shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

News and Events

Page address:

Live Music Events

Students with instruments and business students

BEHIND THE SCENES: Music Industry Concert Production Class Produces Show at Johnny B's Sports Bar

By Nate Brennan - Reporter Variety Editor


Motown's Berry Gordy, Geffen's David Geffen and even Jimmy Fallon's character in "Almost Famous" all were successful music industry members. But they didn't just magically project into the upper hemisphere of music moguls; they started from humble beginnings (except for Fallon's character, he wasn't real).

Hoping to follow in their footsteps are the members of the Music Industry program at Minnesota State, who are learning what it takes to put on a good show with their concert Wednesday at Johnny B's.

Over a month-long period in their music management and concert production course, Cole Bawek, Abbie Christensen, Justin Gehrke, Lee Henke, Gena Johnson and Benjamin Wieman have worked under the guidance of professor Dale Haefner in order to gain some real hands-on experience in the music industry field and put on a quality concert.

"For this project, the class learned how to identify talent for the performance, define a target audience, select an appropriate venue for the performance, create a project-planning schedule of tasks needed to promote the event utilizing traditional and social media methods, perform those tasks, and develop an advertising budget," Haefner said.

Although it was a group effort, the small group of six that makes up the class broke apart to attack the different facets that make up a successful concert production.

Henke and Gehrke each did promotion for the bands. Wieman and Bawek collaborated in making the concert poster and newspaper advertisement, Johnson aided in attaining and budgeting the specs of said advertisement. Christensen, who also currently works writing press releases for Haefner's Performance Series events at MSU, wrote press releases and promoted the show on Eventful and Greater Mankato Events.

Going through the extensive and applied process that constitutes a concert production may have left the industry greenhorns exhausted, but they only had positive things to say as they near their project's finish line.

"Making the most of what we had to work with, learning the ins-and-outs of it all means a lot toward learning to perform in this part of the industry," Christensen said. "Having the guidance of someone such as Dale, who has so much experience with this stuff, really helped."

"It's satisfying to get real hands-on experience and something great to put on a résumé," Wieman said. "It's much better than just reading a book and taking a test like in other classes."

The project, which will be graded on aspects such as professionality and overall composition, will feature bands Beg For Justice as well as Dr. Lee and the Terminally Chill, each of which have ties directly to the project. Henke is the frontman and namesake of Dr. Lee and Gehrke plays banjo, guitar and sings for the rootsy Beg For Justice.

Even the host of the event has connections to the group and their goals.

"John Mueller (owner of Johnny B's) is a personal friend of mine, I have known John for over 25 years," Haefner said. "He was involved in the production side of the music industry at the national level, so he understands how important it is for these students to receive hands-on, real-time experience in the field."

And if the hard work of fellow students and members of the faculty or the high quality of performers doesn't sell you, perhaps the location and accessibility of the whole thing will.

"Johnny B's is the closet venue to the campus," Haefner said. "It is my understanding that those not of legal drinking age can be in the establishment while it is serving food."

And since Johnny B's typically serves food until 9:30 p.m. and the concert runs from 7 - 8:45 p.m., there should be ample time for music lovers of all ages to witness first-hand the start of six careers in the music industry.

You might just be witnessing the start of the next Berry Gordy's career.


This event is sponsored by the Music Management and Concert Production class at Minnesota State University, Mankato with guidance from Professor Dale Haefner, The Music Industry students involved in the project will receive hands-on experience in the field of concert promotion. Student production activities for the show include booking the acts, dealing with all aspects of promotion including traditional methods and social media, sound production, and stage crew responsibilities.

Beg for Justice and Dr. Lee and the Terminally Chill come together to throw down at Jonny B’s Sports Bar to perform varieties of music from high-energy string music to blues on Wednesday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Beg for Justice is a high-energy String Band performing Bluegrass, Old Time and Country tunes with an occasional foray into folk, rock or reggae. Beg for Justice pays tribute to standard bluegrass repertoire including Ralph Stanley and Old Crow Medicine Show as well as contemporary renditions of tunes by Bob Dylan and Trampled by Turtles.

The Blues/Classic Rock cover trio Dr. Lee and the Terminally Chill performs classics from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Johnny Cash, bringing some soul back to Rock and Roll. They take pride in putting their own wild spin on the classics while still paying tribute to the legends.


Student Achievements

Meet Music Industry Student Brittany McDowell

McDowell is currently the campus concert manager for Student Events Team

By Shaina Sieh

College is about opportunities and what students can do to succeed. Here at Minnesota State University, Mankato, the campus concert manager is Music Industry student Brittany McDowell of Burnsville Minn.

“I'm the head honcho of concerts,” McDowell said to explain her position. ( read more about Brittany...)


Christopher Bosman is a graduate of Minnesota State Mankato with an undergraduate degree in Music Industry. Bosman published this article in the recent edition of Paper Darts. Paper Darts is a Minneapolis, Minnesota online literary arts magazine that publishes art, music, fiction, nonfiction, comics, and video reviews.

To read the review, go to:

To listen to Sunny Day in Glasgow, visit their MySpace page:

The Music Industry area at Minnesota State Mankato has experienced an exceptional year of accomplishment and progress! (read more...)

Employment News from Our MI Grads and Students

Music Industry - Selected Campus Highlights