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McNally Smith Composition students help wage war on Emerald Ash Borer


St. Paul, Minn., — May 13, 2010 — Woody Stulberg and Sam Sparling are kicking ash!

The two Sound Design students in Chris Cunningham’s film composition class at the McNally Smith College of Music created the sound design and soundtrack for the new Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) TV spot that warns against moving firewood infected with Emerald Ash Borer.

See and hear the clip here:

The music college students teamed up with MDA, and a teacher and students at the Art Institutes International (Aii) who created the animated sketches for the 30-second video clip — The Lifecycle of

the Emerald Ash Borer — which is in heavy rotation this summer.

According to the MDA website, “This 30-second video is a unique specimen of technical communication in that it compresses a large amount of visual information into a small amount of time. The hopeful result is that viewers better understand the meaning behind the often-repeated message ‘Don’t Move Firewood’ in a way that reduces human-assisted movement of firewood that is one of the main ways that invasive species are spread.�

“Woody and Sam did an outstanding job as they scored and sound designed the 30- second broadcast spot for the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture that is on the air now,� notes Cunningham. “The walking bass and subtle, ambient sound effects work perfectly with the animated images and the message of the piece, which warns about the Emerald Ash Borer beetles that are currently wiping out ash trees in North America.�

About the Video

The project was produced by MDA through a unique collaboration with faculty and students of Art Institutes International (Aii) and McNally Smith College of Music. The collaboration began back in October 2009 when an MDA staff member contacted Shannon Gilley, a faculty member and 3-D digital artist at Aii. Gilley and his students began creating rough sketches based on the concept Cycle of Destruction, an idea that intended to show the entire life cycle of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and illustrating its potential for killing ash trees.

After many sketches and a handful of revisions, the final draft was completed in late March 2010 with sound design and soundtrack from the students in Chris Cunningham’s advanced scoring class at McNally Smith. The video was made with technical assistance from staff from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and University of Minnesota Extension.

Production was made possible with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture.

About McNally Smith College of Music

Founded in 1985, McNally Smith College of Music is one of the top music and music business colleges in the country devoted to excellence in music industry higher education and in developing music industry professionals. An accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music, McNally Smith College of Music offers music degrees and programs in Music Performance, Recording Technology and Music Business. As of 2009, it is the only accredited music college to offer a diploma in Hip-Hop.

With more than 700 students and an 80-member faculty, McNally Smith College of Music students get a personalized music education that combines the art of physics with musical artistry and includes wide access to current music technology, research tools and performance facilities. McNally Smith alumni are working all over the world. McNally Smith is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. For more insights about the music college, visit

For more information, please contact Todd Walker, Director of Media Relations, McNally Smith 651-325-2390, [email protected], or Martin Keller at Media Savant Communications Co., 612-729-8585, [email protected]