USD Music Students Earn Top Honors at State Singing Competition

VERMILLION, S.D. – Four students from the University of South Dakota won first place awards at South Dakota’s National Association of Teachers of Singing competition this spring.

James Cooper of Lake Ozark, Mo., won first places in both the graduate classical division and in the upper collegiate men’s musical theatre division. Jordyn Bangasser of Sioux Falls, S.D., placed first in senior women’s classical. Mickey McGrann of Sioux Falls, was first in the lower collegiate women’s musical theatre category, and Seth Pierce of Sioux Falls was first in sophomore men’s classical.

The USD winners were among 109 entrants in classical and musical theatre divisions from five public universities: USD, South Dakota State University, Northern State University, Black Hills State University and the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

USD students also won the following additional awards:
Josh Rolling of Le Mars, Iowa, second place, junior men’s classical;
Kevin Phillips of Colton, S.D., second place, freshmen men’s classical;
Rachael Biggerstaff of Sioux Falls, S.D., second place, lower collegiate women’s musical theatre; honorable mention sophomore women’s classical;
James Carrell of Sioux Falls, S.D., second place, lower collegiate men’s musical theatre; third place freshmen men’s classical;
Mickey McGrann, of Sioux Falls, S.D., third place, sophomore women’s classical;
De Shonte Helm of Bloomington, Ill., third place, lower collegiate women’s musical theatre;
Kaela DeJong of Canton, S.D., honorable mention, sophomore women’s classical;
Brian Rasmussen of Sioux City, Iowa, second place, senior men’s classical; third place, upper collegiate men’s musical theatre;
Brody Krogman of Sioux Falls, S.D., second place, sophomore men’s classical;
Mandi Steele of Boise, Idaho, second place, graduate classical;
Emily Vidler of Marlboro, N.Y., third place, freshman women’s classical;
Seth Pierce of Sioux Falls, S.D., third place, lower collegiate men’s musical theatre.

The USD students are trained by Professor Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A., and Professor Brandon Hendrickson, D.M.A., of the USD College of Fine Arts. Pianists accompanying the singers were Brian Rasmussen of Sioux City, Iowa; Becca Lunstrum of Redfield, S.D.; Christopher Larson of Holstein, Iowa; Spencer Smith of Hermosa, S.D.; Emma McKirdy of Dickinson, N.D.; Anna Sobotka of Inman, Neb.; and Katie Thompson of Sioux Falls.


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 205 undergraduate and 73 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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Michael Ewald
USD News