USD students stand out at 2014 SDMTA Student Competition

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Six student musicians from the University of South Dakota were among the top prizewinners at the annual South Dakota Music Teachers Association (SDMTA) Student Competition at Augustana College, Nov. 7-8.

Blake Proehl, a senior piano performance major from Parkston, S.D., received first place in the MTNA Young Artist Piano Competition. Proehl, a student of Dr. Susan Keith Gray, will compete at the divisional level in January at Fargo, N.D. Abigail Sandberg, a senior cello performance major from Hutchinson, Minn. and a student of Dr. Marie-Elaine Gagnon, placed second in the MTNA Young Artists Strings Competition. She is the alternate for the January regional competition in Fargo. Jordyn Bangasser, a senior vocal performance major from Sioux Falls, S.D. and a student of Dr. Tracelyn Gesteland, received honorable mention in the MTNA Young Artist Voice Competition.

Spencer Smith, a junior piano performance major of Hermosa, S.D. and a student of Dr. Susanne Skyrm, placed second in the SDMTA Collegiate Piano Competition. Hannah Lambertz, a senior vocal performance major from Yankton, S.D. and a student of Gesteland, was honorable mention in the SDMTA Junior/Senior Collegiate Voice Competition. Rachael Biggerstaff, a sophomore vocal performance major from Sioux Falls and a student of Gesteland, received honorable mention in the SDMTA Freshman/Sophomore Collegiate Voice Competition.

The SDMTA Conference featured students from USD, South Dakota State University, Augustana College and Black Hills State University. 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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