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McNally Smith College of Music Releases New CD “7 Song Cycle” Featuring Original Work by Faculty

There’s no free lunch any more but there is a HOT new FREE CD (and sample downloads) for anybody who wants them from some of the leading recording artists in the Twin Cities area: 7 Song Cycle — featuring exclusive new recordings from Dessa and Jeremy Messersmith — plus jazz vocalist Judi Donaghy, guitarist Jerry Kosak, composer (and college President) Harry Chalmiers, Fiddler-Violinist Extraordinaire Randy Sabien, and composer Terry Burns.

Not only does 7 Song Cycle demonstrate the depth and breadth of just some of the working musicians at the college, it also showcases the recording, engineering, production and teaching expertise of well known — and in some cases, legendary — studio stalwarts such as Joe Mabbott, Andy Thompson and Chopper Black. All three worked with McNally students in recording, engineering, and mixing the record. The CD Release party will feature various members from the new album performing during and with Judi Donaghy’s “Live at Five” gig in the music college’s Auditorium (19 Exchange Street East, St. Paul, 55101,

Free copies of the disc will be available at the show (see schedule of events below), with sample downloads online at the school’s website. Also look for it and ask for it by name FREE at local indie record stores and be listening to your favorite local music stations for giveaways as well.

7 Song Cycle is simply a compelling original mixture of contemporary pop music and conventional jazz and classical pieces that rival anything currently available commercially,” says Cliff Wittstruck, Dean of Academic Affairs. “It’s an outstanding showcase of the talent that we have on staff, whom many in the broader community know as high-ranking artists in their own right from the concert, recording and broadcast arenas. And it’s a five-star audio triumph for our students and their teachers, too, who seamlessly delivered these performances from the studio to the finished product. We hope the public will enjoy its diverse styles and world-class artistry.”

Select Highlights, Track Listings and Schedule of Events

Messersmith’s new track is called “Valentine’s Day on 35th and Bryant” while Dessa’s song, co-written with fellow faculty colleague and Heiruspecs band leader, Sean McPherson, is titled “Figure 8’s.” Both made several Minnesota Best Of lists in 2010 for previous full-length work.

Dessa’s Badly Broken Code placed at #2 on the Twin Cities Critics Tally in the Star Tribune, as well as #20 on the A.V. Club’s Best Music of 2010. Messersmith’s The Reluctant Graveyard got favorable reviews from the Star Tribune, City Pages, and NPR’s All Songs Considered, and a featured performance at The Current’s 6th Birthday Party recently. In addition to being the Twin Cities Critics Tally’s #1 album, The Reluctant Graveyard placed at #4 on NPR’s Stephen Thompson’s Top 10 Albums of 2010.

Track Listing

  1. Make It Home — Judi Donaghy
  2. Valentine’s Day on 35th and Bryant — Jeremy Messersmith
  3. Figure 8’s — Dessa
  4. Yossarian’s Dream — Jerry Kosak
  5. Something I Want — Harry Chalmiers
  6. High on Love — Randy Sabien (with Judi Donaghy)
  7. String Quintet in ‘C’ — Terry Burns

Schedule of Events

  • 5 p.m. – Appetizers and student performances (McNally Smith Atrium)
  • 6 p.m. – Live at Five with featured artist, Judi Donaghy (McNally Smith Auditorium)
  • 7:15 p.m. – Dessert and Coffee Service, and live performances of tracks from 7 Song Cycle (McNally Smith Atrium)

All guests will receive a free copy of the newly released album!