The McNally Smith College of Music Stage at Republic in Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) Airport hosted its first live performance Friday, October 14 at a special Grand Opening that featured a few numbers by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and his group the MSP Messengers — including Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner and Suicide Commandos’ Chris Osgood (also McNally Smith Vice President of Community Relations). The event kicked off with a performance by McNally Smith students Kavyesh Kavira and Nathan Mason, and culminated with a set by acclaimed jazz duo (and McNally Smith alums) Solomon Parham and Spencer Christenson.
Taking a cue from Nashville, TN and Austin, TX (storied American music cities that also feature permanent music venues in their respective airports), the partnership between McNally Smith, Republic (listed among the top 100 beer bars in America by Draft Magazine) and MSP International Airport provides a unique opportunity for Minnesota to showcase its rich music culture, and to spotlight emerging local artists in front of the million-plus travelers who pass through the airport every year.
This new partnership is the latest advancement in McNally Smith’s “Teaching For Tomorrow” initiative — which places an emphasis on experiential, hands-on learning, and also aims to support students through employment opportunities during and after college. Starting next week, musicians from the McNally Smith community will perform in the new live venue during peak travel times — 3:30–7:00pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and 1:30–5pm on Sundays. Reflecting the diversity of contemporary styles taught at the College, performances will span a variety of genres, ranging from traditional jazz to classical guitar to hip-hop.
“We’re so excited our students have the opportunity to showcase their talent on such a high-profile platform, and get paid well to do it,” says McNally Smith President Harry Chalmiers, who will be on site to speak at tomorrow’s grand opening event. “This is truly a unique advantage for aspiring music professionals — to be able to perform for a worldwide audience, without even having to leave the Twin Cities.”
Republic is located at the intersection of Concourses C and D (near Gate 1) in Terminal 1–Lindbergh at MSP International Airport. McNally Smith College of Music would like to thank Electrovoice and Schmitt Music for their generous support in donating instruments and audio equipment for the new stage.
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