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Contact Information

School of Fine Arts

Dean: Dr. Alan LaFave


Spafford Hall 316

1200 S. Jay St.

Aberdeen, S.D. 57401


Phone: 605-626-2497

Fax: 605-626-2263

E-mail: Boyd Perkins


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Members of the Marching Wolves playing their instruments
Performing Ensembles


Chamber Singers


Contact: Dr. Timothy Woods


Twenty-four exceptional singers enjoy a diverse repertoire and an annual tour as members of the NSU Chamber Singers. Performing a capella and accompanied works, chamber singers rehearse 2 hours per week and perform in wonderful acoustic spaces on and off campus. Chamber singers tour with the NSU choir each fall. Potential performers audition with Dr. Woods at the beginning of the semester. Sight reading is a skill necessary to succeed in Chamber Singers.



Collegiate Choir


Contact: Dr. Timothy Woods


Join the 130 members of the NSU Collegiate Choir and perform repertoire from the renaissance to today. The choir rehearses 3 hours per week, performs on and off campus and tours each fall. Formal attire is required for concert and tour performances. Tuxedos are available for check-out from the music department. Men are required to purchase a formal tuxedo shirt and tie. Women are required to purchase a formal black dress from the Fine Arts office. Potential performers audition with Dr. Woods at the beginning of the semester. Your enthusiasm and willingness to work will lead to success in Collegiate Choir. 



Concert BandConcert Band members


Contact: Dr. Terry Beckler 


Performing a varied repertoire representing many styles and time periods, the NSU Concert Band is open to all students and community members. The band rehearses Monday evenings, culminating with a performance at the end of each semester. Students may register for 0 or 1 credit hour.




Marching Wolves


Contact: Dr. Boyd Marching Wolves membersPerkins 

Interested in being a member of the award-winning NSU Marching Wolves? Email Dr. Boyd Perkins for more information. For current updates and announcements, find the NSU Marching Wolves group on Facebook. 


Schedule and Policies 



Symphonic Band


Contact: Dr. Boyd Perkins

Symphonic Band membersThe NSU Symphonic Band is the premiere auditioned band at Northern State University. With approximately 60 members, the band performs a complete repertoire of literature from transcriptions to contemporary works. The band is comprised of students representing many different majors. The band rehearses 3 hours per week and performs a minimum of 3 on-campus performances each year. The band tours each spring, and has been featured at the South Dakota Music In-Service Conference 3 times in the past 6 years. Recently, the band was selected to represent South Dakota in a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington, DC.

Formal attire is required for concert and tour performances. Tuxedos are available for check-out from the music department. Men are required to purchase a formal tuxedo shirt and tie. Women are required to wear a formal black dress. Interested performers should arrange for an audition with Dr. Boyd Perkins prior to the start of each semester. Skills necessary to succeed in the band include a mature sound, solid technical command of the instrument, an eager and enthusiastic approach, and a willingness to work hard.



The Dominant 7


Contact:  Dr. Grant Manhart

Members and instructor of The Dominant 7 The Dominant 7 features the finest trumpet studio in the Midwest. Six trumpets, a trombone, and a hot rhythm section are sure to impress. They play big band swing, straight-ahead Bebop jazz, blues, funk, dance standards, Latin jazz, some favorites from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and even an all trumpet rendition of polkas! The Dominant 7 has entertained thousands From Indiana to Montana since they created themselves in 2004. They have been featured on stages in Wisconsin, the South Dakota State Fair, The Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Fest, and many others in Aberdeen and surrounding area. They opened for Arturo Sandoval at the International Trumpet Guild conference in Glassboro New Jersey in 2006, and performed with the rhythm section of the “Army Blues” at the International Trumpet Guild conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in May 2009. Their sound is original and unique, featuring fine young trumpet artists from Dr. Grant Manhart’s trumpet studio at Northern State University and backed by a rhythm section. You won’t be able to sit still when the group lays down the groove!



University-Civic Symphony 

University-Civic Symphony members

Contact: Dr. Robert Vodnoy

The 50-member Aberdeen University/Civic Symphony (AUCS) performs 3 full orchestra concerts per season plus the fall musical and other concerts.

The AUCS provides an exciting and rewarding experience to NSU students and community musicians who are interested in performing great orchestral music. The history of the orchestra reveals the importance of featuring the rich talent of the area together with superb guest artists.

The AUCS has been a focal point of musical life in Aberdeen for over a century. It was founded as the Normal Orchestra prior to 1910 under J.J. Cason, and became a college-community orchestra in 1920 under Howard Elson Goodsell. Dr. Robert Vodnoy became the orchestra’s 16th conductor when he joined the NSU faculty in the fall of 2005. For more information about the AUCS or tickets for orchestra concerts, contact the NSU Fine Arts Office at 605-626-2497 or email



Vocal Jazz Ensemble

 Vocal Jazz Ensemble members

Contact: Dr. Wendy van Gent


The NSU-VJE (Vocal Jazz Ensemble) is comprised of 12 singers, a 3-4 member rhythm section, various other instruments to round out the band, and a sound tech. VJE performs the best of vocal jazz charts for its own Sweet Jazz event each spring and dance standards for swing dances each semester. NSU-VJE also is the host vocal ensemble for the South Dakota Jazz Festival in January. The ensemble rehearses every Wednesday and Friday. Interested students audition with Dr. van Gent at the beginning of the fall semester, after a successful general choral audition with Dr. Timothy Woods. Sight reading, a cappella singing, and stage presence skills are necessary to succeed in NSU-VJE.
NSU-VJE Auditions Fall 2014
To audition for the NSU Vocal Jazz Ensemble, first complete the initial choral audition with Dr. Woods during the first week of school (see posted information by the choir room). Students invited back to audition for Chamber Choir will also be eligible to audition for VJE.
Please access the links below for the audition piece and the YouTube  audio accompaniment. You will be asked to sing the song one time and then scat through at least once.


"Summertime" Audio (YouTube)


"Summertime" Sheet Music





Contact:  Dr. Grant Manhart

The Wolfpack is a 15-25 piece elite pep/jazz/cheer ensemble designed to learn and perform current and past pop/jazz music, inspire the crowd, and spur Northern Basketball teams to victory! Wolfpack members are paid for each game at which they perform. The band receives a lump sum from the Student Budget Committee, which is divided equally among the band members, reflecting the number of games each played - roughly $15-$25 per game. The band has 1 rehearsal 2 hours before the first home basketball game in JFAC. One hour before the tipoff, usually near the end of the women's game, the band reports in uniform: a Wolfpack shirt supplied by the band, and khaki pants. The games generally begin at 7:30 pm. Interested performers should arrange for an audition with Dr. Manhart before the season starts. Musicians in this band must have a fine sound and an eager and enthusiastic approach to band and athletics. The ability to improvise is a definite plus. The only woodwind instruments on the paid Wolfpack list are alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. All the brass instruments are included as well as 1 drumset player, 1 keyboard player, 1 electric bassist (all 3 with jazz skills) and 1 or 2 auxiliary percussionists.



Woodwind, Brass, Percussion,

and String Chamber Ensembles Woodwind, Brass, Percussion, and String Chamber Ensembles  members

NSU offers a variety of educational opportunities for percussionists desiring a degree in music. Applied studio lessons are tailored to each student's needs and/or desires. The goal is for students to have exposure to all areas of the percussion family, and ultimately gain proficiency on each instrument.  Northern offers a variety of ensembles that employ percussionists. Membership is determined by audition, but each ensemble is open to students of any major. Percussion Methods is offered for Music Education majors.