College of Fine Arts Music

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The Sound of USD Directors & Staff

Faculty Leadership

Dr. Jonathan Alvis, Director of Athletic Bands

Dr. Jonathon Alvis is Director of Athletic Bands and Professor of Low Brass at The U. A native of Athens, West Virginia, Dr. Alvis completed his doctor of musical arts degree in trombone performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) in 2009. Prior to earning his master of music degree in trombone performance from UNCG in 2007, Dr. Alvis earned a bachelor of science degree in music education from Concord University in 2004. Dr. Alvis' trombone instructors include Randy Kohlenberg, Andrew Necessary and his father Derk. His studies in conducting have been with John Locke.

Dr. Alvis was awarded Honorable Mentions in the 2007 and 2008 International Trombone Association's Frank Smith Solo Competition and received an Honorable Mention in the 2007 North Carolina MTNA State Young Artist Competition. At UNCG, he served as the associate conductor of the trombone ensemble, performed in the wind ensemble and served as the wind ensemble librarian. Dr. Alvis served as the administrative assistant for the UNCG Summer Music Camp, the largest music camp in the United States, and co-hosted the North Carolina Trombone Festival. Dr. Alvis was a graduate teaching assistant at UNCG from 2007-2009 and assistant director of bands at Concord University during the 2007-2008 academic year.

Dr. Alvis presented at the North Caroline Trombone Festival and the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators Fall Teaching Forum. Research interests include the fields of music education, trombone performance and pedagogy, and concert band performance and literature. His dissertation focused upon effective pre-service teaching experiences during the UNCG Summer Music Camp.

Dr. Rolf Olson, Director of Bands

Dr. Rolf Olson is Associate Professor of Music at USD, where he directs the Marching Coyotes, Brass Choir, Colton Jazz Ensemble, Coyote Pep Band, and performs with the South Dakota Brass Quintet and the South Dakota Jazz Quintet. Dr. Olson is an active trumpet player, performing regularly with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, the Sioux Falls Big Band and the Dalesburg Cornet Band, of which he is cornet soloist and musical director. In addition, he serves as trumpet soloist with area high school bands, and in May of 2001 performed at the International Trumpet Guild Convention in Evansville, IN. He has also played professionally with the Carson & Barnes Circus Band, Gene Pitney Orchestra and Myron Floren. 

Dr. Olson is active as a guest clinician/conductor, having directed numerous junior and senior high band festivals and jazz festivals in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa. He serves the region as an adjudicator for all types of instrumental music competitions and festivals, and was recently appointed to an adjudicator position for the South Dakota All State Band. Previous to his appointment at USD, Dr. Olson directed successful band programs in the South Dakota communities of Arlington and Vermillion and taught at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD.

Dr. Darin Wadley, Drum Line

Dr. Darin Wadley is an Associate Professor of Music (Percussion) at USD. He holds a doctor of musical arts in percussion performance from The University of Arizona. He also holds a master of music degree from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and a bachelor of music degree from Northern Illinois University, both in percussion performance. Prior to his appointment to USD, Dr. Wadley was Director of Percussion Studies at Southern Utah University. Dr. Wadley has held professional engagements with the Tony® Award-winning Utah Shakespearean Festival, Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Opera and the Nevada Symphony Orchestra. He is an active performer, clinician and adjudicator throughout the nation.  An area of interest for Dr. Wadley is contemporary music. He is an advocate of new music and actively participates in bringing new works and composers to the public. To this end, he commissions and premieres new works for percussion in both the solo and chamber setting. As Director of Percussion Studies, Dr. Wadley teaches applied percussion and directs the percussion ensemble, steel band and drum line, and also teaches music theory, aural skills and percussion methods.

Dr. Gary Reeves, Electronics/Instrument Repair