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USD Music Students Earn Top Prizes

Photo of USD music stand and instruments. USD music students were among the top prizewinners at the SDMTA and MTNA competitions.

VERMILLION, S.D. – University of South Dakota music students were among the top prizewinners at two competitions hosted on the USD campus in November.

In the South Dakota Music Teacher Association competition, Eldon Warner, a junior vocal performance major, received 1st place in the junior/senior men and women collegiate voice II division. Emily Vidler, a senior vocal performance major, received 2nd place. Kevin Phillips, a senior vocal performance and music education major, received honorable mention. In the freshman and sophomore division, Abby Beach, a music education major, received 2nd place. Bailey Quade, a vocal performance major, was an honorable mention.

Senior music education major Benjamin O’Bryan received 1st place in collegiate composition. Freshman music education major Steven Bray received second place in collegiate woodwind. Sophomore Katelyn Strock and freshman Kacie Cox were honorable mentions in woodwind. Sophomore piano performance major Elizabeth Heikens received 2nd place in collegiate piano.

In the Music Teachers National Association contest, Ana Melissa Oliveira, a graduate piano student, received 1st place in the young artist in piano competition. Nicole Pierson, a music education major, received 1st place in young artist in woodwind. In the senior piano division, piano performance major Nicole Pierson received 2nd place.

The singers all study with Tracelyn Gesteland.  Paul Lombardi teaches composition. The woodwinds are clarinet players studying with Luis Viquez. Susan Keith Gray and Alessandra Feris teach piano.  

The 1st place winners in the state MTNA competitions will advance to the West Central regional division at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, in January.


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


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 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson 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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News