Individuals Playing Instruments in Band.


With an array of offerings ranging from wind band classics to jazz ensembles, marching band shows to percussion ensembles, our musical community provides opportunities for every student to express their musical abilities.

Explore a wide range of musical opportunities tailored for students of all backgrounds and interests. Immerse yourself in exceptional ensembles, where talented musicians come together to perform captivating repertoire from various genres and eras. Whether you're passionate about wind band classics, spirited pep band performances, dynamic marching band shows, soulful jazz ensembles, rhythmic percussion ensembles, or even the vibrant sounds of the steel drum, you'll find a place to showcase your talent and connect with fellow musicians. Join us in creating unforgettable musical experiences at the University of South Dakota.

The USD Symphonic Orchestra playing on stage.

Symphonic Band

The Symphonic Band is the premier wind band at the University of South Dakota. The ensemble is composed of the university’s finest wind and percussion musicians selected through auditions from the entire student body. Its members include graduate and undergraduate students, music majors, and talented non-music majors. The Symphonic Band’s repertoire includes music from all historical periods and consists of a wide variety of styles and a diverse spectrum of composers. In addition to touring annually, the Symphonic Band presents formal concerts on campus each semester.

The USD Band performing in the DakotaDome.

Sound of USD

Building on over 100 years of tradition, The SOUND of USD Marching Band is the largest and most visible ensemble on campus. You will perform for over 60,000 fans and spectators each season and bring spirit and energy to Coyote football games in the newly renovated Dakota Dome! In addition to football games, the band performs exhibitions at regional and international contests, festivals and parades. 

The SOUND of USD is comprised of dedicated musicians playing brass, woodwinds and percussion instruments as well as talented color guard members and feature twirlers. Two-thirds of the band's membership have a major other than music. 

No marching experience? No problem. You will learn alongside experienced veterans at our week-long preseason camp held the week before classes begin. All students wishing to participate in The SOUND of USD are accepted. Students must, however, earn their place on the field for pregame and half-time shows by demonstrating mastery of the necessary marching and playing fundamentals. We will teach you, and everyone marches before the end of their first season.
A USD student playing a saxophone on stage with other performers.

Jazz Band

The University of South Dakota Jazz Ensembles are dedicated to performing a variety of music representing this American art form, from classics by Basie and Ellington to new contemporary jazz works. The bands perform concerts each semester both on campus and on tour within the region. The USD Jazz Ensemble has also toured Germany and the Netherlands and has performed at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival in Chicago.

Every year, USD hosts guest jazz artists on campus to work with students and perform with them. Internationally recognized jazz artists have appeared with the USD Jazz Ensembles, such as Bob Mintzer, Matt Wilson, Tim Ries, John Fedchock, Scotty Barnhart, Andy Martin, Vince DiMartino and many others.
USD Percussion Drums players performing in the MUC.

Percussion Ensemble

Our students have the opportunity to participate in several unique percussion experiences, including traditional percussion ensemble, marimba ensemble and the steel drum band. Participation in the traditional and marimba ensembles requires a strong background in performance of numerous traditional percussion instruments.

For students with an interest in music of the Caribbean, the steel drum band offers the chance to perform at both the beginning and advanced performance levels. Students with a basic understanding of note-reading and some keyboard experience will find playing a steel pan a great experience.

Participation in the various ensembles is by audition during the first week of classes in the fall semester.
A USD student playing piano on stage, accompanying a trumpeter.

Concert Band

The USD Concert Band is an outstanding ensemble consisting of highly talented woodwind, brass and percussion players including both music majors and non-music majors. The Concert Band performs the finest literature available for winds including traditional wind band repertoire, marches, transcriptions and the newest 21st century works. 

The Coyote pep band playing at a basketball game.

Coyote Pep Band

The Coyote Pep Band performs in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center for USD Men’s and Women’s Basketball games, as well as Women's Volleyball. As a member of the pep band you provide the soundtrack and high energy atmosphere that leads the teams to victory!

Performing the finest pop, jazz and traditional USD arrangements, Pep Band repertoire builds on that of The SOUND of USD Marching Band’s fall season.

Coyote Pep band includes two ensembles of approximately 30 energetic brass, woodwind and rhythm section musicians, and members of the marching band receive preference at pep band auditions.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know the faculty and staff in the band. Our faculty are experts in a variety of instruments.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Todd Cranson

Todd Cranson

Associate Professor


Director of Athletic Bands & Low Brass Studio
Bio Image for Faculty Member Bethany Amundson

Bethany Amundson

Assistant Professor-Director of Symphonic Bands


Director of Symphonic Bands
Bio Image for Faculty Member Christopher Kocher

Christopher Kocher



Director of Jazz Studies & Saxophone
Bio Image for Faculty Member Stephanie Kocher

Stephanie Kocher


Bio Image for Faculty Member Amy Laursen

Amy Laursen

Associate Professor


Bio Image for Faculty Member Rolf Olson

Rolf Olson



Faculty Default

Loretta Thomas

Adjunct Instructor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Darin Wadley

Darin Wadley

Associate Professor



student success story

Success story Holly Black in a field doing research.
After getting a tour of campus and talking with some faculty I knew that I wanted to come here. I loved being part of the SOUND of USD marching band. The faculty are my favorite part of USD; they have supported me endlessly as I have taken on scholarship and graduate school applications. It is apparent that USD faculty and staff want their students to excel. 

Holly Black 

B.S. Biology, Sustainability '22
Rockton, Illinois

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