The South Dakota Senior Honor Choir is a unique experience that draws high school students together for a week of intensive singing at choral camp under the direction of a respected choral conductor, culminating in a presentation of choral works representing the finest works of western art. This year's guest choral conductor is Michael Culloton, Ph.D., associate professor and director of choral activities at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Over 150 junior and senior high school students from across South Dakota auditioned to attend the week-long choral camp, and 105 students were selected. The audition process included tonal memory, sight singing, terms, prepared solo and a written test.

“This is a high-level challenge for top musicians to come together with other high achieving choral students who want to get to the next level of performing,” Stacy Gross, executive director of South Dakota honor choir, said. “Our intent of this camp is that students go back to their hometown programs and are better leaders, better musicians, have heightened level of skills and that they use those to benefit their hometown choral programs,” Gross said.

Students attending the week-long camp stay in USD’s residence halls and practice in the Muenster University Center. USD music education majors act as camp counselors and gain hands-on experience leading high school-aged students.

“The camp counselors from USD get an opportunity to watch our guest conductor and university level section leaders working with kids all week, which gives them good ideas on how to teach students in the future,” David Holdhusen, Ph.D., USD professor of music and director of choral activities, said. “When they go out and look for future jobs post-college, they already have some of that experience and knowledge of what it's like to work with a group of high school kids for a whole week, and they gain musical skills in their tool belt to help them when they go on to be music educators someday.”