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* Class assignment leads to musical tour for duo

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SCC/Sean Duke

Matt Hart (left) and Aubrey Zoli taking a break during a recent recording session at Shoreline Community College.

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SCC/Sean Duke

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The Local Strangers interview and music  

What if you could be a star, guitar in hand and singing to audiences in major cities up and down the West Coast? What if all you had to do was hone your natural talents with classes at Shoreline and be on your way?

That’s Matt Hart’s dream and while the now former student and his musical partner, Aubrey Zoli, aren’t quite stars yet, they're off to a great start.

Hart’s dream started to become reality last fall. It was November when he brought Zoli to one of his classes to showcase their ongoing work. After that class, Hart and Zoli continued to collaborate, combining his guitar and their voices to perform music together.

That idea, along with long hours of practice and hard work, resulted in their acoustic duo, The Local Strangers. In June, they celebrated the release of their inaugural and self-titled album at Seattle’s historic Columbia City Theater. This summer, they have 12 dates lined up between Seattle and San Diego, including a July 21 appearance at the famed Tractor Tavern in Ballard.

While Matt had natural talents to hone, music faculty were crucial to his successful experience at Shoreline.

Sue Ennis - who has written for the rock band Heart and feature films such as Eddie Murphy’s “Golden Child” and the children’s hit “Thomas and the Magic Railroad” featuring Alec Baldwin – gave key support, Hart said.

“I took Sue Ennis’ class in songwriting,” Hart said. “After finishing the course she continued to be a helpful resource, giving feedback to demo recordings I sent her and helping decide which songs to put on the album.”

Ennis said she offered help, but that Hart was already doing well on his own. “I didn't really sit down and do a full on song consultation with him, but I offered a few tips on lyric changes here and there," Ennis said.

Hart said that Ennis called recently to say the Music Technology 171 class was looking for subjects and asked if the duo were interested, an offer that Zoli said they couldn’t pass up: “Anytime someone offers to record, gotta do it.”

For a FREE download of the The Local Strangers debut album, visit www.thelocalstrangers.com.

SCC/Sean Duke, Jim Hills

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