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Minnesota musicians and organizations like McNally Smith join forces to help revitalize music and art education for students in Minnesota public schools

The Beatles have again graced all the major magazine covers and lead many news broadcasts around the world this season with the release of the video game, The Beatles™: Rock Band™. Now a host of sponsors and Minnesota musicians are hoping the Fab Four’s magic will also help fund art and music programs in public schools.

Vega Productions and 89.3 The Current, McNally Smith College of Music and other organizations are proud to announce the release of The Minnesota Beatle Project Volume I.

The Minnesota Beatle Project Volume I features esteemed Minnesota-born-or-based musicians performing original compositions of their favorite Beatle tracks — including McNally Smith Faculty member Jeremy Messersmith (“Norwegian Wood”) and the music school’s Organizational Development VP, Chris Osgood’s band, The Suicide Commandos (“Slow Down”).

The album also features the 80-piece Anthony Middle School Concert Band (a 2009 Vega recipient of 30+ instruments) as well as album artwork created by students in the Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools. 100% of net proceeds from The Minnesota Beatle Project Volume I will be used to rebuild and enhance music and art education for children in Minnesota public schools.

Vega Productions has also partnered with the MMEA (Minnesota Music Educators Association) and the AEM (Art Educators of Minnesota) to help distribute Minnesota Beatle Project funds equitably across the entire state of MN. Grant applications for Minnesota Beatle Project funds will be available through the MMEA and AEM websites in the coming months. The first grants will be awarded to schools beginning in the spring of 2010.

The McNally Smith Technology department was highly instrumental in helping this project come to fruition, from providing a remote crew and equipment for the recording at the Anthony Middle School to recording in studio with distinguished faculty and upcoming students in the department. Thomas Day and Bryan Forrester (Faculty) worked with music technology student Veronica Rodriguez on the live recording at the school, and the song was also mixed by Rodriguez. The studio recording session with the Casablanca Orchestra featured the legendary Chopper Black (Faculty, head engineer), Mixing Engineer Dan Jensen (Record Lab staff ) and Assistant Engineer Aaron Hodgson, another student in the program. John Foecking (Record Lab staff) engineered an overdub session to record sax and vocals for Ronny Loew’s recording of “Come Together”. The CD was mastered by Rob Schlette (Faculty and chief mastering engineer and owner of Anthem Mastering).
CD Release Party at First Avenue at 30th Anniversary CurtiSS A Tribute to John Lennon

A CD release party will take place on Tuesday, December 8th in conjunction with “The 30th Anniversary CurtiSS A Tribute to John Lennon” at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Selected artists from the album will perform their Minnesota Beatle Project tracks and albums will be available for purchase. Tickets for the CD release party are available at or at the First Avenue box office.

The album will be widely released on December 8th, 2009 and will be available at record stores throughout Minnesota, all Schmitt Music locations and online through iTunes,, Rhapsody and CD Baby.

Complete track listing:

Nicholas “The Feelin” Mrozinski – “Across the Universe”
Jeremy Messersmith & Zach Coulter(Solid Gold) – “Norwegian Wood”
Heatbox – “Octopus’s Garden”
Roma Di Luna – “I Will”
Tim Mahoney – “We Can Work It Out”
Mark Mallman – “Fool On The Hill”
The Pachyderm All-Stars – “Eleanor Rigby”
Dave Simonett (Trampled by Turtles) & Friends – “Two Of Us”
The Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins – “I’ve Just Seen A Face”
Romantica – “Something”
Lucy Michelle & The Velvet Lapelles – “Sexy Sadie”
The Ronny Loew Band – “Come Together”
Casablanca Orchestra – “Drive My Car/The Word/What You’re Doing”
Ice Palace – “Strawberry Fields”
The Suicide Commandos – “Slow Down”
Anthony Middle School Concert Band – “Sgt. Pepper’s Medley”

Vega Productions, Inc., was founded in March of 2005 and is a registered 501c(3) non-profit organization. Vega produces concerts, music festivals, art events and CDs with proceeds being used to provide the resources needed to ensure that all students are exposed to quality music and art education. Over $80,000.00 worth of musical instruments and art supplies have been donated so far in 2009.

The Minnesota Beatle Project Volume I is being presented with the help from the following partners:
89.3 The Current, McNally Smith College of Music, City Pages, Schmitt Music, Copycats Media, Underground Printing, MCAD, CD Baby, Pachyderm Studio, Swap Meat Studios, Humans Win! Studio, John Herchert Studio, Anthem Mastering, artist Chuck U, artist Justin Schraff, artist Aaron Eckstein, web developer Matt Peters Pictura Graphics, MMEA and AEM.