Northern Iowa. Cindee's research examines a variety of topics, including language ideology, the anthropology of education, American Sign Language, Deaf studies, and disability studies. Her ethnographic research focuses on how teacher and student identities and ideologies influence how teaching and learning happens. Her publications include an article in Disability and Society analyzing of the role socioeconomic class in the parenting of disabled children, and a chapter on the history of sign language linguistics in the edited volume Deaf Gain: Raising the Stakes for Human Diversity.
In addition to working at McNally Smith, Cindee is a Teacher Professional Development Specialist at the Science Museum of Minnesota. She works with a team to develop and facilitate professional development for K-12 educators that focuses on access and equity for each and every student in the classroom. One of the reasons that Cindee chose anthropology is that it allows her to teach a wide variety of topics. She has taught linguistic anthropology, cultural anthropology and biological anthropology at the University of Iowa and Black Hawk College. She is working to develop this experience into anthropology classes at McNally Smith, starting with the course Language and Culture.
Brian Casey is an award winning multi-instrumentalist musician, composer, and producer. He is currently a creative director and senior composer at In The Groove Music, a Minneapolis-based commercial and television music house where he has composed for over twelve years writing original music for dozens of national campaigns and brands including ESPN, BMW, Coca-Cola, Enterprise Car Rental, and Health Partners. The recipient of a 2012 ASCAP Film and TV Music award for the theme to Discovery’s Alaska: The Last Frontier, his music has been heard on hundreds of television shows over the past decade. A graduate of the University of St. Thomas where he studied vocal and guitar performance and composition on his way to a BA is Music Business, he has augmented his busy composing career as an adjunct faculty in the music department at St. Thomas prior to arriving at McNally Smith. In addition to his commercial work, Brian has worked on records with artists such as Glorious Monster, Man is Doomed, Blue Blazer, Becky Shaheen, and most recently released his own experimental material under the moniker Brian Casey the Destroyer in 2015.
As head of audio post production, chief engineer and composer at Pixel Farm, Ken Chastain has scored, sound designed, and mixed film and television programs for fifteen years. His work can be heard internationally from award winning commercials, film and television to GRAMMY award winning records. Chastain brings a consortium of nationally recognized talent together to create musical scores and sound designed environments that compliment and enhance visual imagery. Recently he composed the opening theme for the Minnesota Twins as well as commercial spots for Porsche, Garmin, Target, BMW, United Airlines, Best Buy, Goodyear and Coca Cola. His work can also be heard in such feature films as Sweet Land, Older Than America, Bikes Over Baghdad, Funkytown, Pathfinder, Urban Explorers and Tromeo and Juliet.
In addition, Chastain is a multi-instrumentalist and can be heard playing either drums, bass or keys for such recording artists as Dan Wilson, Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Mike Doughty, Demi Lovato, Har Mar Superstar, Pink, Backstreet Boys, Soul Asylum and Ziggy Marley's GRAMMY winning record, Love is My Religion. Chastain has also performed live with Semisonic, The New Standards, Greazy Meal and Soul Asylum. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two sons.
Micah Chibana is an acoustician, educator, and musician. He worked as a noise control engineer for Trane Co. for five years, specializing in reverberation room test methods and sound prediction modeling. He earned a B.S. in physics and M.S. in aerospace engineering from Purdue University and currently teaches acoustics at McNally Smith and mathematics at Minneapolis Media Institute. Musically, his 15 years of experience spans indie rock, folk, classical guitar, and Japanese traditional music. In 2010, Micah independently released his solo debut album Like Trees and continues to perform and record his original compositions.
Mary Ellen Childs has been acclaimed for creating both rhythmic, exuberant instrumental works and bold, kinetic compositions that integrate music, dance and theater in fresh and unexpected ways. She has created numerous "visual percussion" pieces that embody the concept of music in motion, for her ensemble CRASH. Her repertoire includes Click, a fast-paced, game-like work for three stick-wielding performers which The Village Voice deemed “a newly born classic, like Steve Reich’s Clapping Music, only a thousand times more virtuosic.”
Childs also composes “purely musical” concert works and has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Dale Warland Singers, The Kitchen, the Walker Art Center, and grants from Lila Wallace/Meet the Composer, and the MAP Fund. She has composed two works for concert band, Zephyrus and Green Light.
Her recent full-length works include Dream House for string quartet (written for ETHEL) and multi-image video, based on images of destruction and construction, cycles of time, and rhythms of construction work; and Wreck, created for the Black Label Movement Company, for which she won a 2008 Sage Award. Her current projects include a new opera Propeller commissioned by Nautilus Music Theater with funds from MAP and Opera America.
She has received performances at the Bang On A Can Festival, Lincoln Center, New Music America - Miami; The Other Minds Festival (San Francisco), and elsewhere around the U.S. Her music has been performed in Europe, Eastern Europe, Japan, and Australia, and three times her group CRASH traveled to Russia, presenting full evenings of her percussion compositions. She also has received artists fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, Bush Foundation and Minnesota State Arts Board.
Joe comes from a musical family with roots in the Twin Cities. He graduated from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota with a Bachelor’s degree in piano performance. He also studied jazz at what is now University of North Texas, working with great teachers such as Mike Steinel.
Settling back into the Twin Cities, Joe furthered his experience in teaching, performing and arranging. He has played in various bands such as the R-Factor, Power of Ten, and is currently with a variety band called Popluxe. He has done two recordings of his own piano material and has put together various concerts.
Joe has been involved with several other recording projects including projects with artists, ranging from Gospel singer Robert Robinson to the KC Gospel Orchestra, and music and sound effects for various video projects, including a series for toddlers called Baby Babble.
Joe is currently on staff at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Minneapolis where he plays keyboards, arranges music and more. To top it off, he’s also sung in barbershop quartets, including a father/son quartet called Relative Pitch.
Department Head, Voice
Charlie Christenson has been interested in teaching and learning since, as an eight-year-old, he regularly created his own worksheets for his two younger sisters. He holds a Bachelor's of Music in Choral and General Music Education from Lawrence University in Wisconsin, and a Master's of Music in Jazz Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. During his time on the East Coast, Charlie had the honor of performing in many of New York's finest jazz clubs, including Jazz at Lincoln Center and Birdland, and studied with some of the greatest musicians in the world, including Peter Eldridge (New York Voices), Theo Bleckmann (Meredith Monk Ensemble) and Kate McGarry (Maria Schneider Orchestra). Before moving back to the Midwest in the Summer of 2011, he spent two years teaching and developing training strategies for Apple Inc. in Southern California.
Charlie is an active educator, clinician and performer—as a soloist, where he regularly releases original, indie rock recordings, and with his Standards Trio, which is set to release two volumes of jazz standard recordings later this year.
Daniel Coe has composed music that has had many placements on major networks and cable channels around the world, including Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, NASCAR - Daytona 500, WWE, Axe Cop, Kroll Show, and The 2014 Winter Olympics. He has composed scores for various films, including Who Shot Mamba? (2009), and documentaries, including Genius On Hold (2013) and Gardeners of Eden (2014), contributed sweetening and production to numerous recording artists, including Aerosmith, Yoko Ono, The New York Dolls, David Johansen, and many others. He frequently collaborates with record producer Jack Douglas (John Lennon, Aerosmith).
He has also orchestrated films and a Golden Globe-winning television drama (Flesh and Bone, Dave Porter), prepared music for films such as Pete’s Dragon, Star Trek Beyond, Dr. Strange and Sully, varied Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers and video games such as Halo Wars 2 and Star Wars: Battlefront. He also navigated current musical and technological demands of the film and TV industry assisting film composers Marcelo Zarvos (Too Big To Fail, You Don’t Know Jack, Brooklyn’s Finest) Angelo Badalamenti (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks) and Ted Masur (Bad Milo).
Daniel studied music education at Ithaca College, graduating with honors, and then earned an MM in music composition at the University of Florida.
Bruce Cook has released three self-produced albums, one of medieval renaissance music that was used as a soundtrack for the video game Kronin’s Kronicles. Internet promotion and distribution of original pop and rock has generated tens of thousands of downloads and listens. Bruce has performed in legendary Los Angeles nightspots showcasing original music as a singer/songwriter. He has also worked as an English teacher, and a freelance web designer/consultant specializing in multimedia streaming.
Marv Dahlgren is a nationally known figure in the drumming world, having authored and co-authored many influential books on drumming including 4-Way Coordination, Accent on Accents, and Drumset Control. Marv was the former principal percussionist and assistant timpanist for the Minnesota Orchestra, now retired. In addition to the albums he has made with the orchestra, Marv has also recorded with Cat Stevens and Leo Kottke and has performed on many jingles. Marv is also known as an excellent mallet player and performs on vibes with his own jazz group in venues around the Twin Cities. As a part of the percussion department at McNally Smith College of Music, Marv conducts frequent master classes. Other teaching experience: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
Tom has more than 35 years of experience as a musician and an audio engineer. From 1976-1982, Tom was co-owner of Wirebender Audio Systems, a recording studio, live sound system provider, and an audio equipment manufacturing facility. From 1983-1991, he worked for QSC Audio Products as a product test and design engineer, the Manufacturing Engineering Manager, and the Technical Services Manager. While living in Southern California, Tom kept his hand in audio engineering as a recording and live engineer working with a wide variety of bands including the Sum Fun Band, NRBQ, Dick Dale, the Nylons, Geoff Muldaur, etc.) and organizations/facilities (including the Pacific Jazz Festival, the KLOS Mark and Brian’s Birthday Party, San Juan Capistrano’s Coach House, the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the Anaheim Centennial Theater, and others.
Lori Dokken has played and appealed to the patrons of every major and minor music venue in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The “Beloved Twin Cities singer and pianist” (Minneapolis Star Tribune, June ‘96) entertains with an eccentric charm, talent and wit that embraces an audience like an old friend. Writer and Publishing Member of ASCAP. Wrote two songs recorded on “The Girls.” Vocal Arranger for Three Hits And A Miss 2002 CD . Musical Director and Arranger for hit cabaret shows. Executive Producer and Producer of 2001 CD release - “The Girls.” Producer, Musical Director, and Arranger for six RSVP Cruise Vacations Main stage Productions. Headliner for two RSVP Cruise Vacations Main Stage Productions. Executive Producer, Vocalist & Pianist for 2 CD releases in 2005: Worked with or opened for Bobby McFerrin, Jane Oliver, Beatrice Arthur, Jennifer Holiday, Lucie Arnaz, Sally Struthers, Sandy Duncan, Eartha Kitt, Carole King and Tony Bennett. Self-employed vocalist, pianist, arranger, performance coach and producer for the past 27 years. Other teaching experience: Adjunct Professor - Teaching Specialist - University of Minnesota – 1996; Music Director at Minnehaha U.C.C. (1998 - 2006); Co-teaches Monday Night Vocal Performance Workshop with Judi Donaghy; Independent Vocal and Performance Coach.
Ricardo has been active as a recording engineer for a variety of bands, commercials, and television spots as well as drummer and band manager for Tim Mahoney and the Blue Meenies. He has expertise in software, computer hardware, and high-end pro audio equipment and has served as store manager for Knut-Koupe and sales representative for Guitar Center.
Department Head, Guitar
Joe Elliott has spent 30 years playing professionally in Los Angeles as sideman, musical director and composer in a variety of music settings including network TV, movie soundtrack, studio, concert and club venues. His teaching experience includes 23 years at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA for the G.I.T. and Baccalaureate programs and various clinics throughout the U.S.
Joe has also written and edited courses for MI's G.I.T. and baccalaureate programs. He spent 3 years as GIT Department Head and 9 years as Vice President and Director of Education at Musicians Institute. In addition, Joe served as president of the Theatre of Arts acting school in Hollywood, CA and on the board of directors for the L.A. Music Academy in Pasadena, CA.
Joe has authored two instructional books published by Hal Leonard: An Introduction to Jazz "Guitar Soloing" and "Ear Training" (co-author). Joe has also released guitar instrumental CDs entitled "Joe's Place" and "Truth Serum." Learn more at: www.joeelliottguitar.
Hans Erickson has worked as a commercial composer, music producer, band leader, songwriter and audio post engineer for the past 16 years. He has performed nationally and his music has appeared nationally and internationally in commercials, films and television shows. Hans graduated from Berklee College of Music in Music Production and Engineering with a minor in Songwriting. He began his career working for Hest and Kramer music (Minneapolis) where he wrote and produced music for commercial clients such as Target, Best Buy, and Toyota. He went on to front two bands, Hanzsolo and Hanz Erik and the Hims, which toured regionally and garnered heavy college radio play.
In 2007 Hans moved to New York City and continued performing at some of city’s premier singer-songwriter clubs such as The Living Room, The Cake Shop and The Rockwood Music Hall. He also began his own commercial music and audio post company, completing work for multiple networks (ABC, Nickelodeon, The History Channel, CNBC). Upon returning to his native Minneapolis in 2015, Hans continues writing and producing music professionally, as well as working in audio post production.
Steve is one the most versatile performers in the Twin Cities and beyond. Spending years on the road traveling the world as a vocalist, percussionist, bassist, drummer and guitarists as well as a producer, arranger and jingle writer. He has performed on hundreds of jingles, albums and industrial soundtracks for radio and television and industrial shows including Dairy Queen, Channel 9 and 11 television, Minnesota Twins and he has been a staff writer and player for several recording studio’s in the Twin Cities and Atlantic City. As a vocalist, Steve is one of the most prolific singers of all styles including jazz scatting, R&B, pop, rock, and blues. Steve is a highly qualified ensemble instructor as well as a college and high school clinician. Steve has played with The Coasters, the Drifters, Marvellettes, Platters, Ricky Peterson, St. Paul Peterson, Walter Trout and Aretha Franklin.
Charles Fletcher has studied at the Jamie Aebersold Summer Jazz Clinics, Berklee College of Music, Metropolitan State University and St. Thomas University. He has played blues with The Jimmy Valentine Quintet and The Lamont Cranston Band, R & B with the T. C. Jammers and Mick Sterling And the Stud Brothers, variety with the R Factor, CBO, and The Sevilles, jazz/fusion with Northcoast and Glen Helgeson and Axis Mundi. He plays regularly with legends Eric Gales and Willie Murphy.
Bryan is the owner of Forrester Audio Networx, a production studio specializing in broadcast audio, including V/O record, music composition, sound design, and mix for radio and TV commercials. Bryan has worked as audio engineer or producer for numerous commercial clients including Target, Best Buy, Pillsbury, Chili's, Northwest Airlines, and Purina. While at Hudson-Forrester Studios, Bryan worked on numerous acoustic and jazz recordings. Bryan is also an accomplished bass player and vocalist and has worked throughout the U.S. and Canada as a performer and recording artist.
Chris grew up in southwest Iowa and graduated from Millikin University with a BM in Commercial Music. After a short two years at the University of Nebraska directing the Vocal Jazz program and earning his MM in Choral Conducting, Chris relocated to the Twin Cities and has been proud to be a part of Cantus, a Minneapolis-based vocal chamber ensemble for the past three seasons.
With Cantus, Chris has toured all over the country, and has appeared with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Bobby McFerrin, Theatre Latte Da, The National Lutheran Choir, and The James Sewell Ballet. In addition to being Classical MPR's artists in residence for the 2010-2011 season, Cantus also highly values educational experience, and works with over 5,000 students every year in award-winning educational outreach programs.
Recent appearances with other professional vocal groups include: Four Shadow, Omaha Chamber Music Series, Chapter 6, Voices of Omaha, Dulces Voces and Home Free. Chris is also active as an award-winning arranger, continuing to arrange music in a wide variety of styles and applications. Chris lives in St. Paul, where he enjoys playing Frisbee and brewing beer.
William G. Franklin received a Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) with a minor in Art History from the University of Minnesota in 2002. He tailored this individualized degree to the examination of Surrealism as an extreme development of several vital aspects of Modernism. With a background as a musician and producer, he served as humanities faculty and student advisor at the Institute of Production and Recording in Minneapolis for three years. He is a certified Pro Tools operator music level. He also works as an independent art curator.
Freddy Fresh (born Frederick Schmid) is among the most active and prolific American underground dance music artists, having released more than a hundred records on dozens of different labels worldwide. Born in St. Paul Minnesota, Fresh's name is more often associated with the London scene, to which he relocated in the late '90s after having top 40 chart success with 2 of his songs. Fresh's first record label was formed in late 1992 and was called Analog Recordings. His label empire then grew to include a host of sub labels (Analog UK, Butterbeat, Electric Music Foundation and then Socket and Boriqua labels) In addition to a growing stateside audience, Fresh is also one of the few contemporary non-Detroit techno/electro musicians to have a strong European following.
Fresh's first work behind the boards came via Bronx legends Boogie Down Productions, with Fred remixing a track for a B-side release and from there, Freddy began piecing together a studio, collecting many of the ancient analog and modular synthesizers that give his records their distinct, almost studio-jam feel (he mixes all his tracks live and sequences with an MPC 2oooXL and an MPC 4000 and uses rare pre-midi analog synths and modular systems). In 1992, after releasing debut singles on Nu Groove and Silvo Tancredis' Experimental imprint, Fresh established his first label, Analog, to release his own tracks. His third album, The Last True Family Man, followed on Harthouse Eye Q and spawned 2 international chart hits along with a song featuring Fat Boy Slim.
In 2004 Fresh released a reference book dealing with the history of the early independent old school rap scene that catalogues every conceivable rap label from 1979 to 1989, this book has been featured in The Source, Vibe, The New York Times, Village Voice and has gone on to win journalism awards in the United States and has been recognized as the only reference book on this subject. The book is called Freddy Fresh presents The Rap Records (Nerby Publishing LLC). Freddy recently released the brand new updated Freddy Fresh presents The Rap Records Revised 2nd Edition a mammoth book with over 740 pages and more than 2,500 color photo's.
Fresh's music has also enjoyed commercial success with releases featured in films like Austin Powers Goldmember, Jackie Chan's Tuxedo and commercials by Adidas, Budweiser and Coors Lite etc.. Fresh also tours regularly and has DJ'd in over 34 countries and has performed for televised programs MTV Canada, Club TV, S2, House Viva TV, Club Spain etc.. and over 300 radio programs throughout the world including 2 sessions for the legendary late John Peel of famed Radio One BBC England.
Greg Froehle has broad experience in numerous musical situations as a vocalist, guitarist, drummer, classical percussionist, pianist, songwriter and arranger.
He combines his classical training from the University of Minnesota with his contemporary training from McNally Smith College of Music to a wide variety of styles including rock, pop, jazz, musical theater, folk and classical music.
In 2006, Greg received the Diana Ross Scholarship from McNally Smith, graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance in 2008. In addition to vocal instruction at McNally Smith, Greg is the full-time Music Director and worship leader at Oak Hills Church, a growing modern church in the Twin Cities area.
Department Head, Music Theory
Dr. Jay Fuchs is a prominent music educator and a popular entertainer, music director, singer, piano player, composer, author and bandleader. Dr. Jay holds a Ph.D. and M.A. degree in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Minnesota (studied composition with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Dominick Argento), along with a B.A. degree in Vocal Performance from Minnesota State University in Moorhead, MN.
Jay is very active as an entertainer, performing over 100 gigs each year. He founded and directed the popular Twin Cities’ band Metro Jam. Jay and his dynamic partner Erin Schwab, entertain audiences all over the world. Jay is also a “first call” music director for many productions in the Twin Cities, including major awards shows, theater productions and corporate events.
Dr. Jay is a popular author of music education materials. His series Doctor Jay’s Music Lessons are used at a number of colleges across the country (including McNally Smith College of Music) as well as with individuals learning music on their own.
Jay is a veteran music educator. He began teaching at McNally Smith College of Music in 1991.
Chris earned a B.S. in Mathematics and an M.S. in Mathematics Education from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has taught math at a variety of secondary and post-secondary institutions, including Madison Area Technical College, Santa Monica College, and New Roads School in Los Angeles. As a member of the Center for Effective learning, he explored technologies like dynamic geometry software and perceptual learning modules that enhance learning in the classroom. In addition, Chris studied recording engineering at the Aspen Music School and has assisted Ron Streicher, former President of the Audio Engineering Society, in recording a variety of classical music events in Los Angeles.
Charles Gehr is an educator for the Minnesota School of Business, a touring musician and studio performer.
Gehr has worked with Ouija Radio, Mark Mallman, Hundred Flowers, The Short Fuses, Mid Carson July, Steve Clarke, JMN Band, Fe Fi FoFum Sextet, Alicia Wiley, Augsburg Concert Band, Bethel Orchestra, Leonard Mattsen Quartet, Money S, Bound, The Evil Eyes, Rebeka Fisher Band, The Resonators, and Subseason.
As a booking agent, he worked directly with artists, management, and talent buyers to coordinate tours and events for internationally recognized artists.
Gary has been a professional musician for 45+ years, working throughout the industry as a performer, composer, arranger and programmer. He studied piano with Lorna Michelson, Herb Wigley, Manfredo Fest, and Jill Dawe; Organ with Stephen Gabrielsen and Peter Hendrickson; and Guitar and Viola with True Sackrison and Ewa Bujak. Gary has performed with Tony Sandler, Marilyn McCoo, Robert Robinson, Brian Duncan, Ernie Watts, Othello Molineaux, Tim Ries, and the Minnesota Vikings Band. He continues to perform regularly with Marv Dahlgren, Yolanda Bruce, Cynthia Johnson, Judi Donaghy, the Sevilles, The Sleepers, his own band and others. As a composer/ synthesist with Herb Pilhofer Music, Gary composed music and designed sounds for numerous national TV ads including spots for Coca Cola, Discover Card, Target, and Porsche. He also performed on the soundtrack for the movie “Beautiful Girls” and coached the lead actor, Timothy Hutton, in piano technique. Gary hols a B.A. in Music from Augsburg College and a M.M. in Music Education from Boston University.
Sam joined McNally Smith as an adjunct instructor in 2012 after earning his Ph.D. in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota. He is also an assistant professor of kinesiology and health sciences at Concordia University, St. Paul. Sam has multiple years of experience teaching a variety of courses including anatomy and physiology, motor behavior, nutrition, research methods, and health and human movement. He has also worked in fitness and youth sports.
Sam’s primary research interest is in motor skill performance and he has published research on the effects of acute static stretching of the shoulder on baseball pitching performance in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Recently, Sam examined the influence of a competitive environment on postural sway and heart rate in participants while they performed in a golf putting tournament. He is also involved in research concerning parents’ perceptions of concussion risk in sport.
Dave Hanzel is known for his versatility and is one of the busiest drummers in the Twin Cities. As the drummer for Rupert’s Orchestra for nine years, Dave played club dates and corporate shows backing such national recording artists as Céline Dion, Michael Bolton, Huey Lewis, and Chuck Mangione. As an experienced studio musician, Dave has performed on many jingles as well as various album projects. Dave is also known for his great skill in repairing, refinishing, and customizing drums at his own shop Boom Alley Drums.
Jeff Harrington toured the Midwest with various pop/rock groups before settling down as a staff writer for CBS (Los Angeles), Warner Bros (Nashville), and Wrensong (Nashville/St.Paul). He has written hits for various artists including Petula Clark, Leif Garret, Susan Anton, Heart and many others in the country, pop, and children’s music fields. Harrington's movie and television credits include Follow That Bird (Sesame Street), The Dukes of Hazard, Capitol (Daytime TV), Lonely Lady and Longshot. Alongside Reyn Guyer, he has also produced family entertainment projects and musicals for Reyn Guyer Creative group.
Egyptian American mezzo-soprano, Sahar Hassan (saharhasssan.com) is a gifted and exciting singer, known for her innate musical sensitivity. She made her operatic debut with Fresno Lyric Opera, as Barbarina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Sahar is the artistic director of Ladyslipper Ensemble (ladyslipperensemble.org), 2015-16 Class Notes Artists with Minnesota Public Radio and maintains a busy schedule as an oratorio and chamber musician. Since moving to the Twin Cities from the Boston area, Sahar has performed on series with the Edvard Grieg Society of Minnesota, Lakeville Area Arts Center, Lowertown Classics, Schubert Club, Chamber Music at the Baroque Room, St. Paul Classical Crawl, St. Mark’s Music Series, Music at Sundin Hall, Lute Café, Arts and Cultural Heritage Library Legacy Concerts, St. Catherine Choral Society and the Twin Cities Early Music Festival. She earned her Master of Music from the New England Conservatory, and studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich and Conservatoire de Versailles in France.
Sahar served on the voice faculties of New England Conservatory’s Division of Preparatory and Continuing Education, Wellesley College, Phillips Exeter Academy, Salve Regina University, College of St. Benedict & St. John’s University, as well as Wellesley Composers’ Conference, where she was a chamber music coach. Her students have been accepted at New England Conservatory, Boston University, Berklee College of Music, Tisch School of the Arts, Eastman School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Roosevelt University. They also went on to participate in the summer programs at Santa Fe and Portland Operas. Others have attended Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute and appeared on National Public Radio’s “From the Top”. Sahar joined the voice faculty at McNally Smith College of Music in 2015.
International Student and Program Advisor
Kathy Hawks is the International Student and Program Advisor at McNally Smith College of Music (MSCM). She has led both domestic and international admissions and has served as the primary international student services advisor at MSCM for the past fifteen years. She is the campus designated school official and advises students on immigration regulations and issues related to their cross-cultural academic experience. Kathy is a passionate supporter of international education, has traveled extensively, and has studied abroad in the United Kingdom and Caracas, Venezuela. Kathy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography from St. Cloud State University and a Master’s Degree in Comparative International Development Education from the University of Minnesota.
Shai Hayo is a percussionist and educator who specializes in traditional and contemporary drumming styles of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and West Africa. He has performed and taught nationally and interntaionally, sharing the stage with artists and ensembles, such as Tony Orlando, Ann Margaret., Shelie E. Andy Montanez, Nachito Herrera, Sowah Mensah, Paracumbe, Shi-Daa Cultural Troupe, Salsa del Soul, The Macalester College African Music Ensemble, the Minnesota Orchestra, and, most currently, Paul Anka. An experienced language instructor, Shai teaches Spanish I and II in the Liberal Arts division.
Hayo holds degrees in Anthropology (B.A. Macalester College, 1996) and Education (MaEd, Hamline University, 2006) and has carried out anthropological and ethnomusicological research in Puerto Rico (1994 - 1995) and Ghana, West Africa (1998).
Tim Helisek has composed music and sound effects for TV including Survivor, CBS News, VH1's Behind the Music, The Mentalist, NCIS: Los Angeles and feature films Welcome to Me and Garage Dwellers. He was the orchestrator and copyist for Garry Schyman on the video games BioShock and Destroy All Humans. Tim has worked alongside William Goldstein, arranged for Dionne Warwick and has been music copyist for several of John Rodby’s modern classical works. When he is not working with music for media, he is writing music that pushes the boundaries of 21st-century orchestral music through algorithmic composition and microtonality.
Through his label, Helisek Music Publishing, Tim has released three solo piano albums containing classical works including Beethoven, Chopin, Philip Glass and John Cage. Another two albums include original compositions of avant-garde electronic music in the 21st-century classical style. He has also released over 250 ringtones and 40 children’s music albums.
In 2008, Tim graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Commercial and Media Writing from California State University Northridge. He obtained an Associate of Applied Science degree in Guitar Performance from McNally Smith College of Music in 2004. Tim has been teaching since 1999 and is the author of a book for educational guitar, ‘Reading Studies for the Beginning Guitarist.’
Born and raised in the Bay Area of California, Chad complete his first degree, a BS in Journalism and Mass Communication, at Humboldt State University in Northern California. He then moved to Minneapolis to attend IPR. After graduating as valedictorian, earning the ICON award and becoming Pro Tools and Logic certified, Chad set out on a series of internships and freelance work before opening up his own professional studio Black Apple Productions/Studios.
Chad is a producer, engineer, musician and songwriter with a strong engineering background and production skills to match. He has worked with both national and local artists in various styles of music. “Music is one of the most powerful entities in the world. It is one of the few things that have the power to invoke emotions within millions and millions of people. As a producer and engineer, I am given the honor and responsibility of capturing and preserving an artist’s musical and emotional integrity, essentially for a lifetime. This is something I take to heart and never take lightly.” Chad greatly enjoys being a studio owner and having the opportunity to work, produce and write with diverse musicians all across the country.
Outside of his recording life, Chad enjoys writing his own music and filling in as a musician for various bands. He is also the master of knowing how to fast-forward through commercials and hit the STOP button on his TIVO right before the show comes back on. He is also working hard toward earning his Pro Card as a competitive Strongman and Powerlifter.
Mark Henderson is a graduate of North Texas State University where he performed with the famous 1:00 Lab Band, which toured the U.S.S.R. on a State Department tour in 1976.
Since 1978, Mark has been a musician in the Twin Cities, working as a freelancer and as the resident woodwind player at the Chanhassen Dinner Theaters from 1988 to 1993. He performs regularly at the Guthrie and Children’s Theaters and is an affiliate member of the Minnesota Orchestra. He was also an original member of the Jazz MN Big Band.
Mark completed a Masters Degree in Saxophone Performance at the University of Minnesota in 1995, and was a member of the University’s Faculty Jazz Quintet. He taught privately at MacPhail Center from 1980 to 1989 and has worked as a jazz clinician for festivals from Alaska to Germany.
Since 1996, Mark has been composing music and sound design, as well as engineering for television and radio commercials. In 2003, Mark and his wife Mary started a new company, Dirty Dog Productions, which is producing ad music, as well as corporate video and DVD’s for small business clients in addition to many orchestrations and arranging endeavors. In 2006, Mark arranged all the live orchestrations for the Robert Robinson Christmas Tour, featuring a 12-person orchestra and a 100-member choir.
Bruce H. Hinrichs is a psychology professor, artist, and author. He has taught at numerous colleges and universities and specializes in General Psychology and Biological Psychology. Bruce was also the bass player in a 1960s-style rock band, The Fables, and was singer, songwriter, and rhythm guitar player in a punk-style band, The Necroids in the 1980s. Bruce was previously a glass-blower and is now an abstract painter and the author of nonfiction books in psychology, brain science, film, and art, and short stories often with a humorous tone.
Before moving to the Twin Cities, Kevin Werner Hohlstein completed a BA in Music at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and while in school had the opportunity to work with the Eau Claire Children’s Theater and Fanny Hill Dinner Theater. Calling the Twin Cities home since 1995, he has worked as a performer with Cardinal Theatricals, Theater in the Round, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Ashland Productions; Jarvis Mundi Productions, Season’s Players and the Minnesota Opera. Kevin has also directed for New Breath Productions, Ashland Productions, wrote and directed for Minnesota PerformDance and Unity Christ Church and has also worked with many companies across the Twin Cities metro and in western Wisconsin as choreographer and music director – including McNally Smith College of Music, Eight Ball Productions, Ashland Productions, and Heritage Theater.
In addition to being a member of the voice faculty at McNally Smith College of Music, he teaches voice out of his home studio and is proud to be a founding member of the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network (TCCAN).
Rachel Holder has been singing professionally in the Twin Cities since she was 19 years old. Her unique voice has a sensitivity and expressiveness far beyond her years. In 2007, Rachel graduated from McNally Smith College of Music with a Bachelor's degree in vocal performance. Currently, she performs at several venues in the Twin Cities, including The Dakota Jazz Club, Hell’s Kitchen, Honey, The Townhouse and The Artists’ Quarter.
Rachel is an extremely versatile singer and performs many genres of music, including jazz, latin, R&B, and pop. She performs with the Wolverines, the George Maurer Group and Vital Organ, as well as fronting her own groups.
Rachel’s debut album, “Save Your Love For Me,” recorded with jazz pianist Dan Musselman, was released in February of 2009. Rachel has been a guest artist and clinician at several Minnesota and Wisconsin high schools. She's been teaching voice and piano privately since 2007.
“Blair eschews typical hip-hop self-aggrandizement in favor of an honest, plain-spoken rapping style that owes more to contemporary literature and a healthy regimen of NPR than it does to the posturing of his musical forebears.” – City Pages
Before choosing the stage name Eric Blair, it's no surprise that Twin Cities-based emcee and fiction writer Joe Horton turned to one of his favorite writers for inspiration. Eric Blair is the given name of the author better known to the world as George Orwell. Horton's lyrics reflect the explorative tone of Orwell's work, following an often shaded and winding path through the trappings of social, emotional and intellectual conformity.
Early in his career, Horton wrote and performed spoken-word pieces at coffee shops in his native Milwaukee. While studying Psychology at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Horton began transitioning to songs, longer poems and short stories.
After moving to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Horton began seriously writing prose and enrolled in the MFA program at Hamline University. He is currently working on an experimental novella entitled "Gods of Mischief." Horton is also currently working with the Loft Literary Center as a Youth Mentor.
Horton is best known as the emcee for alternative hip-hop trio No Bird Sing, whose debut LP (self-titled) received local and national attention for its unique approach to the genre.
Horton has performed with acts such as Saul Williams, P.O.S., Peter Wolf Crier, Heiruspecs, Derrick Brown, Kill the Vultures and Lookbook.
Discography: Careless Talk (2008, Hyder Ali), No Bird Sing (2009, No Bird Sing)
Blake Iverson negotiated his first deal in the fifth grade, when he traded his Garbage Pail Kids collection for some Jerry Rice rookie cards and a cassette copy of Mötley Crüe’s Shout At The Devil. History has judged him the winner.
Blake attended the University of Minnesota where he majored in History and Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature. He then attended the University of Minnesota Law School where he was a member of the Arts and Entertainment Law Association. In 2008, Blake co-founded the law firm Friedman Iverson, PLLC, where he practices arts, entertainment and business law. He is the 2012-2013 Chair of the Arts and Entertainment Section of the Minnesota Bar Association.
Blake teaches Contracts at McNally Smith. In his spare time, Blake serves on the boards of several non-profits as well as the Minneapolis Arts Commission. His passions include mid-century furniture, pub trivia, and travel.
Department Head, Ensembles
Steve Jennings has explored many musical styles including rock, classical, jazz, funk, gospel, country, and blues. He has worked professionally in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN area since his first studio recording in 1991 after six years on the road with top forty dance bands. Jennings was initially inspired by the music of Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Tower of Power, Earth Wind and Fire, and the Doors. He experience in jazz music arrived in the form of violinist Jean Luc Ponty, the propulsive energy of Tony Williams, and the expressive funk of Billy Cobham.
The jazz and rock collaborations continue today in Story City, a modern instrumental group led by Jennings. In addition, Steve tours with violin virtuoso Randy Sabien and the electric funky bluegrass leaning Over and Back Band. He has performed with Regina Williams, Moore By Four, the Brian Kinney Band, Jevetta Steele, Paul Mayasich, the Platters, Ron Thompson and his Resistors, and Best Kept Secret. Jennings produced his first jazz record in 1995 with his own Jazztet, featuring clarinetist Dave O’Mara, bassist Keith Boyles, and the late great Bobby Peterson on piano. While primarily self-taught, Steve has welcomed periodic lessons with jazz drummers Phil Hey, Ed Soph, legend Gordy Knutson, and New Orleans street beat jazz guru John Vidacovich. His inspiration continues on in search of new musical experiences and creative collaborations while pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership from Augsburg College.
Dave Jensen is a member of Hornheads, a Billboard magazine award-winning a cappella jazz group. As a group, they have released three solo albums and recorded eight concept albums for Target. As a horn section, they have recorded for artists in the US, Japan, Argentina, Denmark, Portugal, and the UK.
From 1991 through 2001, the NPG Horns/Hornheads recorded nine albums with Prince and the New Power Generation, including three Gold and two Platinum albums with international sales of more than $20 million. During this time they performed with Prince around the world. Before Prince, Dave spent three years on tour with the Artie Shaw Orchestra. This included the PBS special “Ballroom Dancing” with Bobby Short and Juliet Prouse.
Dave's trumpet and flugelhorn can also be heard on the recordings of Chaka Khan,”Come to my house”; Larry Graham, “GCS 2000”; Jonas Brothers, "Lines, Vines and Trying Times"; "Girl 6" soundtrack album, Warner Brothers; "Pret-A-Porter" soundtrack album, Columbia; Mandy Moore, “Coverage”; Mavis Staples, “The Voice”; Phil Upchurch, “Love is Strange”; Tevin Campbell, “Get Ready”; Pedro Abrunhosa, “Tempo”; Illya Kuryaki, "Leche"; GeGe Telesforo, "Gege and the Mother Tongue"; Gyumi Matsutoya, "Faces"; Setimo Ceu, "Setimo Ceu"; Ricky Peterson, “A Tear Can Tell”; Scott Krippayne, "All of Me"; Rosie Gains, "Closer than Close"; Pete Whitman X-Tet, "Where's When"; Dave Graf, "Just Like That"; Carmen Electra, “Carmen Electra”; Blenders, "Loveland"; Ben Sidran, Bruce Henry, Laura Caviani, Prudence Johnson, Lucia Newell, Mick Sterling, Klezmerica, Debbie Duncan, Connie Evingson, George Avaloz, The Steeles, the JazzMN Big Band, and others.
Dave works as a musician for Broadway shows. He has also performed Duke Ellington’s “Nutcracker Suite” with the Minnesota Orchestra.
Performances with touring artists have included Aretha Franklin, James Moody, Dave Weckl, Tony Bennett, Pepper Adams, Billy Eckstine, Dick Oatts, Sammy Davis Jr., Rosemary Clooney, the Woody Herman Orchestra, and many others.
Dave graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music.
Peter has spent his entire career as a full time professional drummer/musician/songwriter. In the mid 70’s, he was a drummer and toured the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand for three years with Manhattan Transfer. He played on "Manhattan Transfer Live", an album recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. He also played on the "Pastiche" Manhattan Transfer studio album.
He has written hundreds of jingles, songs and underscores for commercials, including composing and producing all the music for two "Sesame Street Live" shows, which toured the world.
Peter was the house band drummer for two American Public Radio weekly shows that were heard nationally: "Good Evening" and "First House on the Right," where played with Shawn Colvin, Lyle Lovett, and Harry Connick Jr., among many others.
Peter still exhibits his drumming versatility; in appearances with the Minnesota Orchestra, he’s played Klezmer music with Doc Severinson, and jazz with Dave Brubeck. He plays often with "Synergy," one of the elite variety bands in the Twin Cities. He is the principal percussionist with the Minnesota Sinfonia, a 26-piece chamber orchestra. He makes frequent appearances on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion." Peter has played with Michael Bolton, Sister Sledge, Freda Payne, Trisha Yearwood, Chuck Berry, David Gaines, and Donny Osmond, among many others. He also does recording sessions with local artists.
A native of Winona, Minnesota, Kennedy began his musical studies at the piano in elementary school. After winning a statewide composition contest in fifth grade, he discovered an interest in percussion and eventually graduated With Honors from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Music Education.
While attending the University of Minnesota, Kennedy won a national audition for the drum chair with the Disney All-American College Band, a select group of musicians from colleges and universities across the United States. Through this experience he lived in Southern California for three months and performed regularly at Disneyland in Anaheim, recorded at Capitol Records in Hollywood, and performed with multiple studio and jazz musicians including Rick Baptist, Shelly Berg, Wayne Bergeron, Bob Florence, Alex Iles, Sal Lozano, Andy Martin, and Jiggs Whigham.
In the Twin Cities, Kennedy is involved with multiple projects as both a composer and performer including the jazz quintet, Snowblind, the Jack Brass Band, and the jazz/hip hop collective, Big Villain co-produced by Grammy winning hip-hop composer and saxophonist Andrew Balogh (Drake, 50 Cent, Jay-Z) and Emmy Award winning, Grammy nominated engineer, Reid Kruger.
Kennedy has enjoyed professional collaborations with Ernestine Anderson, Katisse Buckingham, Taylor Eigsti, Mark Gross, Judith Hill, Richard Johnson, Joe Lovano, Delfeayo Marsalis, Gunther Schuller, Walter Smith III, and others. He has also had the privilege to study with Bernie Dresel, Peter Erskine, Jeff Hamilton, Phil Hey, Steve Houghton, Rich MacDonald, and Dave Weckl.
Lindsay Kimball is an on-air host and assistant program director for 89.3 The Current. She works within the music department to pick music for the station, produces The Current in-studios and remote broadcasts, including shows from Bonnaroo, SXSW and Rock the Garden; and launches initiatives such as Local Current webstream, the live event series The Current Road Trip, and most recently, she’s worked with August Schell Brewing Company to launch a new Current beer called Schell’s The Current.
Before joining The Current, Lindsey was host and music director for KWLC, Luther College, IA. She graduated from Luther College with a B.A. in communications and psychology. She’s been teaching courses about radio at McNally Smith College of Music since 2011.
Department Head, Percussion
Gordy has played hundreds of sessions for jingles, radio and television station logos, industrial film scores, record albums, and compact discs. He has toured extensively, including with the Roy Buchanan Band in 1981 and the Ben Sidran Trio from 1982-1989.
In 1987, Gordy joined the Steve Miller Band and has been touring and recording with the band ever since. Freelance performance credits include: Jack MacDuff, Eddie Harris, Ernie Watts, Dave Brubeck, Richie Cole, Kevin Mahogany, Othello Molineaux, James Williams, Manfredo Fest, Chuck Berry, Bob Hope, Don Rickles, Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart, the Smothers Brothers, Garrison Keilor, and many others.
Learn more at: www.GK-music.com
John Krogh is an award-winning composer (ASCAP), engineer, producer, sound designer, and multi-instrumentalist who writes music and provides audio production services for advertising, TV, film and new-media clients. John has produced music for national and international brands such as Fox Sports, Microsoft, Verizon, Ubisoft, and Adidas, and has garnered two Telly Awards for his original compositions. With over 300 music placements to his credit, Krogh’s music can be heard on programs from such networks as The History Channel, MSNBC, Tru TV, Bravo and National Geographic.
John Krogh is also a published author and music technology authority, having written hundreds of artist interviews, feature articles, and product reviews for Keyboard and EQ magazines. During his tenure with these publications, John served as Technical Editor, and later held the position of Editor-at-Large (Keyboard). He has been cited in numerous industry periodicals and books, including The Guide To MIDI Orchestration (Gilreath). He remains an active contributor to the music technology publishing world.
In addition to his studio work and music publishing experience, John Krogh has toured the globe as a music programmer and playback engineer for live concerts and television performances with such artists as The Eagles, Don Henley, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Leona Lewis and Jennifer Hudson, to name a few. Notable performances include the 2006 Winter Olympics, Good Morning America, Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The David Letterman Show.
Having studied under guitar greats Bill Leavitt, Mike Ihde, and Larry Baione, Paul toured eight years with various shows and rock bands throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has also played with the Chanhassen Dinner Theater Pit Orchestra for the musicals Oklahoma, Cats, Mamma Mia, and The Full Monty.
Liz Kuivinen holds a Master of Liberal Studies degree from the University of Minnesota and a B.M. degree in Piano Performance from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Liz began her career as a professional musician in New York City where she performed with artists Patti LaBelle, Loretta Devine (star of the hit Broadway musical Dreamgirls), Maurice Hines, Andy Warhol, John Sex, Pete Morgan’s Big Band, Sandra Caldwell, L.E. Howell, and Tina Cinero. Liz also performed at such Manhattan venues as The Palladium, Studio 54, The Cat Club and Dancetarea. Liz has worked extensively with jazz greats Frank Mantooth and Bob Mintzer. While in New York, Liz also worked in the theater, scored a feature film (Czechs and Balances), and operated her own production company.
Brian Laidlaw is a poet and songwriter from San Francisco. He studied Creative Writing as an undergraduate at Stanford, at which point he began setting his own poems to music. After graduating in 2005 he toured and rambled throughout the country for several years as a solo folksinger.
In 2008, Brian moved to Minneapolis to earn an M.F.A. in poetry at the University of Minnesota. In the last year he has received awards and honors from the Loft Literary Center, the Weisman Art Museum, and the Jerome Foundation. His lyrics have been featured in American Songwriter Magazine and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New American Writing, FIELD, VOLT, Quarter After Eight, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere.
Brian has released numerous full-length projects, most recently the CD No Horse Town and the hybrid book/album Junco. A dedicated wordsmith and instrumentalist, he collaborates and co-writes with ensembles from coast to coast, and continues to perform regularly in the Twin Cities and greater Midwest.
Before coming to McNally Smith, Velma Lashbrook taught in Augsburg’s Master of Arts in Leadership program, facilitating courses in self-identity and personal growth, coaching and consulting, organization theory and leadership, positive psychology and leadership, popular music and leadership, and research methods. She considers herself to be a generalist with expertise in learning, leadership, and research. Her current interests include the use of popular culture in creating meaningful learning experiences. She is a member of the Popular Culture Association, International Communication Association, and POD Network.
Prior to working at Augsburg College, she spent 20 years with Wilson Learning Corporation, a global training and development firm. As Vice President of Global Research and Development, she led a group of researchers, instructional designers, and publishers in designing leaning and measurement products and services to help organizations improve leadership, team, sales, and service effectiveness. She is particularly proud of selecting and retaining a team of talented, interdisciplinary professionals who developed products that made a difference in people's lives, as well as their work.
She has extensive consulting experience in education, business, and nonprofit organizations. Her primary organizational specialties are strategic planning and implementation, staffing, and leadership development. She has also worked as a consultant, evaluator, and workshop facilitator with educational institutions, where she has helped address curriculum and instructional design, deep and active learning, blended learning, and assessment and program evaluation issues.
Department Head, Music Business
Over the past 15 years, Scott LeGere has played key roles in the ownership and operation of audio recording facilities, independent record labels, media schools, and commercial music production companies. During this time, he has engineered Grammy nominated albums, produced critically acclaimed independent projects, lectured economics classes of 75 students, and foolishly hauled both Yamaha CP-70s and Hammond B3s (concurrently) to gigs.
Inspired to return to composing and playing music in addition to record production, he co-founded NoWare Media in 2010 and since then has helped produce Clio, Emmy, and Cannes Lion award winning commercial spots for Target, General Mills, PepsiCo, Bauer Hockey, BluDot, and others; proving that you can make money in music even if your job requirements might include finding lyrics to rhyme with the word “broccoli.” In addition to his industry endeavors, Scott has taught economics and media strategy at several Minnesota colleges for over a decade.
Michelle Lekas has been studying and teaching film history and theory at the University of Florida, Hamline University, Carleton College, Macalester College and the University of Minnesota for 27 years.
She earned BAs in English Education and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois UC, her MA in Comparative Literature at the University of Florida and her PhD at UM. She is most interested in what the history of cinema can tell us about film and society today. This concern includes attention to the intersections of cinema the related arts and media, such as television, as well as cinema’s position within politics and culture, with particular attention to film sound.
As in her cinema programming days with the Florida State Theater and her work with the Walker Art Center and UM and MNSCU student film festivals, Dr. Lekas loves to hear what students are thinking about cinema and encourages them to create in cinema, and join the larger discussion(s) in the film world.
Tim's career includes a wide range of accomplishments in television production, recording studio session work, producing, arranging, engineering, studio management, and multi-instrumental live performance. Having studied with Memphis area sessionmen and Bill Bresnahan in Boston, his university studies culminated in working with artist-in-residence, Aaron Copland, and visiting artists, Gunther Schuller and electronic music pioneer, Vladimir Ussachevsky. Tim has toured nationally in a 14-piece horn band and shared the stage with Carole King, The Beach Boys, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Merle Haggard, Ann Margaret, and many more. He also maintains a long-running contingent of private guitar students.
Joe Mabbott was raised in a musical family, and began his own life in music as a drummer at the age of 2. He grew up as a performer, and after high school he felt it was time to turn his passion into a career. After graduating from The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Phoenix, he relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota in February 1995, and accepted an assistant engineer position at Trail Mix Studios. At the time, Trail Mix was a studio primarily known for its work in post production for the television and film industry. After four years at Trail Mix working on a vast array of commercials and short films, as well as numerous album projects (in all facets- engineering, mixing, editing, sound design, and playing drums and percussion) Joe then started freelance engineering around Minneapolis at several post and music studios.
In 2001, after two years of steady freelance work, Trail Mix Studios hired Joe back full time as manager and head engineer of the facility. In 2003, he bought out Trail Mix Studios and reorganized it as The Hideaway Studio, and his experience and style lured many of Minneapolis’ top hip-hop and indie rock acts, immediately establishing The Hideaway as a favorite of local artists. Joe’s work with national and international touring artists like Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Cloud Cult, Golden, Heiruspecs, I Self Devine, The Plastic Constellations, 5 Mile Chase, and many others has turned the Hideaway Studio into one of The Twin Cities more reputable and successful studios.
Scott Malchow has over 30 years of experience in the music and recording industry. He has worked as a session musician, arranger, producer, and engineer on many different types of projects. These include national radio and television advertising, film and video scoring, educational materials, church publishing, interactive game music, and corporate communications, as well as numerous CD projects.
Formal Education: B. A. Music, Augsburg College
Thirty Two years; General Manager and Talent Buyer at a single concert venue (First Avenue Nightclub). Memberships: Presently – Vice President of the Cedar Cultural Center Board of Directors; Consultant/Primary Volunteer for DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization); Membership Committee for the Metro IBA (Independent Business Alliance); and some other organizations, like KFAI Radio, MPIRG Board of Directors (Minnesota Public Interest Research Group; MMA Board of Directors (Minnesota Music Academy); Downtown Warehouse Association Board of Directors, and several other organizations that go back to University of Minnesota days non-arts related (political and social services). After working multiple jobs while at the University of Minnesota I got stuck in a facility called First Avenue for thirty-two years. I worked all aspects of the “venue” music business: operations, primary talent buyer, marketing director, general manager, and “ambassador” to government bodies and social institutions. Having been recently paroled from that facility, I am finding a brand new world in which to relate my work experience to the students at McNally Smith. It’s actually quite liberating for a “music business” veteran.
Brian McCullough is a teacher of the Alexander Technique, a method of improving coordination and technical ease. His clients include performing artists of all levels of ability interested in learning to improve performance skills and to eliminate musculoskeletal discomforts.
He is certified by the American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT). His training included daily study for three years (1600 hours) with Joan and Alex Murray, renown Alexander pedagogues from England.
In addition to his position at McNally Smith, Brian is a faculty member at the University of Minnesota and has held extended residencies at Augustana College (Sioux Falls, SD) and at the Saint John’s University (Collegeville, MN).
Other musical endeavors have included several years as a trombonist in the Rochester (Minnesota) Orchestra and fourteen years of nonprofit and arts administration experience.
Michael is an audio engineer, producer, and owner of Tracks On 6th Recording Studios. Michael has been a part of the Twin Cities music scene since 1975 working with local, regional, and national artists. He is active in developing new talent as well as restoring and archiving important and historical music associated with the Twin Cities music scene. In addition to his work as an audio engineer, Michael has been involved in the design and installation of several commercial and educational recording facilities, including the McKern Complex at McNally Smith College.
Michael started at McNally Smith College of Music in 1994. Over the years he has held various positions in the institution. These include: Instructor, Head of the Recording Program, Executive Director, and Vice President of Administration and Operations.
Michael is a member of AES (Audio Engineering Society) and SPARS (Society of Professional Audio Recording Services).
Department Head, Composition & Songwriting
Sean McMahon has worked in various roles on film scores for major motion pictures including Spider-Man 3 and Dreamgirls, and most recently composed the score for The Grudge 3. Originally from Toronto, Sean lived and worked in Los Angeles for six years prior to joining the McNally Smith faculty. While in Los Angeles, much of his work on film scores was under the direction of prominent Hollywood composer Christopher Young, whom McMahon first met while completing post-graduate work in Film Music at the University of Southern California.
In addition to Spider-Man 3, McMahon’s work for Christopher Young included orchestrations for the film Ghost Rider (on which he can also be heard playing guitar) and the DreamWorks picture The Uninvited, score coordination for Beauty Shop, and much more. He also worked with successful film composer John Ottman, orchestrating films including Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer and The Invasion.
Steve McPherson is a musician and writer who’s lived in the Twin Cities since 2004, where he’s performed with bands and artists including Big Trouble, Brutal Becomings, Crossing Guards, Jessy Greene, and Heiruspecs. His work as a critic and journalist has appeared in "Pulse of the Twin Cities" (where he was the Music/Film/Theater Editor from 2005 - 2007), "City Pages," "The Onion’s" A.V. Club, the "Star Tribune," "Skyscraper Magazine" and "Reveille Magazine,' an online music magazine he founded in 2007.
Steve is currently finishing his MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University, where he recently received the W. Quay Grigg Award for Excellence in Literary Study, and works as a publicist for Innova Recordings, the label of the American Composers Forum in Saint Paul.
His poetry appears in "rock, paper, scissors," his fiction appears in a forthcoming collection from Green Lantern Press and he will be the Assistant Fiction Editor for literary annual Water~Stone Review’s 14th edition.
Adam Meckler is a trumpet player, composer and educator living in Minneapolis, MN. He holds a B.M. in Jazz Studies from Lawrence University, and a M.M in Trumpet Performance from the University of Minnesota. Adam has toured with Youngblood Brass Band, Nooky Jones, The Jana Nyberg Group, Lulu's Playground, the Jack Brass Band, and Todd Clouser's A Love Electric. He also plays regularly with The Graydon Peterson Quartet, The Brass Barn Polka Band, The Good The Bad The Funky and The Pete Whitman X-Tet.
Meckler was a 2014 recipient of MacPhail Center for Music's Artist Development Grant resulting in When the Clouds Look Like This, a full length album of original music for Jazz Orchestra composed and directed by Meckler. In December of 2014, iTunes listed When The Clouds Look Like This among 2014's best releases in Jazz.
Meckler holds Faculty positions in trumpet and Jazz at McNally Smith College of Music, and MacPhail Center for Music. He is also one of three founders of SoKillingMan.com, a site dedicated to transcription and analysis of jazz solos. He is an active educator/clinician maintaining a trumpet studio in the Twin Cities and performing clinics and workshops all over the US and abroad.
You can hear Adam's music, take a look at his calendar and purchase his records at www.adammeckler.com. Follow Adam on Twitter and Instagram at @AdamMeckler.
Michael Menard is an accomplished classical guitarist and guitar teacher with the ability to play and teach many styles of music. Michael is also a successful bandleader and guitar player in several local rock bands. Michael holds a M.M. and B.M. in Classical Guitar Performance from the University of Minnesota. At the University of Minnesota Michael studied guitar with Jeffrey Van and James McGuire. Upon receiving his Masters Degree, Michael was asked to return to teach at the University of Minnesota, and continues to do so. He also teaches guitar at the Math and Science Academy in Woodbury, Eden Prairie High School, the Saint Paul Conservatory, and of course McNally Smith College of Music. Michael operates his own teaching studio for students of all ages. In addition to teaching, Michael plays at a variety of venues all over the Twin Cities, leading and playing guitar in the popular rock bands Young Lust and The Notties. In 2009 Michael served as Band Leader for the local production of Power Balladz.
April began her career teaching all areas of English and Speech Communications for eight years in secondary schools. In 2003, she moved into higher education, teaching at St. Cloud State University, The College of St. Catherine, Inver Hills Community College, University of Wisconsin-River Falls and for three years as an adjunct at McNally Smith. Primarily, she’s taught introductory composition, but has also branched out to creative and argumentative writing. In addition to teaching, April participated in community, high school and college theater for 15 years. She was involved in all aspects of production including acting, singing, lighting, set and costume design, and directing. She was a founding director of Mora Area Community Theater and directed plays for several years in that community.
Jake Mohan is a writer and musician living in Minneapolis. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota, where he wrote a memoir about playing drums in a struggling indie-rock band. He has written about music and other subjects for the Utne Reader, City Pages, the Star-Tribune, Reveille Magazine, The Onion, and other publications. Mohan currently plays drums in the eclectic Minneapolis band Run at the Dog.
At McNally Smith, Jake teaches Music Journalism and Writing and Research and is the faculty adviser to The Decibel, the campus newspaper.
Teresa De la Mora is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Biology at Normandale Community College, in the Department of Natural Sciences at Metropolitan State University, and in the Liberal Arts Department at McNally Smith. She teaches biology and chemistry courses directed towards non-science major students. Teresa received her PhD from University of Minnesota in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics with concentration in protein crystallography, and her BS from University of Texas at El Paso in Microbiology. Teresa’s research work focused on understanding how a protein’s structure relates to its function and how changes to that structure can affect the function at a molecular level as well as organismal level.
Dr. Dan Musselman is a talented keyboardist, composer and educator. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Composition from the University of Minnesota, and a B.M. in Piano Performance from McNally Smith College of Music. Musselman has released three albums of original compositions and arrangements: Ruminations (2008); which contains all original improvised material on the piano and has over 200,000 plays on internet radio, Devotion (2013); a jazz trio/quartet album which has aired on over 240 radio stations internationally and features a suite of pieces that reflect the Bible, and A Modern Christmas; his dissertation project which contains “recompositions” of sacred Christmas hymns.
Musselman has led his own ensembles at several major venues in the Twin Cities, including the Artists’ Quarter and the Dakota Jazz Club, and performs annually at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. He is a keyboardist for River Valley Church, one of the largest and fastest growing churches in the country, and also plays regularly for Wooddale Church. Musselman has written two books: Ear Training for the Modern Musician, Book 1 and 2 — both of which are in use at McNally Smith (Book 3 is nearing completion). Additionally, he has received many commissions for compositions/arrangements from organizations such as the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the University of Minnesota, and the men’s chorus Cantus.
Dan has been teaching piano lessons since age 16 and became a faculty member at McNally Smith in 2009.
An experienced performer as a soloist and with a wide variety of musicians, Chris Olson holds an M.M. degree in Jazz Studies/Performance from the University of North Texas and a B.M. degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Chris is on the board of directors of the Minnesota Guitar Society, and teaches at guitar and jazz camps in Shell Lake, Wisconsin and here at McNally Smith. Chris has been a performer and clinician at camps and festivals from Green Bay, WI to Cordoba, Argentina.
Assistant Division Chair, Music Business
David Olson has been involved with the Business Department of McNally Smith College since 1996. Prior to joining the staff, he performed as a guitarist/vocalist for a number of commercially successful groups before turning his attention to the recording studio. Dave has worked as a studio guitarist, vocalist, writer and arranger for the stage, radio and television productions, and corporate videos. He has written for, performed and appeared in national and regional radio and television jingles. In addition to teaching at McNally Smith, he still owns and operates his own project studio and particularly enjoys working with singers and songwriters on their demo productions.
A Milwaukee, Wisconsin native with direct Nigerian ancestry, Nneka Onyilofor attained her B.S. in Family Social Science and Masters of Liberal Studies (M.L.S.) degree from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Being passionate about her community, Nneka expanded her mission to West Africa, as she completed her master’s thesis on globalization in West African contemporary culture, with a major focus on Ghanaian hip-life music. She has studied in Ghana, French-speaking Mali and Rio de Janeiro and Salvador (Bahia) Brazil, to learn more about the African diaspora.
Nneka has worked at African American Family Services and at the University of Minnesota as an Admissions Counselor. She was also the lead instructor for three black history courses in the University of Minnesota’s African American and African Studies Department . Additionally, she has coordinated and taught a community based college preparation course to high school students.
Her other interests include writing, as she was a freelance writer for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder Newspaper and has been published in various local publications such as the African News Journal and the St. Paul Almanac. She was the founder of Moonlight Poetry, an open mike venue in Minneapolis and she participated in the 2008 Givens Black Writer's Retreat in Minnesota. She is also a program director with a locally based networking and entertainment group called African Global Roots.
Residing in St. Paul, Minnesota, she currently holds a full time position as an Outreach Counselor at the University of MN. She also holds an adjunct faculty position at McNally Smith, teaching Diaspora of African Music.
Shon Parker is a diverse vocalist, arranger and educator with a variety of experience in styles including pop, rock, opera, classical, jazz and more. Shon earned his M.M. from Western Michigan University in Performance and his B.A. in Music from Washington State University with a minor in jazz studies. Shon has studied with Steve Zegree, Diana Spradling, Sheila Converse and John Weiss.
Shon’s experiences at Western Michigan University, as a member of the internationally renowned vocal jazz group Gold Company, included highlight performances at the IAJE conference in New York City, the Issac Stern Auditorium in Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the International Inventors Hall of Fame Ceremony in Akron, Ohio.
As a member of Gold Company, Shon also shared the stage with artists including Jennifer Barnes, Fred Hersch, Darmon Meader, Roger Treece and Janis Siegel. Shon served as assistant director to GC’s sister group, Gold Company II. Recently, Shon has been performing with the Shon Parker Quintet and the Weedies. He has also performed as a member of the Idaho-Washington Chorale, including a bass solo performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G Minor.
On top of teaching, Shon also coordinates school’s vocal festivals, and is a member of the Minnesota Music Educators Association.
A Wisconsin native, Jennifer (Scovell) Parker is proud to be with McNally Smith College of Music. She is active as a performer, educator, arranger, clinician and adjudicator. Jennifer earned an M.M. from Western Michigan University in Jazz Performance and her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in Jazz Studies. She was privileged to study with Linda Parins, Christine Salerno and Sunny Wilkinson.
As a performer she leads the Jennifer Parker Quartet, which allows her the opportunity to write and arrange. She has enjoyed making music with numerous musical groups and special artists over the years including Jazz Northwest, Mark Levine, The Scovell-Sponcia Project, The Times, Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, Idaho-Washington Chorale, Frank Sinatra Tribute Band, Ziji Brazilian Jazz, Bay City Swing and Double Take.
With her heart in education, Jennifer spends a great deal of time as a guest artist, clinician and director at music festivals, camps and in classroom outreach. Her vocal arrangements are often performed by college and high school vocal jazz ensembles. She has made demonstration recordings for Hal Leonard Music Publishing and The Complete Guide to Teaching Vocal Jazz, written by Dr. Stephen Zegree.
Jennifer is a member of J.E.N and is the Repertoire & Standards Chair of Jazz Choirs for the Minnesota Chapter of ACDA.
Greg Perleberg is a Shareholder with Lommen Abdo Cole King & Stageberg, P.A., one of the Midwest’s largest entertainment law firms. Greg specializes in a wide spectrum of intellectual property areas, and is the former Chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Arts, Sports & Entertainment Law Section. In addition to his business law clients, Greg works closely with filmmakers, musicians/bands, professional athletes, publishers and other individual artists. Greg’s music background includes being selected to the Minnesota Music Educators Association’s All State Band. At McNally Smith, Greg teaches Copyright and Music Publishing. For more information, visit http://www.lommen.com/Our-Firm/Attorneys/Greg-Perleberg.aspx.
Gary’s diverse credits include working with local jazz artists Debbie Duncan, Bruce Henry, Dave Karr, Manfredo Fest, national jazz artists Richie Cole, Claudio Roditi, Herb Ellis, Mark Murphy, Clark Terry, and performing for dozens of Broadway touring companies such as West Side Story,Phantom of the Opera, A Chorus Line, and Victor, Victoria. He has also toured with Sammy Davis Jr. and performed with the Count Basie Band, and is currently bassist for The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" national radio show.
Greg Reierson is the owner and operator of Rare Form Mastering in Minneapolis. He has spent the past 27 years working in the audio industry with a primary focus on audio mastering since 1989. In that time he’s mastered more than 4,000 commercially released albums for a diverse group of local, national and international artists including Prince, The Cure, Jonny Lang, Rita Coolidge, Bernard Allison, The Marshall Tucker Band, Tommy James, John Kay,Willie Murphy, Alexander O’Neal, Cloud Cult, The Honeydogs, Bruce McCabe, The Suburbs, Lorie Line and many others. In addition to the art and practice of mastering itself, and always in the pursuit of improving his craft, he spends countless hours designing, building and modifying electronic and electro-mechanical devices and learning as much as he can about music, sound, audio perception, acoustics and audio technology. Mastering is a subtle art — every little bit helps. Greg is a member of the Audio Engineering Society and a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Formal Education: B.S. Mass Communication, B.S. Sociology, North Dakota State University
Craig Rice is an award-winning producer and director, and is nationally recognized for his distinguished career in the television and film industry. His work has been nominated for four Emmy Awards, an NAACP Award, and several other honors.
Rice recently served as Executive Director of the Minnesota Film and TV Board. He recently produced a 90-minute PBS variety show “A The Prairie Home Companion 30th,” and is co-producing and directing a documentary on the life and works of designer/artist Michael Graves.
Rice recently served as director and executive producer for the feature length documentary “Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks” for HBO, which was nominated for three Emmy awards, a NAACP Image Award, and was selected to the Museum of Television and Radio in the year 2000. The documentary won the Tree of Life Award from The Friends of the Motion Picture Academy and has been selected for dozens of festivals.
Other accomplishments include serving as the Director of Paisley Park Enterprises, Inc., producing several full-length films for Prince including Graffiti Bridge. Craig also managed and worked with a number of international recording artists including Bobby Brown, Taj Mahal, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston and Alexander O’Neal. Rice has also directed dozens of music videos with artists including Prince, Patti LaBelle and Sounds of Blackness.
During his career as a documentary producer and director, he has been involved in documentaries such as Funkytown, Ingrid Chavez: Artist, Bobby: Bobby Brown, Art Pepper: Notes From a Jazz Survivor, Prince, the ABC television special We Teach Our Children and Our Sacred Land with Chris Spotted Eagle for PBS. As a commercial producer and award-winning director, Rice has helmed commercials for clients such as Amoco, Nike, Target, Kraft, the United Way, McDonald’s and the Partnership for Drug Free America.
Rice’s film career began as an assistant director on feature films including Purple Rain and Brother From Another Planet, as a production assistant for ABC Wide World of Sports in New York. Rice holds a Production Degree from the University of Southern California Cinema Department. While a student there, Rice received an Emmy nomination for We Teach Our Children. Rice also attended the Minneapolis College of Art & Design and the University of Minnesota with a Film/Photography and Theatre Major.
Scott Rivard was Technical Director, Mixer and Audio Producer for the live broadcast of the show, A Prairie Home Companion carried by 540 stations and heard by over 4 million listeners each week. He has also participated in television production at Northwest Teleproductions. He was an owner and designer of 74th Street recording studio and before that, Sound 80, Inc.
Scott made some of the first multitrack digital recordings including: Herb Pilhofer “Spaces,” Willie And The Bees “Out Of The Woods,” Leo Kottke “Guitar Music.” He also recorded Leo Kottke’s legendary “6 and 12 String Guitar album.”
Scott has designed consoles for theater, a high-definition power amp, and a 32-channel quad mixing console which was one of the first in the world to use voltage-controlled amplifier grouping.
Scott is a voting member of The National Academy Of Recording Arts And Sciences (Grammys) and a full member of The Audio Engineering Society.
Elise has taught acting and theater at institutions across the country and is currently in the final stages of her PhD program with University of California Santa Barbara.
An experienced performer and director, Elise has directed over 25 fully produced plays, including children’s shows, classical and contemporary pieces, as well as several original works. She has participated in workshops with Patsy Rodenburg, Marcel Marceau and Aquila Theatre among others.
Elise enjoys working with musicians to help them develop poise, confidence, a professional presentation and collaboration skills.
Thomas Rosenberg is nationally known as a dynamic performer, chamber music coach, and teacher. A resident of Saint Paul, Minnesota, he is currently on the faculties of Macalester College, Carleton College and the McNally Smith College of Music teaching cello and coaching chamber music and has served as String Chamber Music Coordinator and primary coach for the University of Minnesota School of Music. He also maintains a busy private studio of pre-college cellists and chamber ensembles featuring many of the regions most outstanding young artists. Former teaching assistant to renowned cellists and artist-teachers Paul Katz and Laurence Lesser, Tom is recipient of the 2003-4 “Master Studio Teacher Award” from the Minnesota chapter of the American String Teachers Association and has also been named "Arts Educator of the Year" by the Michigan-Indiana Arts and Sciences Council . Since 1981, he has been Artistic Director of the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition (www.Fischoff.org) through which he is a recipient of the 2007 Indiana Governor’s Arts Award, the highest honor in the arts from that state.He has led chamber music “informances” to audiences around the US, and has recently presented a series of lectures on the Beethoven String Quartets. During the summers he teaches and coaches at music centers such as the Tanglewood Institute, The Quartet Program where he has also been Associate Director, Icicle Creek, Bravo, the Midwest Young Artists Summer Chamber Music Camp and the Green Lake Chamber Music Festival. For 2012, he has been invited to be presented in master classes at The Cleveland Institute of Music, The Oberlin Conservatory, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, Ohio State University, The Columbus Chamber Music Connection and Suzuki Program, The Interlochen Arts Academy and Webster University.
Mr. Rosenberg was awarded the prestigious McKnight Performing Artist Fellowship Award in 2004. He also has received top chamber music prizes at the Munich (Germany), Portsmouth (England) and Chicago Discovery Competitions, and is a three-time Naumburg Chamber Music Award finalist. His freelance activities include numerous solo and chamber music recitals, performances with the Schubert Piano Trio, The Isles Ensemble and performances as an extra musician with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Rosenberg was a founding member of the highly acclaimed Chester String Quartet with whom he made numerous recordings and for twenty years, appeared on concert stages and live radio coast to coast in the United States, Canada, Central America and Europe. He has been solo cello of the New York Chamber Ensemble performing in all of the major concert halls in NYC, performed with jazz greats Charlie Haden and Al Foster in Carnegie Hall and appeared at many music festivals including Aspen, Newport, Banff, South Mountain, Cape May, the Grand Tetons, and the International Music Festival in San Jose, Costa Rica. As a soloist, he has been noted by the Boston Globe as displaying “beautifully inflected, noble playing with a gorgeous dark tone.” He performs on a rare cello by Lorenzo Storioni made in Cremona, Italy in 1794.
Tom is a graduate of Oberlin and the Eastman School of Music where he was teaching assistant to both Paul Katz and Laurence Lesser. Other teachers include Richard Kapuscinski, Alan Harris, Alta Mayer, and for chamber music, members of the Budapest, Juilliard, Tokyo, Guarneri, and Cleveland Quartets.
Dr. Adam Rossmiller is a trumpet performer and music educator in the Twin Cities. Performance credits include the Doc Severinsen Big Band, Glen Miller Big Band, JazzMN Big Band, Bach Society of MN, Pete Whitman’s X-tet, Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church Brass, Dr. Mambo’s Combo, Jack Brass Band, and Ronn Easton’s All Star Soul Revue. He has also had the pleasure of performing professionally with Jason Marsalis, Natalie Cole, Eric Alexander, Mike Stern, Nicholas Payton, Fred Wesley, Diane Schuur, Ernie Watts, Wayne Bergeron, the Hornheads, the Four Tops, Martha & the Vandellas, and Wayne Newton.
Rossmiller is also a regular performer in the Twin Cities vibrant musical theatre scene and has been hired for numerous engagements at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Children’s Theatre, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. He is currently directs the Jazz Ensemble at Concordia University St. Paul. He has also served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota Morris, Gustavus Adolphus College, and St. Cloud State University. He directs a beginning band and maintains a private studio at the Mt. Olivet School of Music. His edition of Frank Bencriscutto’s Concerto for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble is published through Ars Nova Press.
Gary has been writing music for a wide variety of applications since his early teens. Recording credits include LOST IN THE SHUFFLE performed by Helen Reddy on the European release of her greatest hits compilation, and EVERYONE, recorded by Nick Lowe on his Columbia Records release THE ROSE OF ENGLAND (the song found its way to Nick via pop idol Elvis Costello, a fan of Rue's band, RUE NOUVEAU).
Mr. Rue has over 70 theater musicals to his credit, among these, PAINTING IT RED by Steven Dietz (author of the Pulitzer Prize nominee LAST OF THE BOYS), which enjoyed wide exposure nationally, including a very successful 6 week run at BERKELEY REPERTORY THEATER’s Second Stage in Berkeley, California. Gary is also composer-in-residence at SteppingStone Theatre of St Paul. One of these commission, THE STINKY CHEESE MAN recently completed a national tour (including a series of performances in Shanghai, China) with the Dallas Children’s Theatre.
Gary had also served since 1986 as conductor and arranger in North America for ‘60’s pop star Gene Pitney (“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”, “Town Without Pity”) and his 15 piece orchestra until Mr. Pitney’s death in 2006.
Department Head, Strings
Randy Sabien founded and chaired the jazz string department at Berklee College of Music, where he also performed with, and produced albums for, folk musician Jim Post (of the 1960s group Friend & Lover). Randy Sabien is one of those rare string musicians to be hailed as both a violinist and a fiddler. Sabien has been a frequent guest on “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Austin City Limits” and has toured the world playing in different styles and with many of music’s great stars. Randy is also a highly-regarded educator and author of instructional texts.
Mike Salow is a graduate of McNally Smith College of Music and received a B.M. in Guitar Performance with a Music Business Minor (Cum Laude). He’s played with various acts, with genres ranging from jazz/fusion to hip-hop; metal to country.
Mike has toured throughout the Midwest over the years, most recently with rock quartet, Chester Bay. The band has been featured in magazines such as Rolling Stone and Relix, they’ve had national radio airplay, and have had their music placed in television and film. Additionally they’ve shared the stage with national acts like Candlebox, Los Lobos, Fitz and the Tantrums, Great White, and The Avett Brothers. Chester Bay has recorded and released two full length albums; “Get Free” and the most recent, “Changes with the Midwest Moon”.
Outside of McNally Smith, Mike teaches at several other schools throughout the greater Twin Cities area as well as having a number of private students. He also makes monthly video tutorials for InfiniteGuitar.com.
Mike has been featured on TruthInShredding.com, received an Outstanding Solo award at the Elmhurst Jazz festival with the Kirkwood Community College Big Band, and has also had success in online guitar competitions, placing 1st in one, and was a finalist in two others.
Performing over 200 shows a year, Travis can be seen in a multitude of musical settings, including musical theater, jazz, and pop country. Travis was one of the founding members of the Atlantis Quartet. Their first record, Again Too Soon, received strong reviews on both the local and national level. As an educator, Travis has been teaching bass for over twelve years and has written his own method book, Bassic Training. Since joining the McNally Smith faculty, Travis has helped develop several programs, including a slap bass course, and a master class series, which have included such artists as Bryan Beller and Gary Willis.
Peter began playing piano and drums at the age of eight. The music collection of his older brother, which included records by artists like B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Jimmy Hendrix, and the Beatles, provided his earliest rock influences. By the age of twelve he was playing boogie-woogie and blues piano, while singing with his older brother’s blues band. After sitting in on vocals, keyboards and drums with bands throughout his teens, Peter’s first professional gig was with the New Psychenauts.
He went on to be lead singer for the Swingin’ Combo; both bands were part of the early MPLS rock scene that launched the Replacements and Husker Du. It was about this time that he played his first professional rock gigs on keyboard, most notably with Hammond organ with blues harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite at the Blue Max on Maui. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant and a scholarship to the Banff Arts Centre. Peter has also studied classical piano with James D. Johnson and Gary Kirkpatrick of the Verdehr Trio. He studied jazz piano with Brazilian pianist Manfredo Fest, Jim McNeely and Memphis born Harold Mabern.
Over the years Peter has either toured, performed or recorded with, among others, Iffy, Likehell, Art Farmer, Tom Harrell, Fareed Haque, Mark Murphy (co-produced “The Latin Porter” for Ben Sidran’s Go Jazz label, Julee Cruise of “Twin Peaks”, El Buho, Jeff Sipe, Victor Wooten, Estaire Godinez, Rita Coolidge and many more. Most recently, Peter has recorded a live concert with saxophonist Jerry Bergonzie that will be released on DVD as well as collaboration with Marcos Casal to be released on the label Universal Spain. He is also singing, playing and composing for his own new solo project that is currently in production.
David Schmalenberger has recently performed with Pooch’s Playhouse (jazz quintet), the Are You Experienced? Hendrix ensemble, the Laura Caviani trio, Alma Brasileira, the Jazz Imports, jazz vocalists Debbie Duncan, Judi Donaghy, Connie Evingson, Charmin Michelle, and Dennis Spears, Vocal Essence, the The Jesters (jazz quintet), and Synergy (a 10-piece dance band). Schmalenberger has also performed on drumset/percussion with SCHAG (jazz percussion duo with Dave Hagedorn), JazzMN Big Band, John Scofield, Conrad Herwig, Kevin Mahogany, Benny Weinbeck trio, Russ Peterson Big Band, Marvin Stamm, The BigTime Jazz Orchestra, the Cedar Avenue Big Band, Tim Ries, Larry Grenadier, Richard Davis, Steve Turre, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Cab Calloway, Rufus Reid, the Fifth Dimension, and The Mills Brothers; as well as productions at the Ordway and Children’s Theatre Company. David was a featured soloist and principal timpanist with both the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra (Duluth, MN) and the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra. He also toured with the Summit Brass Ensemble and the Intergalatic Contemporary Ensemble (I.C.E.).
David's articles "Ed Blackwell's African Influences" and "African Rhythm: Perceptions of a Westerner" were both published in the Percussive Notes periodical. His drumset composition,"I Remember,"is published by HoneyRock Music. David has presented scholarly papers and clinics for the Percussive Arts Society (PAS), Society for American Music (SAM), the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA), and the International Association of Jazz Education (IAJE).
He has studied the traditional music of Africa and the Diaspora for several years, including travels to Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Trinidad, and Brazil. Schmalenberger has recorded with Connie Evingson, the Joel Shapira quartet, Charmin Michelle, the Garth Alper trio, I.C.E., the Bigtime Jazz Orchestra, the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, Equilibrium, and SCHAG. He recently recorded the soundtrack for productions at the Ordway and the Children’s Theatre Company. David is also active as a clinician offering workshops in jazz, percussion, and world music. He has served as adjudicator/clinician for several jazz festivals including those in Eau Claire, WI, Mankato, MN, Lamberton, MN, Roseville, MN, and Greeley, Colorado.
Schmalenberger received his DMA in Percussion Performance and World Music from West Virginia University, Master of Music Degree in Orchestral Percussion from the University of Michigan, and Bachelors Degree in Jazz Studies from Capital University.
David endorses Paiste cymbals.
Kevin is a musicologist, writer, editor, DJ, and composer living in the city of West Saint Paul, MN. He received a PhD in musicology from the University of Minnesota in 2010. He also holds an MM in composition from the University of Massachusetts—Amherst and a BA in music and English from Hamline University. His research focuses on expressions and transformations of race, gender, and sexuality in contemporary popular culture. Specifically, he has written and published works exploring reparative and revisionist perspectives on traditional and "classical" cultural histories, as well as convolutions of "authentic" and "synthetic" musical identities, as enacted by pop, rock, and hip hop songwriters and performers. His research and writing has ranged from approaches to independent queer punk to transformations of drag house culture to uses of the Western art music canon in the work of contemporary alternative and art folk musicians, as well as the role of disability studies in music scholarship. He is currently writing a memoir exploring the contradictions and frustrations of being a gay club and wedding DJ in an era of politicization of same sex relationships.
Kevin has taught music history, composition, music theory, writing, and cultural studies in a variety of roles in a variety of institutions, including Saint Catherine University, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Saint Thomas. In addition to teaching music history and cultural studies, he is an academic editor at Walden University, working with PhD, EdD, and DBA candidates as they compose their capstone projects.
Thomas Scott has over 20 years experience as a composer and musician working in film and television. He was awarded a Bush Composer Fellowship (2009), a McKnight Composer Fellowship (2005) and was 1 of 12 international composers selected to participate in the ASCAP Hollywood Filmscoring Workshop (2003).
He has composed for and conducted orchestral recording sessions with the Hollywood Studio Symphony, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Slovak National Symphony Orchestra, and FAMES Macedonia Radio Symphony.
In his first national advertising campaign he composed the theme for the Apple iBook (1999) a jingle which was selected by Steve Jobs for being ‘simple and elegant.’ As a film composer he has written and recorded in Minneapolis and Los Angeles for feature films featuring Ryan Gosling, Ewan MacGregor, Naomi Watts and Will Ferrell. In 2014 he scored the Rihanna promotional film (‘Half of Me’) with NYC producer Fafu.
Dr. Leah Siltberg is an active and sought-after pianist within many musical contexts. Leah holds a D.M.A. and M.M. degree in Collaborative Piano from the University of Minnesota. Previously on faculty at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, Siltberg performed in the 2010 Mozart and Chopin festivals in Ramallah and in chamber concerts throughout the West Bank and Occupied Golan Heights. A native of Minneapolis, she has recorded for the James Sewell Ballet, appeared on Minnesota Public Radio, and with St. Paul’s Schubert Club. A champion of new music, Leah recently premiered a trio for piano, cello, and vibraphone at the White House Conference on the Americas and performed a new work for piano and tape at the American Composers’ Forum. Although Leah most often performs as a collaborative pianist, she has performed both solo and collaborative recitals in North and South America, the Middle East, and New Zealand.
David Singley is a professional guitarist who has shared the stage with such jazz luminaries as Bob Brookmeyer, George Shearing, James Moody, Bob Mintzer, Phil Woods, Ernestine Anderson, Paquito d'Rivera, Bob Florence, Tal Farlow, and Buddy DeFranco. His work as a professional guitarist has also taken him across North America appearing with Perry Como, Debbie Gibson, Gene Pitney, Mary Wells, Debbie Reynolds, Shari Lewis & Lambchop, and many others. He has worked in the orchestra pit of many a touring Broadway musical including, most notably, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Donny Osmond, The Lion King, Chicago, and Sweet Charity. He has also performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera, and has appeared on National Public Radio's A Prairie Home Companion. His playing has graced countless commercial jingles, and he has appeared on over a dozen jazz recordings produced in the Twin Cities, including his debut recording as a leader, How My Heart Sings. David is also a published composer and arranger with pieces for Jazz Ensemble available in the catalogs of the Neil A. Kjos Music Co., Increase Music, and reallygoodmusic.com.
David Singley also holds the position of Lecturer of Music at Carleton College in Northfield, MN where he teaches Jazz Guitar and Jazz Improvisation and also directs the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combos. When he’s not making music, David is also an avid long-distance runner.
Justin Staggs is an award-winning filmmaker with several dozen music videos to his credit, including many major label clients such as the Foo Fighters, Against Me!, and NOFX. In 2005, Justin's 30-second P.S.A. on Youth AIDS Awareness won a prestigious Platinum Award at World Fest, and in early 2009 Justin received a "Keeper Award" from Metro Magazine for his local video work and was featured in the January issue.
In addition to his expertise as a seasoned video producer and director, Justin is also a professional video editor, colorist, animator, and graphic designer. These various professional skillsets and experiences culminate in the material he is passionate about sharing with his students.
David is an in-demand and versatile drummer/educator who has performed globally with a truly eclectic array of artists including Sheryl Crow, George Clinton, Richard Davis, Freedy Johnston, Jack McDuff, the Minnesota Orchestra, New Kids on the Block, Regis Philbin, Bonnie Raitt, Don Rickles, Doc Severinsen, Ben Sidran, Butch Vig, and the Supremes' Mary Wilson.
Locally, David regularly performs with over half-a-dozen ensembles and does freelance studio work. His 2005 recording, Day & Age, co-produced with Triplicate, a trio he spent over ten years with as a member, received a review from DRUM! Magazine stating, "Frankly, these guys are so good that it's intimidating."
A former student of Max Roach, Alan Dawson, Elliot Fine, Jeff Hamilton and Chad Wackerman, David is a contributing author to Modern Drummer magazine and, in 2012, was named a member of that magazine’s first-ever Educational Team. He is also a member of the Vic Firth Educational Artist Program, the Hudson Music Teacher Integration Program, and hosts a "Chef Corner" giving professional tips and advice at DrummerCafe.com. As a sought-after clinician, David regularly presents masterclasses at events including the 2010 Percussive Arts Society International Convention and 2012 NAMM Show.
As an author, his drumset method book, Mastering the Tables of Time, Vol. I, was released to instant critical acclaim in 2008, was voted "Winner: #1 Educational Book" in the Modern Drummer 2009 Readers Poll, and is distributed worldwide by Alfred Music Publishing.
David proudly endorses the fine instruments and accessories produced by Yamaha Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks and Hansenfutz Tools for Drummers.
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Bobby Stanton has been featured on NPR (National Public Radio) shows Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” and Dave Brubeck’s music in “A Welcome Home Christmas.” He's contributed articles in several international music publications including Guitar Player Magazine. He's also toured with ABBA’s “Mamma Mia" and orchestrated two musicals in New York and worked as a music consultant on one.
Other teaching experience: Berklee College of Music, Boston.
Awards and Honors:
- Awarded the first ever “Ovation” Award, presented by Bill Leavitt and Gary Burton.
- He has won songwriting awards from BMI and ASCAP.
Memberships: Twin Cities Musicians Union.
Bobby's album “ A Classic Guitar Christmas” sold well all over the world. He just finished a cast album for a Broadway musical about the OK Corral called “Sundown” and is working on online music lessons, and a new book on Fingerstyle guitar.
Some of the people Bobby’s played with include James Taylor, Garrison Keillor, Mark O’Connor, Richie Havens, Gillian Welch, Greg Leisz, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Mollie O’Brien, Robin and Linda Williams, Peter Ostroushko, Trini Lopez, Del Shannon, The Shirellas, and Bo Diddley.
Susan H. Stephan is an experienced attorney who focuses on legal challenges involving intellectual property, e-commerce and the Internet, business contracts, insurance issues and general corporate legal consulting. She has represented and advised musicians and other artists since 1992. In addition to her law practice, Susan has taught as adjunct law school faculty since 2001. She also is a past Chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Art & Entertainment Law Section and has been active in the MSBA's Antitrust and Computer & Technology sections, as well as the Cyberspace Law Committee of the American Bar Association. Susan is a 1992 graduate of Hamline University School of Law. She received her M.A. from New York University and her B.S. in Communications from Northwestern University.
Paul Stueber is a respected musician in the Twin Cities area. He has performed with many local artists, playing a wide variety of styles. Paul has performed with Kanda Bongo Man (International Soukous Recording Artist), Samba Mapangala, Ragga Dee, Halima and Roy Kapale (African recording artists), Lorraine Klaasen (Canadian Recording Artist), Phyllis Diller, and Synergy. He has traveled throughout the United States and Puerto Rico performing for major corporate events (Toyota, Mobil Oil, All State Insurance, Motorola, and American Express).
Stueber has also played for the productions "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" He's performed as a studio musician for Hal Leonard Publishing, Jensen Publishing, Milwaukee Public Television, Tri City National Banks, Super Valu, Imperial Eastman, United Way, and many local and regional artists. Stueber has studied with Joe Porcaro, Chuck Flores, Gary Hess, Steve Houghton, Ralph Humphrey, Ed Roscetti, and Effrian Toro. He was an instructor for four years at Musician's Institute (Hollywood, CA), where he also earned the Drummer of the Year Award.
Ashly Suhreptz was first introduced to the music business by watching her family operate a music venue, Antenna, in Memphis, TN. As a teen, Ashly provided booking, promotion, and accommodation functions for bands in the local D.I.Y. punk rock, hardcore, and electronic scenes of Florida and Tennessee. More recently she has been a consultant for small music business entrepreneurs. Ashly has augmented her experience in music business by obtaining Bachelors in Music Business from the University of Memphis and a Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law.
Department Head, Keyboard
Sean Turner’s compositions and orchestrations have been utilized by Sony, Oprah Winfrey, Lifetime Network, Discovery Channel, American Express, Target, Chicken Soup For The Soul, and he has been a featured artist for Getty Images among many others. He has authored two instructional texts and written and produced three albums — one of which received a “Parent’s Choice Award” for children’s music.
Turner began his professional music career performing as a vocal soloist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Metropolitan Opera soprano Lucy Shelton in the world premier of twentieth century composer George Crumb’s “Ancient Voices of Children.” He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance from Arizona State University and was awarded a Jazz Study Grant from the National Endowment For The Arts to study in New York with JoAnne Brackeen.
Maria Vejdani has studied, coached, and performed a variety of musical styles. By fusing her love of classical, jazz, global and electronic music, Maria is creating a unique voice in the Twin Cities music scene. Maria holds a BA in Vocal Music Education from Luther College in Decorah, IA and recently completed her MM in Vocal Performance at McNally Smith College of Music. During her undergraduate career she sang in the world renowned Luther College Nordic Choir under the direction of Craig Arnold. As a graduate student, Maria was a member and Assistant Director of the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, member of the World Vocal Ensemble, Associate Director of the MSCM Chorus and served as the Voice Department Teaching Assistant.
Maria is an active member of the Minnesota choral community. She is a frequent presenter, clinician, and adjudicator, most recently at the MMEA Winter Conference (2015), Perpich Center for Arts Education (2015), and the McNally Smith Vocal Jazz Festival (2015 & 2016). She currently serves as Adjunct Voice Faculty and Executive Director of the MSCM Chorus. Maria performs regularly in the Twin Cities with guitarist, Tomás Simpson, in their jazz duo, Tempestad. She is currently working on a solo EP.
Judi has worked in opera, musical theater, jazz, folk, country, gospel, pop, and R&B. She currently works with Voicestra (Bobby McFerrin), Urbanstride, the Girls, the Wolverine's Classic Jazz Orchestra, JazzMN Big Band, and Judi, Cliff 'n' Daves. She has also worked with Yo Yo Ma, Carole King, Janis Siegel, Rhiannon, Garrison Keillor, Marilyn McCoo, the Plymouth Ensemble, Metro Jam, Northrop Opera, Mixed Blood Theater, Cricket Theater, and Moore by Four. Other credits include award-winning singer/songwriter (JAZZIZ Magazine), on-air talent, jingle singer/writer/producer, and vocal jazz clinician. Judi has sung on more than 30 CDs to date, two of which are her own productions: “Sink or Swing”, and “Ballads and Bossas.” Judi has given vocal master classes and clinics with Bobby McFerrin at the Omega Institute and the Stimmen Voice Festival in Basel, Switzerland. She recently completed her 4th European tour with Voicestra.
Steve Wagner has instructed numerous courses in the area of taxation, including courses for the Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, the Minnesota Society of CPA’s, The AICPA, The Minnesota Tax Institute, Seminar Professionals, Inc., Minnesota Bankers Association, Construction Management Association and the Association of General Contractors.Steve was named Super CPA by Minnesota Law & Politics and Twin Cities Business Monthly.
In addition to his 20 year career in accounting and finance, Steve studied Trumpet, Jazz Performance and Music Education at North Texas State University, and has performed internationally with such artists as Burt Bacherach, Doc Severinson, and Johnny Mathis to name a few.
Formal Education: B.S. Business, University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management
Kevin’s stellar skills have been featured in Modern Drummer Magazine, however his dedication to drumming began as soon as he could hold the sticks. And with teachers of such excellent caliber like Max Roach and Roy Brooks, it was almost impossible for him to go wrong.
In 1996 Washington moved to New York City to study jazz at the New School for Social Research. He performed all over New York with different musical groups such as The Chico Freeman Quartet, Arnie Lawrence, Antonio Hart and James Carter to name a few. During his stay in New York he was also a Rhythm Instructor at the Harlem School of the Arts.
Since leaving New York, Washington has been traversing the Twin Cities area with his highly sought after drum performance skills. Washington has accompanied various visiting musicians, such as Brian Lynch, Steve Slagle and Dave Stryker, David ‘Fat Head’ Newman, Rodney Jones and James Carter.
He is the lead drummer with The Kevin Washington trio and Moveable Feast; who released their second CD in 2002 and are in the process of recording their third. He can also be found playing with other great musicians such as Cuban pianist Nachito Herrera, the incomparable members of Jazz is NOW! and vocalist Bruce Henry.
In July 2003, Kevin, along with the Doug Little Quartet, embarked upon a month long European tour that covered locations including Germany, France, and Italy. In April 2006, Kevin accompanied Afro-Peruvian guitarist Andres Prado to Lima, Peru and performed at various music venues during a 10-day tour.
Kevin is currently working on his solo CD project that will include many of the top musicians in Minneapolis.
Associate Dean of Assessment and Accreditation | Department Head, Liberal Arts
Janis Weller serves as the associate dean of assessment and accreditation and heads the Liberal Arts Department of McNally Smith College of Music, in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she also teaches the capstone course, Creating a Life in Music, and woodwinds. With several colleagues from around the world, she is co-author of a book called Life in the Real World: Making Music Graduates Employable, published by Common Grounds Press (2013). She has developed and taught innovative courses in career development and music business at the University of Minnesota, Augsburg College, and the University of St. Thomas; and flute at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and MacPhail Center for Music, where she is a former dean of individual and group instruction.
Active with the International Society for Music Education, Dr. Weller served as Chair of the Commission for the Education of the Professional Musician organizing the 2012 CEPROM Seminar in Athens, Greece for participants from twelve countries. As part of CEPROM/ISME, she has presented workshops and papers internationally in Spain, Vietnam, U.K., Italy, China, Greece, and Brazil. In the U.S., she has presented at conferences and meetings of the College Music Society, Association for Popular Music Education, Minnesota Music Educators Association, National Careers Conference, Minnesota Career Development Association, National Flute Association and others.
Dr. Weller specializes in artist career development, assessment in higher education, curricular design, and the role of a liberal arts education for professional artists. As a flutist, Dr. Weller has premiered more than 100 new works ranging from traditionally notated pieces to graphic notation and sculptural scores. She performs with Improvestra, the Crocus Hill Trio, and freelances in the Twin Cities.
Teresa (Terri) Whitman writes poetry, stories, and essays. Her work has been published in the anthologies Mixed Voices: Contemporary Poems about Music, Two Words Walking, Looking for Home, and in numerous journals including Mizna, Water~Stone Review, and Mid-American Review. As winner of the 2012 Cambria Eisteddfod Poetry Competition, she was chaired as bard of Blue Earth County.
She has been awarded Minnesota State Arts Board grants in fiction and in poetry, a Jane Kenyon poetry prize, a Loft-McKnight Award, a Loft Creative Nonfiction Award, an AWP Intro Award, a Loft Mentor Series Award, and an Academy of American Poets Award. She earned her M.F.A in Writing from the University of Minnesota and her B.A. in English from Williams College.
Interested in the creative practices shared by musicians, writers, and other artists, Terri believes in the power of the arts to transform consciousness and therefore lives. She has taught writing and literature courses at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas. She has also co-owned a bakery, given tours at the Walker Arts Center, managed a darkroom, and edited legal journals for Butterworth Legal Publishers.
At McNally Smith College of Music, Terri teaches Creative Writing, Writing about Music, and Music Research and Bibliography. She is the faculty adviser to Composed: The Literary Journal of McNally Smith College of Music.
Department Head, Brass & Woodwinds
Pete has spent over 25 years teaching and playing professionally as a saxophonist, flutist, and clarinetist. He has toured the U.S., Japan, and Brazil with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and has also performed with such distinguished ensembles and musicians as the Minnesota Orchestra, Jack McDuff, Curtis Fuller, the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Jazz MN Big Band, JAZZAX saxophone quartet, Andres Prado and Laura Caviani. Whitman has also recorded extensively as a sideman and has three CD’s out under his name: “Departure Point” (Igmod Records) “The Sound of Water” (Artegra) and "Where’s When" (Artegra). His latest CD, “Where’s When” features the X-tet, a ten-piece ensemble led by Whitman, and received a four star rating by DownBeat Magazine (Feb.04).
For more about Pete Whitman, go to www.petewhitman.com.
David Wiens graduated from the Conservatory at the University of Missouri, Kansas City with a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance. He then began freelance session work as a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, and producer until he was hired as the Chief Engineer/Producer at Forerunner Music, a small ministry related record label in Kansas City, where he recorded and produced over twenty albums. Along with teaching at the McNally Smith College of music, David still works independently as a producer and recording engineer, and enjoys making music on his Chapman Stick.
Program Coordinator, Hip-Hop Department
Toki Wright is a Twin Cities based emcee, poet, and community organizer. He is the newest artist on Rhymesayers Entertainment. Wright has been featured on recordings by Atmosphere, C-Rayz Walz. P.O.S., and more. His performance credits include Scribble Jam, SXSW, Coachella, Bumbershoot, Sons d’Hiver, and Prairie Home Companion. Wright tours throughout the United States and Canada as an opening act and hype man for Brother Ali, and is a member of the groups The C.O.R.E. and The Chosen Few.
As a community organizer, Toki has led the nationally recognized youth organization YO! The Movement (featured in The Source magazine), coordinated seven Twin Cities Celebration of Hip-Hop Festivals, and taught Hip-Hop history and performance to former child soldiers in Gulu, Northern Uganda with the organization H.E.A.L.S.
Toki’s many awards include winner of the Twin Cities Hip-Hop Award in 2007, Artist of the Year (KMOJ Radio) in 2006, in 2003 he was Artist of the Year (Star Tribune), a Minnesota Music Award Nominee for Best Hip-Hop Recording, and landed in the Top 10 Albums of the Year (Star Tribune). He has appeared as a Coach on MTV Made. Two of his songs with the group The C.O.R.E. are featured in the film “Justice” which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
Arranging Courses Program Director
Israeli-born composer, arranger and pianist Adi Yeshaya is internationally renowned for his arranging and orchestration work. His recording credentials include some of the world’s top artists, such as Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne, Burt Bacharach and Roberta Flack. He has also arranged music for live performances by Whitney Houston, Donny Osmond, Michael Bolton, Jack McDuff, Doc Severinsen, The Minnesota Orchestra and The Milwaukee Symphony. In the Twin Cities music scene, Yeshaya is active as a jazz pianist and arranger and has produced many recording projects, including releases by Debbie Duncan, Bruce Henry, Prudence Johnson, Irv Williams, Beth Yeshaya, Cookie Coleman, Lifescapes, as well as the Adi Yeshaya Big Band.
Yeshaya has a special passion for music education. His 20 years experience in teaching include four years as an associate professor of contemporary writing and production at Berklee College of Music in Boston, three years of instruction at The University Of Minnesota School Of Music and thirteen years at McNally Smith.
Aaron C. Young is a 1997 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a Bachelors of Arts in History, a 2001 Juris Doctor graduate of Marquette University Law School, and a 2003 Master of Laws graduate of Southwestern Law School, specializing in Entertainment & Media Law.
While attending law school, Mr. Young was a member of the Marquette Sports Law Review. Mr. Young is also the first Attorney to hold both a Certificate of Sports Law from the National Sports Law Institute and a Master of Laws in Entertainment & Media Law.
Since graduating from law school, Mr. Young has practiced almost exclusively in the fields of Advertising Law, Business Law, Computer Law, Entertainment Law, Intellectual Property Law, Media Law and Sports Law. He has counseled, represented, and/or negotiated, on the behalf of clients, with companies such as Activision, Converse, Steve & Barry’s, Finish Line, Zazzle.com, ROSFORTH Productions, Danish Broadcast Corporation, Sub-Pop Records, New Folk Records, Grateful Dead Enterprises, Wireless Ronin Technologies and many others.
As an Entertainment Attorney, Mr. Young’s clients include Professional Athletes, Independent Film Makers, Authors, Graffiti Artists, Recording Artists, Producers, and Musicians. Mr. Young is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at William Mitchell College of Law, teaching Client Representation.
Mr. Young is a member of the State Bar of Minnesota and the State Bar of Wisconsin, a member of American Bar Association’s Entertainment & Sports Law Section, a member of the Sports Law Alumni Association of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University Law School, and a former Pro Bono Mediator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Jay Young is one of the Twin Cities' 'first call' bassists. He is a freelance performer and educator involved in a vast array of projects, working with national and international artists. He has performed at the Guthrie Theater, Ordway Center, Illusion, and Penumbra Theatre. Jay has also been a featured performer at the Lincoln Center, Juilliard School, Boston Symphony Hall, The Blue Note, Umbra (Italy), Espoo (Finland), and Tejo (Portugal). He has shared the stage with Ray Brown, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, T.S. Monk, Grover Washington Jr., Dave Brubeck, Ron Carter, Buster Williams, Bobby Lyle, Eddie Daniels, the Minnesota Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Phil Upchurch, Jennifer Holiday, Harry Connick Jr., Jay Leno, Paul Bollenbeck, Reverend Al Green, Bobby McFerrin, Jefferson Starship, Carole King, and Ray Charles, Kevin Mahogany, Joe Lovano, Ernie Watts, Tim Ries, Sony Holland,
Marvin "Smitty" Smith, and many others.
$12,870 per semester for full-time attendance (13-17 credits)
- Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree: 60 credits
- Diploma: 45 credits
$990 per credit for part-time attendance More info »
On average, more than $1 million in College-funded aid is awarded annually in the form of merit-based scholarships and need-based grants. More than 85% of our students receive financial assistance to help cover their educational costs.
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McNally Smith College of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). More info »