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McNally Smith Composer Wins Ivey Award for “Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story”

McNally Smith Composition faculty member Gary Rue

McNally Smith Composition faculty member Gary Rue

It’s a matter of pride for Minnesotans that the Twin Cities are second only to New York in live theater per capita. Artists with their eyes on the stage — directors, actors, writers, musicians — thrive here, but it’s only been since 2004 that local, professional theater has had its own awards ceremony. And at the 7th Ivey Awards on Monday, September 19, the highlights of the 2010-11 Twin Cities theater season were recognized, including McNally Smith College of Music faculty member Gary Rue for his work with a recent production of “Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story.”

Rue has taught at McNally Smith since 2007 while remaining active as a performer and composer for theater. His win as musical director for “Buddy” is also his first Ivey Award. Rue credits four McNally Smith students and alumni with contributing toward the success of “Buddy” — Josh Bourdon (’10, bass), Zach Spicer (’10, drums), Brandon Petron (’10, guitar), and Nic DelCambre (’12, keyboards). The quartet, performing as Buddy Holly’s band, The Crickets, also sang back-up vocals to Nicholas Freeman’s Holly. “Buddy,” a collaboration between McNally Smith College of Music and the History Theatre, was staged this April and May, and featured in numerous local publications. In an interview with the University of Minnesota’s MN Daily shortly before the show’s opening, Rue promised “…we’re doing [‘The Buddy Holly Story’] right again this year.” His words rang true with the Ivey voters, who honored him at the awards ceremony.

The Ivey Award is the latest in a long series of accomplishments for Rue, a member of both the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame and, with his band, The Sensational Sleepers, the Mid-America Hall of Fame. In addition to his teaching position at McNally Smith, Rue also served as conductor and arranger for Gene Pitney’s 15-piece orchestra until 2006, and has often led the musical ensemble for the Curtiss A Tribute to John Lennon every December 8 at Minneapolis’ First Avenue. Congratulations to Gary Rue and the students involved with “Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story”! This collaboration between McNally Smith and the History Theatre proved to be a huge success, and there will undoubtedly be many more in the future.