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McNally Smith College Students Collaborate with African AIDS Orphan-Students on Album

The songs sung by Tanzanian high school students — most of whom are AIDS orphans — and the instrumental, techno-creativity, production expertise and World Vocal Ensemble of McNally Smith College of Music are coming together on a new Re-Mix CD and a special event this month to help raise money for the African School, Peace House (, a non-profit organization based in the Twin Cities.

The project is led by McNally Smith 2009 graduate Christopher “Max” Corcoran (BM Music Performance – Brass), Tupo Pamoja (We Are All Together) features songs from the Peace House students remixed in a variety of styles and produced as a new album with help from the music college’s faculty and students, including Chris Cunningham (Music Composition) and Rob Schlette (Music Engineering).

Vocal instructor, Peggy Larson, will lead the school’s World Vocal Ensemble in singing songs from the new CD during the 2010 “Colors of Hope Gala” November 13 at the downtown Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul, with KARE-TV’s Karla Hult. For more information on the event, visit, or call Peace House at: 952-465-0050.

“The album has various composers from McNally Smith and much of the music is electronica that heavily samples the Peace House students,” says Corcoran. “ The samples are taken from field recordings, consisting of students drumming, singing, and rapping. There are also some soundscapes that were created as well. “

“Since August, eight current McNally students, one music composition alumni, and fellow faculty members and I have been working on a remix CD to be released as a fundraising element for Peace House Africa,” notes Cunningham. “Peace House has established a unique secondary school in rural Tanzania that provides a very music- based education for orphans in the area, many of whom are orphaned by AIDS and civil wars. It’s an honor to work on such a project and the gala event with everyone involved. And I’m very proud of the students, alums and teachers who contributed to this project; we all hope it will help Peace House Africa in their efforts to educate and help kids learn about music.”

How The CD was Created
The CD was produced and edited by student remixers and Cunningham, and mastered by Schlette’s mastering class. “The McNally participants took a large folder of sound files created by the Tanzanian students at the Peace House school and turned them into dance mixes, ambient vignettes, and downright radio-friendly instrumental and vocal songs,” Cunningham adds. “Everyone’s contribution has been outstanding. The remix pieces show some of the best work so far from the composition students involved.“

• Hear a Track from the CD by clicking on this news story at the McNally Smith website:

About McNally Smith
Founded in 1985, McNally Smith College of Music is one of the top music and music business colleges in the country devoted to excellence in music industry higher education and in developing music industry professionals. An accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music, McNally Smith offers music degrees and programs in Music Performance, Recording Technology and Music Business. As of 2009, it is the only accredited music college to offer a diploma in Hip-Hop.

With more than 700 students and an 80-member faculty, McNally Smith students get a personalized music education that combines musical artistry and wide access to current music technology, research tools and performance facilities. Its diverse faculty includes Grammy® Award nominees, Hollywood film composers, Broadway veterans, players in Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” assorted Nashville Cats, best-selling Jazz men, authors, major label rockers, Billboard chart toppers, commissioned composers, accomplished producers and engineers who have worked with everyone from Atmosphere, Prince, Phil Collins and Aretha Franklin to Yanni, Paula Abdul, Dick Dale and countless other rockers, combos, orchestras, recording labels, and industry executives who care deeply about their art and the next generation of music makers. McNally Smith alumni are working all over the world.

For more information — or to interview McNally Smith staff about the project — please contact Martin Keller, Media Savant Communications Co., 612-729-8585,