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McNally Smith Helps Shape 4th Annual “Concrete and Grass” Music Fest Sept. 9-11 in Mears Park

That lovable free event is on again where Indie rock and traditional Salsa meet Chamber Music, where Opera butts up against Jazz and Hip-Hop, and this year’s “Concrete and Grass” festival features notable McNally Smith College of Music Faculty, Executive-level personnel, staff and alumni in the line-up and behind the scenes. (The music college is also a co-sponsor of the event.)

Taking place Sept 9 -11 in Mears Park in downtown St. Paul (between 5th & 6th Streets and Wacouta and N. Sibley), the Concrete and Grass Lowertown Music Festival is again is expected to attract thousands of music lovers of all ages and persuasions during its fourth annual year, celebrating and showcasing Minnesota’s finest music cultures and artists back-to-back (See schedule of events below).

Besides sets like those from the venerable 90-something Twin Cities’ Jazz legend, Irv Williams, local buzz band du jour, Communist Daughter, an-all acoustic stage, and a host of live gigs in nearby venues, Concrete and Grass shines a strong light on the McNally Smith front:

  • Dessa — The rising national artist whose breakout album, A Badly Broken Code (Doomtree Records), is destined to be on many Best Of Lists in 2010 and one of the college’s key Hip-Hop instructors in the country’s only Hip-Hop diploma program, takes the Main Stage Friday night (Sept. 10), right after the Irv Williams’ set. Dessa is also slated to be McNally Smith’s Artist in Residence this year.
  • Chris Osgood — The leader of Minnesota’s premier punk band, the Suicide Commandos, the VP of External Affairs at McNally Smith is a co-producer of Concrete and Grass, along with Joe Spencer from the office St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and Steve Heckler, producer of the popular Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

    Osgood will join band mates Steve Almaas and Dave Ahl Saturday night (Sept. 11). The Commandos’ debut disc, Make a Record was recently named by Premier Guitar as one of “10 First-Generation Punk Albums You Gotta Have” while The VP’s vintage ’52 Les Paul axe was also showcased. Watch for a special Commandos/Suburbs show at First Avenue in November for a real ‘80s blast.

  • Salsa Del Soul — The steamy Latin combo opening Saturday’s events at noon (Sept. 11) features two McNally Smith Faculty Shai Hayo (percussion) and Scott Agster (trombone), plus former McNally Smith student, Jose Pena (bass). They’ll set the dance pace before the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra changes course.
  • Eve & The Apple — McNally Smith’s own Katie Marshall (alumnus and currently working in the college’s Admissions office) on guitar and vocals with fellow players Renee Klitzke (Cello/Piano/Vox) and Richard Crowe (Drums) will hold forth on the Acoustic Stage, Saturday (September 11) at 1p.m.

Initiated by the Ordway’s Arts Partnership and Mayor Chris Coleman’s office in 2007, Concrete and Grass is rooted in Saint Paul’s vibrant and eclectic music scene and offers diverse programming for all ages. The 2010 festival will feature classical, indie rock, opera, hip-hop, jazz, punk rock and blues on the two stages in Mears Park.

The event also serves as the launch of the fall performance season of the Ordway, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera and the Schubert Club.



Main Stage

  • 5:00 to 6:00       Minnesota Opera
  • 6:30 to 7:30       Irv Williams
  • 8:30 to 10:00     Dessa

Acoustic Stage

  • ?6:00 to 6:30     Desdamona
  • 7:30 to 8:30       Molly Maher


Main Stage

  • 12:00 to 1:00     Salsa Del Soul, presented by the Ordway
  • 1:30 to 2:30       The Schubert Club presents performances from its 2010 Scholarship Competition
  • 4:00 to 5:00       Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra?
  • 6:30 to 7:30       Communist Daughter
  • 8:30 to 10:00     Suicide Commandos?

Acoustic Stage

  • 1:00 to 2:00       Eve & The Apple
  • 2:30 to 3:30       Tanner Taylor
  • 5:00 to 6:00       Moses Oakland
  • 7:30 to 8:30       Young Relics

Concrete and Grass is made possible through the generous support of the Lowertown Future Fund (LRC) of The Saint Paul Foundation and the Saint Paul STAR Program, and its sponsors, the Ordway Arts Partners, McNally Smith College of Music, The Lowertown Entertainment District (LED), Travelers, Flat Earth, City Pages, The Current and KSJN.?