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Sound Bite Series

Sound Bite Series

The Sound Bite Concert Series brings FREE performances by prominent national and local music acts to McNally Smith’s downtown St. Paul campus. Held in the intimate setting of the Sound Bite Café, students and area music fans are treated to exclusive concerts featuring the likes of P.O.S., Motion City Soundtrack, Chastity Brown, Astronautalis and John Mark Nelson.

Informative Q&A sessions led by 89.3 The Current’s Dave Campbell add a unique element to every show, and help shed light on artists’ creative process. In addition to the Sound Bite Series, McNally Smith hosts many free concerts throughout the year. To learn about all the great music happening on campus, sign up for our newsletter >>


John Mark Nelson

Thursday, February 19

John Mark Nelson
John Mark Nelson, a 21-year-old native of Excelsior, Minn., has already released three critically acclaimed albums in his young career, including 2012’s Waiting and Waiting (featuring breakthrough single “Reminisce”) and 2014’s sonically lush Sings the Moon. He was tapped for First Avenue’s Best New Bands Showcase in 2012, and returned to the venue to perform at 89.3 The Current’s 8th Birthday Party. Nelson was named City Pages’ Best Minneapolis Folk Artist in 2013 and has toured extensively in recent years.

“John Mark Nelson not only writes really great songs with a lot of emotion behind them; he also orchestrates them in a really interesting way,” says Jim McGuinn, Program Director at 89.3 The Current. “His use of different instruments — strings, glockenspiel, percussion, accordion — is pretty special; as is the restraint that he shows in producing his records. They’re complex yet simple. And that’s a really hard thing to do, especially for a young artist.”

A pair of Nelson’s band members have ties to McNally Smith. His longtime bass player, Ben Kelly, earned a bachelor degree in Bass Performance (’11) from the College. Vocalist Kara Loudon earned a bachelor degree in Vocal Performance (’13) and recently completed her first solo album, I Wasn’t Made, which was produced by Nelson and is slated for an April 3rd release at the Bedlam Theater in Lowertown.


Sound Bite Concert Series Highlights