USD musicians shine at MTNA/SDMTA competition in Spearfish

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Four musicians from the University of South Dakota showcased their talents at the South Dakota Music Teachers Association (SDMTA) Conference at Spearfish, Nov. 1-2.

Adrian Ries of Elk Point, S.D., a senior piano performance major and a student of Professor Susan Keith Gray, D.M.A., was a first place performer in the MTNA Steinway & Sons Young Artist Piano Competition, which is held in conjunction with the SDMTA. Ries qualified for regionals to be held in Lawrence, Kan. in January.

Laura Bertschinger, a graduate student in vocal performance, finished in second place in the MTNA Young Artist Voice Competition. A Creighton, Neb. native, Bertschinger is the alternate for the January regional competition in Kansas. She is a student of Voice Professor Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A.

Blake Proehl, a sophomore piano performance major from Parkston, S.D., received first place in the SDMTA collegiate piano competition while Jared Mogen, a junior music education major from Sioux Falls, S.D., received honorable mention honors in the SDMTA sponsored voice competition. Proehl is a student of Professor Susan Keith Gray while Mogen studies with Brandon Hendrickson, D.M.A., assistant professor of voice.

The SDMTA Conference featured students from USD, South Dakota State University, Augustana College, Black Hills State University and the University of Sioux Falls. SDMTA was founded in 1955 by a group of educators across the state to improve the standards of teaching music and is an affiliate of Music Teachers National Association. Members teach piano, organ, voice, strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion to individuals or to small groups. Any music professional or college music student is invited to join.

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Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 206 undergraduate and 71 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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