The USD chamber singers performing.

Vocal Arts

Ignite your passion for music through captivating choral performances and transformative opera productions.

Discover a vibrant choral and opera program at the University of South Dakota, offering a range of vocal ensembles for students to showcase their talents. From the premier Chamber Singers, performing a diverse repertoire from Renaissance to contemporary a cappella music, to the collaborative Collegium Musicum exploring various genres, our vocal groups captivate audiences with their dynamic performances. Join the select Symphonic Choir, open to both students and community members, as they present impressive choral masterworks in collaboration with renowned orchestras. Experience the thrill of opera with our nationally acclaimed program, providing training in a variety of operatic styles and opportunities to bring music and drama to life on stage. With individual attention from our dedicated faculty, students develop into skilled and passionate singing-actors. Unleash your vocal potential and immerse yourself in the rich musical traditions of USD's choral and opera program.

The chamber singers performing.

Chamber Singers

The Chamber Singers is the premier vocal ensemble at USD. Performers in the choir are selected through audition from the entire university student body. The choir's repertoire, which is primarily a cappella, includes music from the Renaissance to the present in a wide variety of styles.

The ensemble presents formal concerts on campus each semester and its annual concert tour has taken the group throughout the United States and Europe. They have been selected for performance at state and regional conventions, have appeared on the public radio programs, and received numerous national honors and distinctions.
The USD collegium musicum singing on stage.

Collegium Musicum

Collegium Musicum is a vocal ensemble exploring music from many genres and time periods, from early music to modern works. In frequent collaboration with other choral and instrumental forces at USD, the repertoire for the ensemble adapts to the unique group of vocalists involved each semester. 
An opera performance on stage in progress.


The USD Opera offers students the opportunity to bring music and drama to life on the stage. The multiple national award-winning program trains performers to become believable and compelling singing-actors in operatic literature from the Baroque period through the contemporary lyric theater.

Every year, USD Opera produces a minimum of two productions. The fall production consists of a children’s opera, one-act or scenes program and includes outreach opportunities in the region. In the spring, USD Opera produces a full main stage opera with orchestra.

Opera students find out who they are as artists as they receive individual attention and personalized guidance from dedicated, highly skilled and acclaimed faculty. Find your voice, unlock your potential and discover your passion for a lifetime.
The USD symphonic choir singing on stage.

Symphonic Choir

The Symphonic Choir is a large, select mixed ensemble open to students from all academic areas as well as members of the Vermillion community. The ensemble performs a broad range of repertoire, with a particular focus on both large and small-scale choral masterworks including collaborations with the USD Symphony Orchestra as well as regional professional ensembles such as the South Dakota and Sioux City Symphony Orchestras.
Two USD vocal jazz choir singers on stage.

Vocal Jazz Choir

The Vocal Jazz Choir is an ensemble of 16 singers with additional crew and instrumentalists as needed. This choir performs a wide range of music from traditional jazz standards to contemporary a cappella, including the genres of pop and rock. The ensemble is intended for advanced vocalists who will utilize individual microphones and be required to perform tight harmonies.

Choral Placements

Faculty & Staff

Get to know the faculty and staff in the area of vocal arts. Our faculty are experts in the areas of solo vocal and choral performance.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Timothy Campbell

Timothy Campbell

Associate Professor


Choirs & Voice
Bio Image for Faculty Member Tracelyn Gesteland

Tracelyn Gesteland



Voice & Opera
Bio Image for Faculty Member David Holdhusen

David Holdhusen

Chair-Music Dept


Chair, Dept. of Music
Director of Choral Activities
Bio Image for Faculty Member Juan Mendoza

Juan Mendoza

Assistant Professor


Voice & Opera

student success story

Success story Blake Warner smiling.
I love the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities at USD. Although I'm obtaining degrees in Psychology, I've had the opportunity to sing and travel with the USD Chamber Singers and pursue other passions.

Blake Warner

M.A. , Ph.D. Clinical Psychology '22, '24
B.S. Psychology, Communication Studies '18
Windom, MN

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