In 2012, Jon Vezner was honored as a North Hennepin Community College Distinguished Alumnus. He is a Grammy-award-winning songwriter for artists, such as Garth Brooks, Martina McBride, John Mellencamp and Faith Hill.
Vezner won a Grammy for “Best Country Song” and the Nashville Songwriters Association “Song of the Year” in 1990, for “Where’ve You Been”, the true story of Vezner’s grandparents, and recorded by his wife, country singer, Kathy Mattea. (Ma-tayy-ahh) “Where’ve You Been” was also honored as “Song of the Year” by the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music (ACM).
In March 2013, Jon was invited back to North Hennepin Community College to share his success story at the NHCC Foundation Gala.
Jon not only returned to share his story, but also hosted a four hour songwriting workshop spread over two days for current NHCC music students. In this workshop, Jon and the students wrote an original song, named, “Trust Yourself”. They completed the song in the afternoon, and performed the song that very same night to a crowd of 250 plus at the NHCC Foundation Gala.
The song writing process and performance was so impactful that Jon was asked to return from Nashville two months later to do a professional recording of “Trust Yourself” with the students.
The video you are about to watch is called “The Making of Trust Yourself”.
This video communicates the NHCC college experience through the personal stories of the students who participated in the workshop and recording; commends the outstanding faculty and music department; relates in a powerful way how staying involved with the college after graduation can be highly rewarding; and highlights how a class can turn into something very unique and unexpected. Making this video also brought an alumnus back in touch with one of his most influential instructors, who taught Jon how to play an instrument and read music – as well as gave him permission to trust himself to follow a career in music.
His story demonstrates the impact of two year colleges. Jon attended North Hennepin Community College to get an education, but he discovered something bigger – permission to follow his dream of writing music. Jon Vezner has a B.A. in music education and music theory from Southwest Minnesota State University.
Students who participated are:
Noah Huynh (Win)
NHCC Acting President, Lisa Larson
Music Instructor, Dr. Heather MacLaughlin (Mc-Kloft-In)
Executive Director, Foundation, Jennifer Summer Lambrecht (Lamb-Brecht)
Interim Director of Marketing and Communications, Janet McClelland (Ma-Cull-End)
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