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Gary Rue Inducted Into Mid-America Music Hall of Fame

On September 17th, Gary Rue, a career Music Composition instructor at McNally Smith College of Music and his first band, The Sensational Sleepers, was inducted into the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame (formerly the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame). Rue and his Sleepers include Steve (Tilly) Thielges (drums), Mike Burt (bass), Dennis Morgan (guitar and vocals) and Randy Drager (keyboards), Rue started his music career when his first band was formed when he was a teenager in southwestern Minnesota around the Tracy and Marshall area during the ‘60s. Like many bands of the period until the British Invasion, the Sleepers played a variety of R&B covers. That first musical episode was just the first of many subsequent adventures for the songsmith, band leader and multi-instrumentalist, whose “Rose of England” song has been covered by Nick Lowe. Rue has also written more than 75 theater musicals and is a composer-in-residence at SteppingStone Theatre of St Paul. He also served from 1986 as conductor and arranger in North America for ‘60’s pop star Gene Pitney and his 15 piece orchestra (“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” “Town Without Pity” and many more) until Mr. Pitney’s death in 2006. Last winter, Rue and an orchestra featuring many of the music college’s faculty and current students performed a hot retrospective set of Pitney’s hits in the McNally Smith Auditorium. The longtime bandleader shared fond and funny anecdotes about his former boss and the pop legend who still has many fans around the world. (Story by Martin Keller). More information at