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USD music student winner of AGO Young Artist Competition

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Wyatt Smith, a sophomore music major at the University of South Dakota, took top honors at the American Guild of Organists (AGO) Region VI Young Artist competition.

As winner of the Region VI competition, Smith was awarded a $1,000 prize and a trip to the 2012 AGO National Convention at Nashville, Tenn., where he will play on a “Rising Stars” recital. Smith, from Rapid City, S.D., is a student of Larry Schou, D.M.A., dean of the College of Fine Arts and Professor of Organ at USD.

“Wyatt is an excellent organist and shows great promise to have a bright future in the performing arena as he pursues graduate work in a few years,” stated Schou. “I am very proud of his accomplishments. He is currently on a concert tour performing throughout the Midwest.”

The competition was held in conjunction with the biennial AGO Region VI convention at Des Moines, Iowa last month. Prominent music schools represented from the 10-state region included Julliard, Indiana University, Wichita State University and USD. Participants were required to play organ music representing three musical periods: a baroque piece written by J. S. Bach, a 19th century piece and a contemporary piece written after 1900. Competitors were also required to play two verses of a specified hymn, with introduction.


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 202 undergraduate and 78 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 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News