USD student musicians take top honors at MTNA SDMTA competition

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Six student musicians from the University of South Dakota were participants at the South Dakota Music Teachers Association (SDMTA) Conference last month at Brookings.

Jordyn Bangasser, a junior vocal performance major from Sioux Falls, S.D., received first place at the Junior/Senior Collegiate Voice Competition. Bangasser is a student of Voice Professor Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A. Jared Mogen, a senior music education major from Sioux Falls, S.D., was second place in the Junior/Senior Voice Competition while Spencer Smith, a sophomore piano performance major from Hermosa, S.D., was honorable mention in the Freshman/Sophomore Collegiate Piano Competition. Mogen studies with Brandon Hendrickson, D.M.A., assistant professor of voice, and Smith is a student of Professor Susanne Skyrm.

Additionally, three USD students will represent USD at the regional competition of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) at Des Moines, Iowa in January. Held in conjunction with SDMTA, the MTNA competition begins at the state level and then advances winners through the regional and national levels. Laura Bertschinger, a USD graduate (M.M. in 2013) in vocal performance from Creighton, Neb., who continues to study under Gesteland, won South Dakota’s MTNA Young Artist in Voice Competition. Junior Blake Proehl, a piano performance major from Parkston, S.D., won first place in the piano competition. He is a student of Professor Susan Keith Gray while Abigail Sandberg, a junior cello performance major from Hutchinson, Minn., was first place in South Dakota’s MTNA Young Artist in Cello Competition. She is a student of Marie-Elaine Gagnon, D.M.A., assistant professor of music.

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 SDMTA.

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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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