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Pearson and Warner Ranked Highly in National Singing Competition

Kaitlin Pearson and Eldon Warner in Opera Kaitlin Pearson and Eldon Warner in "Cinderella," presented by the USD Opera.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Two University of South Dakota music students competed in the semifinals of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Competition held on June 27 and 28 at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Kaitlin Pearson and Eldon Warner competed at the regional level and in an online screening round to qualify for the nationals, and they ranked among the top 14 singers in their respective divisions from across North America.

Pearson, a second-year graduate student from Gretna, Nebraska, competed in the Advanced Women’s Classical division, and Warner, a senior from Council Bluffs, Iowa, competed in the Upper College Men’s Musical Theatre division. They are both students of Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A., associate professor of voice/opera and holder of the Walter A. and Lucy Yoshioka Buhler Endowed Chair.

“Kaitlin and Eldon performed beautifully and were outstanding representatives of USD on the national stage,” Gesteland said. “I am incredibly proud of both of them.”


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