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USD Singers Advance in National Voice Competition

VERMILLION, S.D. – Three University of South Dakota singers competed in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) national auditions held virtually in June and advanced to the next round.

The singers qualified for the national auditions by placing highly in the regional-level auditions and in the national preliminary round.

Annika Holdhusen, a mezzo-soprano from Vermillion High School, was selected as a semifinalist in the musical theatre high school treble division. She was one of only 14 singers nationwide to receive that honor.

Denisse Balandran, a rising junior soprano from Storm Lake, Iowa, and Colby Stoos, a rising senior baritone from Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, advanced to the quarterfinals in the lower college musical theatre treble and upper college musical theatre tenor/baritone/bass categories, respectively.

The students study voice with Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A., professor of voice/opera and the Walter A. and Lucy Yoshioka Buhler Endowed Chair. "The national auditions were especially competitive this year, with 1,148 singers entering from 14 regions in the U.S. and Canada,” Gesteland said. “I'm so proud of these young artists who were able to represent themselves and USD so beautifully on the national stage."


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