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University of South Dakota Music Students Advance to National Voice Competition

Old Main on the University of South Dakota campus USD music students, Bailey Quade, Mikayla Trenhaile, Abby Beach, Margaret Meierhenry and Denisse Balandra, placed in the top five of their categories at the North Central Regional NATS auditions.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Five University of South Dakota music students competed in the online North Central Regional National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) auditions in March. They each placed in the top five of their categories, qualifying them for the next round.

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, which has been moved from a live format to online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The USD students advancing to nationals include the following:

Fourth-Year Classical Treble:

  • Bailey Quade, a senior from Rapid City, South Dakota, majoring in vocal performance
  • Mikayla Trenhaile, a senior from Yankton, South Dakota, majoring in vocal performance

Upper Musical Theatre Treble:

  • Abby Beach, a senior from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, majoring in music education

First-Year Classical Treble:

  • Margaret Meierhenry, a freshman from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, majoring in music education
  • Denisse Balandran, a freshman from Storm Lake, Iowa, majoring in vocal performance

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

“It is so wonderful that every singer who competed at regionals advanced to the nationals,” said Gesteland. “We have a great deal of talent in the voice area, and it is very rewarding to see that talent recognized by others in the region. I am so proud of these young artists."


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