We make Minnesota the best place for musicians to live and work.
The Minnesota Music Coalition is a statewide network for independent musicians who care about creating and sustaining a vibrant popular music community. Through education, communication, and advocacy, we create access to resources and professional development services.
The Minnesota Music Coalition is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Ellen Stanley, Executive Director
Starting at MMC in May 2013, Ellen Stanley was formerly the Director of Publicity & Promotions at Grammy-winning indie label Red House Records, where she developed an international reputation as one of the top music publicists in the country and was voted one of the “Best in the Industry” by Americana DJ’s five years running. She has has an extensive background in the music business and has also worked as a fundraiser, festival organizer, radio promoter, booking agent, music writer and A&R rep. For the last ten years, she has produced and hosted Womenfolk, a weekly music show on KFAI Radio. She also performs her own music under the name Mother Banjo and serves on the Board of Folk Alliance International.
Tom Loftus, Program Assistant
Tom Loftus joined us in the Spring of 2016 to help manage the ever-growing musician mentoring program. In the Fall of 2018, he joined our staff full-time. For the past 20 years, Tom has been offering support to and advocating for Minnesota musicians through a variety of endeavors. In 1999, he founded the Modern Radio Record Label. The label received Best Local Record Label kudos from the City Pages in 2006 and 2016. Tom has worn many additional hats in the music world include booking shows/tours, distributing records, education, and more. Tom comes with an additional depth of experience in the local arts and creative community. He currently is on the organizer team for Creative Mornings MSP and the Minneapolis Arts Commission. Previously he has worked on major art activities including Northern Spark, Art Shanty Projects, The Haunted Basement, and David Bryne’s Playing the Building. He also deeply loves mini golf.
Symone Wilson, Mentorship Program Coordinator
Symone Wilson is a business professional by day and artist by night. She travels nationally promoting brands and individuals as well as performing under the stage name ‘Symone Smash It‘ as one of the top 10 pop artists of 2018 in MN by the City Pages. Brought onto the MMC team in the fall of 2018, she also serves as the coordinating director for United Artist Collaborative where she has connected artists together for the past 4 years. She has an immense passion for helping artists of all kinds to achieve their goals and uses her background in marketing to do so. With her knowledge in experiential marketing, brand development, and grant writing, she aims to use these abilities to build campaigns that better the lives of artists and their communities
Stephanie Hansen, Membership and Engagement Assistant
Stephanie comes to MMC after obtaining a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas. As a musician herself, Stephanie is very passionate about supporting local artists, and encouraging a healthy music scene in her community. Outside of MMC, Stephanie spends her time working in the music and performing arts industries — scheduling educational theatre programs at schools around the nation for The National Theatre for Children, managing the Edina Chorale, and teaching private voice and piano lessons at Rogers School of Music.
Board of Directors
Tony Mendoza, President
Tony is an entertainment attorney and active performing musician. He has extensive experience working with entrepreneurial musicians, bands, non-profit arts organizations, and other artists on management and legal issues.
Dawn Montez, Vice President
Dawn Montez has been a logistics entrepreneur in Minneapolis since 1997. She is CEO and owner of
Traffic Management, Inc, a freight brokerage company, and Shotgun Express Inc, a local and longhaul
trucking company. Although Dawn has no known musical ability, she is an extremely dedicated fan of
the Minnesota music scene.
Beth Burns, Secretary
Beth is President of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. She previously served in leadership roles at the Minnesota Zoo, Guthrie Theater, and MacPhail Center for Music. She’s a past member of the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, MN Alliance for Arts Education, and 15 Head Theatre Lab boards of directors. Back in the day, she managed bands and even had a stint on staff at First Ave.
Paul Boblett, Member
Born and raised in the Twin Cities, Paul has spent well over three decades in the Minnesota music community. He spent the late 70’s with Vic Panic & the Riot, the 80’s touring the country and the 90’s and beyond with Sam Iam, Planetmaker and the Minnesota Dance Theater. Paul is currently performing with Fathom Lane and King James Version and presents ‘Senses Working Overtime’-an annual XTC tribute that assists women undergoing cancer treatments through the Pay It Forward Fund. He and his wife Joanne founded and run the Northland Press, a weekly community newspaper based in Outing, MN.
Alexei Moon Casselle, Member
At age fifteen, Alexei Moon Casselle AKA Crescent Moon committed to the craft of being an emcee, dedicating himself to mastering the art of writing and performing rap songs. Since then, he has toured North America and Western Europe extensively, played hundreds of concerts as a frontman/lead vocalist, as well as a backing vocalist for revered hip-hop acts Eyedea & Abilities and Atmosphere. Casselle has recorded and released over twenty albums with various hip-hop groups, as well as with folk/Americana band Roma di Luna that he co-led as a singer/songwriter with Channy Leaneagh (POLIÇA). Some of his current projects include Kill The Vultures and Mixed Blood Majority.
Janis F. Weller, Ed.D., Member
Career in music as an educator, musician, administrator, researcher, and author has focused on her lifelong passion for helping artists create meaningful, sustainable careers. She served teaching and administrative roles at McNally Smith College of Music & MacPhail Center for Music. Jan’s traveled the world presenting research and contributed to several books on musicians’ careers with the International Society for Music Education. As a flutist, she premiered more than 100 new works ranging from traditionally notated pieces to graphic notation and sculptural scores. Returning to the solopreneur world, she now works in private practice as a career and wellness coach (Mayo Clinic trained and certified) specializing in creatives.
Stephanie Paquin, Member
Stephanie Paquin moved to the Twin Cities in 1999. She played in Iowa bands Big Citizen, The Sundogs and The Muse Band throughout the late 80s/early 90s and founded her latest projects, American Housewife and Good Mitten, in the last 5 years. After 20 years as a CPA in public accounting, she is now the CFO for Gardenworld, Inc.
Sara Horishnyk, Member
Sara is an active musician and has been performing in and managing live bands since 2006. Fueled by her passion for music and the arts in the Twin Cities, in 2008 she founded Xylo Entertainment, a music booking and management company.
Jessica Paxton, Member
A life-long music lover and supporter, Jessica lives in Northfield, where she books and promotes music at local venues, curates a house concert series, and hosts a daily free-form radio show on Northfield’s independently owned station KYMN Radio. She is a former producer for Twin Cities Public Television and currently works in media relations, producing videos and radio spots, and writing a monthly music column for SouthernMinn Scene.
Brian "BT" Turner, Member
“BT” has been a broadcaster in the St. Paul – Minneapolis area since 1980, and a longtime supporter of Minnesota music and musicians. He also co-owns a fine foods company based in Crystal, MN, and an events production company based in Oakdale. You can listen to his radio show every weekday from 10:00am to 3:00pm on 96.3 KTWIN.
Mary McKoskey, Member
Mary is a long time Twin Cities resident with a passion for Minnesota music. She has entrepreneurial and commercial real estate experience and is often involved with fundraising for local charities and schools. Mary plays the ukulele, slowly, in the very local solo act, “Please Stop Playing The Ukulele.”
Mark Stutrud, Emeritus Member
Mark is founder and owner of Summit Brewing Company, a local company with a strong track record of support for Minnesota’s music community.
Chuck Hermes, Emeritus Member
Chuck is a musician who has been member of the bands Mile One, Stickman, Wheelo and more. He is a founding partner and Chief Experience Officer at Clockwork, a digital agency the builds business applications for web, mobile, and environments. Prior to Clockwork, Chuck was the design director at Paisley Park Studios.
Mark Gehring, Emeritus Member
Mark is founder and president of Periscope Artist Management and recently co-founded indie label GNDWIRE Records with Dave Simonett of Trampled By Turtles. He also founded Vega Productions and has extensive experience engaging popular independent musicians for nonprofit performance events and benefit albums.
Andrew Volna, Emeritus Member
Andrew is the founder and president of Noiseland Industries, a company that supplies independent musicians CD, vinyl and download card manufacturing services. He is also the owner of Apiary, LLC, a real estate development company that creates office and workspaces for small businesses and start-up enterprises.