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Graduate Studies
Sharon Paranto, Director

or Tammy Griffith, Program Assistant 


Spafford Hall 204A
1200 S. Jay St.
Aberdeen, S.D. 57401
Phone: 605-626-2558
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Master of Music Education Faculty

Dr. Timothy Woods

MME Program Director

Director of Choral Activities, Conducting, Voice, Vocal Techniques, Music History


A.B. Harvard University

M.M., D.M.A. University of Arizona


Office: Spafford Hall 317A

Phone: 605-626-7758

Fax: 605-626-2263



Dr. Timothy Woods directs Northern's master of music education program. In addition to conducting the Collegiate Choir, Chamber Singers, and Vocal Jazz Ensemble, he teaches Music History, Vocal Pedagogy, Choral Conducting, and applied voice. He holds a Doctor of Music degree in Choral Conducting with a minor in Vocal Performance as well as a Masters in Conducting from the University of Arizona. Dr. Woods is a member of ACDA, NATS, and the Center for Black Music Research. He is a guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator and has performed tenor solos with the Arizona Opera, Tucson Symphony and Denver Symphony Orchestra.


Dr. Alan LaFave

Dean, School of Fine Arts

Professor of music/clarinet


B.M.E Northern State University

M.M., D.M.A. Arizona State University, Tempe

Spafford Hall 316

Phone: 605-626-2497

Fax: 605-626-2263











​Alan D. LaFave is dean of fine arts and professor of music/clarinet at Northern. He holds the B.M.E. in instrumental/vocal music from Northern and the M.M. and D.M.A. in clarinet performance from Arizona State University, Tempe. His formal clarinet training includes studies with Harvey Moen, James Gai, and Robert Spring.


He was director of bands at Northern from 1991-2006. Previously, Dr. LaFave taught at Augustana College, Sioux Falls; Arizona State University, Tempe; Grand Canyon University, Phoenix; and Central High School, Aberdeen, S.D.  


Dr. LaFave has performed with the Phoenix Bach Choir Orchestra, Quintessence, the Arizona Ballet Orchestra and the South Dakota Symphony, and was principal clarinet with the Arizona State University Symphonic Band, Symphony Orchestra, and American Serenade Band. He also performed for three consecutive Northern Plains Clarinet symposiums in Grand Forks, N.D., and the Montana/Idaho Clarinet Symposium, Missoula, MT. He is in demand as a soloist throughout the upper Midwest and presented a solo performance for the 2000 International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest.


Dr. LaFave was named the 2000 South Dakota Outstanding Bandmaster of the Year by Phi Beta Mu, International Bandmasters Fraternity. In March 2002, the NSU Symphonic Band performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C. In 2006, Dr. LaFave was elected to the American Bandmasters Association and received the Phi Beta Mu Distinguished Service Award.


Dr. LaFave maintains an active and vigorous schedule as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and soloist throughout the United States and Canada. He has been a guest conductor, soloist, or clinician in Alaska, Arizona, Bahamas, Colorado, Iowa, Manitoba, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. He is the past president of the South Dakota Music Educators' Association. He has taught at the International Music Camp, International Peace Garden, N.D. and Yellowstone Music Camp, Powell, WY; and serves as the director of Rushmore National Music Camp, Keystone, SD.






Dr. Boyd Perkins

Director of Bands, Conducting, Brass Methods and Literature, Music Education


B.M.E. South Dakota State University

M.A., D.M.A.  University of Iowa

Office: JFAC 113

Phone: 605-626-2501

Fax: 605-626-2263



Dr. Boyd Perkins is director of bands at Northern. A native of Brookings, S.D., Perkins earned his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Wind Conducting from The University of Iowa, where his primary advisor was Dr. Myron Welch. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Music Education with instrumental and vocal emphases from South Dakota State University, where his primary teachers were Dr. Darwin Walker and Dr. Charles Canaan.


With successful public school teaching experience in Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota, Dr. Perkins has developed a strong, multifaceted reputation as a music educator in the areas of concert band, marching band, and jazz. He maintains an active adjudication and clinician schedule in all three areas. Dr. Perkins’ duties at Northern include applied low brass studies, instrumental conducting, marching band, symphonic band, marching band techniques, music education courses, brass methods, brass instrument care and repair, the NSU All-Star Marching Camp and student-teacher supervision.


Under Dr. Perkins’ leadership, the NSU Marching Wolves were the lone selection from South Dakota in the 2006 Waikiki Holiday Parade commemorating the 65th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In 2005, the Marching Wolves were 1 of 8 collegiate bands selected to appear in the Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C.


As a euphonium performer, Dr. Perkins has been the runner-up in the national MTNA-Wurlitzer Brass competition, and has appeared as a soloist with numerous high school, college, and community bands. He is the band chair for the South Dakota Music Educators Association, state representative for the National Band Association, state representative for the College Band Directors National Association, and editor of "South Dakota Musician."


His professional affiliations include College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, South Dakota Bandmasters Association, Iowa Bandmasters Association, Music Educators National Conference, International Tuba Euphonium Association, International Trombone Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Phi Beta Mu.





Dr. Terry Beckler

Percussion, Assistant Director of Bands, Percussion Methods and Literature, Music Appreciation

B.M.E. South Dakota State University

M.M.E. University of Northern Colorado-Greeley

Ph.D. University of Minnesota

Office: JFAC 118

Phone: 605-626-2263



Terry Beckler is percussion professor and assistant director of bands at Northern.  Beckler previously was director of bands at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN, and at Huron University. He also has 10 years of public school experience as band director for the Red Rock Central (Lamberton, MN) and Sioux Valley (Volga, SD) school districts. Beckler has been a member of the 147th Army Band based in Mitchell, SD, for over 20 years. He enlisted in 1986 as a percussionist and, since 1998, has been commander/conductor of this group. In January of 2006, the 147th Army Band was awarded the Howard Citation of Musical Excellence from the John Philip Sousa Foundation. Beckler holds the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3. He is an active clinician in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota and a former member of the Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps.





Dr. Grant Manhart

High Brass, Assistant Director of Bands, Jazz Studies, Music Appreciation, Brass Ensembles


B.M. University of Wisconsin-Madison

M.M. University of Cincinnati

D.M. Indiana University

Office: JFAC 114

Phone: 605-626-2982

Fax: 605-626-2263



Dr. Grant Manhart holds a Doctor of Music degree in Trumpet Performance and Literature with minors in Music History and Jazz Studies from Indiana University, a Master's degree in Trumpet Performance with a minor in Jazz Studies from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor's degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of Wisconsin. His extensive performing experience includes classical, jazz and popular music. Dr. Manhart is busy as a performer, clinician and adjudicator.



Dr. Wendy vanGent

Music Education


B.M.E. Western Michigan University

M.M.E. Michigan State University

Ph.D. Oakland University


Office: Spafford Hall 301

Phone: 605-626-7753



Dr. Wendy van Gent, Assistant Professor of Music Education at Northern State University is a vocal educator with extensive experience in choral music, vocal jazz, private vocal instruction, musical theater, and all styles of Christian music. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Western Michigan University, a Master of Music Education from Michigan State University, and a PhD in Education (Educational Leadership with cognates in Music Education and Teacher Leadership) at Oakland University. Dr. van Gent spent ten years traveling throughout the United States and Europe as a performer. Her credits include the stage, radio, and television not only as a singer/dancer/actor, but also as a producer and director. For 16 years, Dr. van Gent was the Choral Director and Chair of the Performing Arts Department at Frank W. Cox High School in Virginia Beach, VA. She conducts choral clinics, adjudicates solo and ensemble festivals nationwide, and is a member in good standing of MENC, SDMEA, ACDA, VCDA, AERA, and MSVMA.





Dr. William Wieland

Theory, Piano, Technology Composition


B.A. Valley City State University

M.A. University of Minnesota

D.M. Northwestern University


Personal Page

Office: Spafford Hall 304

Phone: 605-626-2499

Fax: 605-626-2263



Bill Wieland, a native of North Dakota, is an educator, composer and pianist. His compositions have received numerous awards and performances and he is often featured as a piano accompanist in the region. Dr. Wieland earned a Bachelor of Arts in composite music (piano) from Valley City State College in 1986, a Master of Arts in theory and composition from The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 1988 and a Doctor of Music in composition from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL in 1991. He has taught at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, De Paul University and Northwestern University. He began teaching music theory, piano, music technology and composition at Northern State University in 1994 and served as coordinator of the music and theatre department from 2000–2010. In addition to teaching, composing and accompanying, Dr. Wieland leads the piano session of the International Music Camp and corrects AP music theory exams every summer.