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It's Steve McClellan Day! Twin Cities honors man who helped shape local music scene

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The man who helped shape the Twin Cities music scene is being honored for his 65th birthday.

Sunday, March 22, is Stephen Thomas McClellan Day, according to proclamations from Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

The cities are recognizing the Minneapolis native's influence on the local music scene over the past several decades, and there will be a celebration for him at the historic Schooner Tavern in Minneapolis Sunday from 3-7 p.m., a news release says.

From bartender to GM

McClellan helped put the Twin Cities on the music scene map in the 1980s and '90s. He started out as a bartender at Uncle Sam's, now known as First Avenue, while attending the University of Minnesota, before he took over the helm, and served as general manager of the club for over 30 years.

He worked with local artists and others in the music industry to help develop Minneapolis' first rock community in the 1980s, First Avenue's website says, and eventually making the nightclub an international household name after Prince filmed "Purple Rain" at the club, Hodges noted in her declaration.

Creating communities for artists

After 32 years, McClellan stepped away from his position at First Avenue and formed DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization) in 2005, a nonprofit that works to promote, support and educate independent musicians, DEMO's website says.

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He has also served on the boards of the Cedar Cultural Center, Minnesota Music Academy, Developing Arts and Music Foundation, Heart and Soul Foundation, and the Downtown Minneapolis Warehouse Association, his bio on DEMO's website notes.

McClellan, who turned 65 last week, still independently books musical talent in the Twin Cities, while teaching arts management classes at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul and previously taught music business courses at Globe University/Minnesota School of Business.

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