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USD Graduate Student Wins First Place in Voice Competition

portrait of Kaitlin Pearson, MTNA competition winner Kaitlin Pearson, a graduate student in vocal performance at USD, won first place in the West Central division of the MTNA Young Artist Competition in voice.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Kaitlin Pearson, USD graduate student in vocal performance from Gretna, Nebraska, won first place in the West Central division of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artist Competition in voice, qualifying her to advance to the national competition in Spokane, Washington, on March 17-19.

The West Central division consists of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. Pearson, mezzo-soprano, presented 30 minutes of arias and art songs in French, German, Italian and English, and she will perform the program again at the national competition.

Pearson studies voice with Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A., associate professor of voice/opera and the Walter A. and Lucy Yoshioka Buhler Endowed Chair.

“Kaitlin is a wonderful artist and is well deserving of this incredible honor,” said Gesteland. “I am very proud to have her represent USD, our state and our region on the national stage. She has a very bright future.”


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