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McNally Smith: Best of 2012 Now Available,
CW Documentary Airing Thanksgiving Weekend

In what is swiftly becoming a storied year-end tradition, McNally Smith is proud to release its second annual “Best Of” compilation, showcasing the leading contemporary music college’s finest student-created work of 2012. Available to the public on Tuesday, November 13th, McNally Smith: Best of 2012 spotlights 10 tracks of original material, all recorded and mixed in the school’s expansive professional studio complex. Music is available for free download at, while free CDs can be found at record stores and music establishments all over the Twin Cities, including Electric Fetus, Cheapo, Down In The Valley, Eclipse Records, Amsterdam Bar and Hall, and more.

Response to last year’s Best Of 2011 was overwhelmingly positive, with local music authority Andrea Swennson (now with 89.3 The Current, then with the City PagesGimmie Noise) writing: “A few things become clear while spinning this new compilation from the McNally Smith College of Music: They have some incredibly talented students, they have high-quality recording equipment at their disposal, and their latest crop of performers are churning out work from every end of the musical spectrum.”

This testament to the quality and versatility of McNally Smith’s students clearly carries over on Best Of 2012. The maturity of the material belies its creators’ ages and there’s truly something for all music fans of all genres. Colin Schwanke’s Black Eyed Peas-esque “Summer Nights,” promises to be a party favorite for years to come. Budding singer/songwriter Kara Laudon’s bittersweet pop gem “Take You Seriously” would sound right at home in heavy rotation at Cities 97. Ryan Horton’s digital instrumental “Wandering Light” recalls the gorgeously stark atmospheric soundscapes of Sigur Ros or Kid A-era Radiohead. And that’s merely scratching the surface…

“In today’s current academic setting, it’s still painfully rare that music students get to focus on the music of the people—contemporary, commercial music,” says co-producer and vocal performance faculty member Judi Vinar. “Such popular styles are driven by our youth, so listeners of McNally Smith: Best of 2012 should enjoy and take note—what they’re hearing is the future.”

The success of last year’s compilation piqued the interest of Network Television powerhouse The CW, who will be airing a documentary on the making of McNally Smith: Best of 2012 at 10:00 p.m. CST on Saturday, November 24th (over the ratings-heavy Thanksgiving weekend). Several interviews were captured with student participants before and after the contest, and many of the winners will share their experiences while re-visiting their music in McNally Smith’s studios. In addition, producers Vinar and Christopher Blood (Atmoshpere, Brother Ali) discuss all the hard work that went into this expansive project, as well as shed light on the ascending wunderkinds involved.

“Whether we are just attracting amazing students, or we’re turning them into these kinds of talents through our guidance (and I expect it’s a good mix of both), the fact remains that this recording is a powerful statement,” says McNally Smith President Harry Chalmiers. “I couldn’t be happier to celebrate this collection as the Best of 2012 from McNally Smith College of Music, and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to hear what we’ve been up to.”