Students from North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Manitoba and Saskatchewan submitted performance videos that were evaluated by a panel of judges. The USD students will next compete in the national competition, beginning with an online preliminary round, followed by live semifinals and finals in Chicago in July.

The USD students advancing to nationals include the following:

Advanced Collegiate Classical:

  • Kelsey Huxman, a graduate student from Wichita, Kansas, majoring in vocal performance
  • Kelsey Paul, a graduate student from Evansville, Wisconsin, majoring in vocal performance

Third-Year Classical Treble:

  • Denisse Balandran, a junior from Storm Lake, Iowa, majoring in vocal performance

Second-Year Classical Treble:

  • Elisabeth Peirce, a sophomore from Elk Point, South Dakota, majoring in vocal performance and music education
  • Katelyn Privett, a sophomore from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, majoring in music education

Second-Year Classical TBB (tenor/baritone/bass):

  • Brian Shirley, a sophomore from Rapid City, South Dakota, majoring in musical arts and business

Upper College Musical Theatre Treble:

  • Denisse Balandran

Lower College Musical Theatre TBB:

  • Brian Shirley

The students study voice with Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A., professor of voice/opera and the Walter A. and Lucy Yoshioka Buhler Endowed Chair. "I am so proud of these young artists for representing themselves and USD so well, particularly with all of the challenges that the pandemic has brought over the past couple of years,” Gesteland said. “These students are resilient as well as talented and dedicated to their art, and I look forward to seeing them compete on the national stage."

The singers' pianists were staff accompanists Deanna Wehrspann and Diane Van Den Oever, along with Deanne Ekstrand, a sophomore piano performance and music education major from Pocahontas, Iowa.

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