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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: Laura Haar


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Music Faculty
              Alan LaFave

Dr. Alan D. LaFave

Dean, School of Fine Arts

Professor of Music/Clarinet


B.M.E. Instrumental/Vocal Music, Northern State University

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

Office: Spafford Hall 316

Phone: 605-626-2497

Fax: 605-626-2263




Dr. Alan D. LaFave was director of bands at Northern State University, Aberdeen, S.D., from 1991-2006. He is Northern's dean of fine arts and professor of music/clarinet. He holds the B.M.E. in instrumental/vocal music from and the M.M. and D.M.A. in clarinet performance from Arizona State University, Tempe. Dr. LaFave previously taught at Augustana College, Sioux Falls; Arizona State University, Tempe; Grand Canyon University, Phoenix; and Central High School, Aberdeen. His formal clarinet training includes studies with Harvey Moen, James Gai and Robert Spring.

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 performed for three consecutive Northern Plains Clarinet symposiums, as well as the Grand Forks, N.D., and Montana/Idaho Clarinet (Missoula, Mont.) symposiums. He is in constant 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 was the recipient of the Phi Beta Mu Distinguished Service Award. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the SDHSAA and the Outstanding Administrator Award from the South Dakota Music Educators Association in 2012.

Dr. LaFave maintains an active and vigorous schedule as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and soloist throughout the United States and Canada. He has served as a guest conductor, soloist, and clinician in Alaska, Arizona, Bahamas, Colorado, Iowa, Manitoba, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. He is the past president of the South Dakota Music Educator’s Association. He has taught at the International Music Camp, Peace Garden, N.D., and Yellowstone Music Camp, Powell, Wyo., and is director of Rushmore National Music Camp, Keystone, S.D. He resides in Aberdeen with his wife Kari; and two daughters, Ashley and Alexis.






              Boyd Perkins

Dr. Boyd Perkins

Chair, Music Department; 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., Dr. 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 Lamda, and Phi Beta Mu.






Terry Beckler

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: 605-626-3436



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, Minn.) and Sioux Valley (Volga, S.D.) school districts.


Dr. Beckler has been a member of the 147th Army Band based in Mitchell, S.D., for more than 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. Dr. 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.






Darci Bultema

Dr. Darci Bultema

Applied Voice, Music Appreciation, Opera


B.S. North Dakota State University

M.M., G.P.D. Peabody Conservatory of Music

D.M.A. North Dakota State University

Office: Spafford Hall 320

Phone: 605-626-7759

Fax: 605-626-2263



Soprano Darci Bultema has performed on the operatic stage in a variety of roles, such as La Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, The Female Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and Lavinia in Bononcini’s Camilla. Originally from North Dakota, Dr. Bultema has brought her talent and versatility to opera companies across the United States via Florida Grand Opera, Tulsa Opera, Natchez Opera, Peabody Opera, and the Fargo Moorhead Opera.


In addition to her operatic repertoire, Dr. Bultema has appeared as a soloist in orchestral works with The Florida Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Miami Chamber Symphony, Peabody Symphony Orchestra, Washington, D.C. Youth Orchestra, and the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony. In these venues, her voice has been showcased in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the Chants d’Auvergne of Canteloube, Griffes’ Three Poems of Fiona Macleod, and oratorios of Bach, Handel, Haydn, and Rossini.


Dr. Bultema’s talent and promise have been recognized and nurtured through her participation as a young artist with Florida Grand Opera, Tulsa Opera, and Natchez Opera. Classical New Jersey's concert review of Bultema’s interpretation of Cilea’s Il son l’umile ancella, Son pochi fiori from Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz - and Bachelet’s exquisite art song Chére Nuit - noted “Miss Bultema’s ability to float those stratospheric notes with ease and grace” as well as her “luscious legato line, completely even production throughout the compass and sumptuous crescendos.”


Dr. Bultema was honored at Peabody Conservatory of Music with a prestigious Graduate Performance diploma. 





Paul Dutt

Mr. Paul Dutt

Adjunct, Guitar




Phone: 605-626-2497

Fax: 605-626-2263



Paul Dutt is a long time Aberdeen resident, having graduated from Roncalli High School in 1973 and Northern State College in 1977. He has retired from music education after 33 years in South Dakota public schools. Paul taught in Bristol, Mobridge, Hecla, and Northwestern, and spent 15 years in the Aberdeen Public School System.


For many years Paul has performed as percussionist, electric bassist, guitarist, and/or vocalist in many Aberdeen area performing groups. He is very grateful for the support of his wife Jean, his daughters Jessica, Cathy, Laura and Sarah, and his grandchildren, Bryant and Olivia.







Marcela Faflak

Dr. Marcela Faflak

Piano, Keyboard Literature and Piano Pedagogy


Maturita, Conservatory, Prague, Czech Republic; Absolutorium, Academy of Musical Arts (terminal degree) Prague, Czech Republic

Office: Spafford Hall 302

Phone: 605-626-7755

Fax: 605-626-2263




A native of the Czech Republic, Marcela Faflak has taught in the music schools in Prague and at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN. She is active as a performer, accompanist, and adjudicator in the upper Midwest. She has been a member of Northern's music faculty since 1996.





Marla Fogderud

Dr. Marla Fogderud

Voice, Class Voice, Study of Opera



Office: Spafford Hall 309

Phone: 605-626-2255

Fax: 605-626-2263


Marla Fogderud, soprano, is a native of North Dakota and an active stage performer and recitalist in the United States and Europe.


After receiving a bachelor's degree in voice performance from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., she studied at the Norwegian National Academy of Music in Oslo with sopranos Ingrid Bjoner and Siff Pettersen. Fogderud received a master of music degree in voice and opera from Wichita State University, where she was a student of George Gibson and the inaugural recipient of the Samuel Ramey Opera Fellowship.

She was an apprentice with Des Moines Metro Opera for the 2001 season, and has performed operatic roles with Opera Kansas, Wichita State University Opera Theater, Fargo Moorhead Opera, and Michigan State University (MSU) Opera Theater. At Michigan State she had the privilege to sing the title role in the university and eastern U.S. premier of Daniel Catan’s opera Florencia en el Amazonas, which was webcast live around the world.


She has appeared as a soloist with the Cincinnati International Chorale, Wichita Symphony, The Wichita State University Orchestra, Greater Grand Forks Symphony, MSU Concert Band, MSU Philharmonic and MSU Symphony. Fogderud has appeared on the Concordia College Faculty Recital Series, Minnesota Public Radio Regional Artist Concert broadcasts, the North Dakota Museum of Art Summer Concert Series, Plymouth Music Series (Wichita), the Nordvændt Concert Series (Minneapolis) and at the 49th National Conference of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.


Past international engagements include solo recitals in Hamar and Oslo, Norway, as well as guest lectures at the Norwegian National Academy of Music. In 2009 she attended the inaugural session of the Lotte Lehmann Akademie in Perleberg, Germany, on a full-tuition scholarship. She accepted an invitation to return to the program in 2010. Her repertoire includes not only Norwegian music, in which she specializes; but opera, art song, oratorio and chamber music from a wide variety of languages, styles and time periods.

In 2007 Fogderud completed the doctor of musical arts voice degree program at Michigan State University with the successful defense of her document, "Norwegian Art Song in the Golden Age.” 


Fogderud has served as a teacher of voice, voice pedagogy, and singing diction at Concordia College; Valley City State University, Valley City, N.D.; Wichita State University, Kansas; Michigan State University, the University of South Dakota, the University of North Dakota and Northern State University. She also is in demand as a private teacher, coach, adjudicator, and translator.





Fred Hemke

Mr. Fred Hemke

Woodwinds, Jazz Studies, Arranging, Woodwind Methods and Literature


B.A., M.M.  Northwestern University



Office: JFAC 116

Phone: 605-626-2669

Fax: 605-626-2263



Prior to his appoint at Northern, Mr. Hemke was the Director of Jazz Performance Studies and saxophone instructor at the University of Missouri-Columbia for ten years. He received his bachelor and master of music degrees from Northwestern University. He has performed as a guest artist in many international venues. He has been featured with the Amazonia Jazz Ensemble at The International Festival of Music of Pará in Belem, Brazil. He premiered new music commissioned for him in Poland with the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra and was a guest artist at the Athens International Jazz Festival with the Athens Big Band. He has taught as a visiting scholar in jazz at the Franz Liszt College of Music in Budapest Hungary and soloed at a jazz festival in that city. He has been featured as a soloist at the North American Saxophone Alliance. Mr. Hemke is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, Music Educators National Conference, the International Association of Jazz Educators, and the National Honorary Music Society Pi Kappa Lambda.







Allan Jacobson

Dr. Allan Jacobson

Music Theory, Piano, Organ, Composition


B.S. Northern State University

M.M., D.M.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison


Office: Spafford Hall 317

Phone: 605-626-7757

Fax: 605-626-2263



Dr. Allan Jacobson performs as a solo pianist, accompanist, and chamber musician. Dr. Jacobson received his undergraduate degree in music education at Northern State, and his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He has taught at NSU since 1976.





Grant Manhart

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.





Dennis McDermott

Mr. Dennis McDermott

Adjunct, Jazz Studies


B.S. Northern State University


Phone: 605-626-2497

Fax: 605-626-2263



Dennis McDermott graduated from Northern State University with a BS in Music Education in 1971. He has been involved in music education since 1972, teaching students from fifth grade through college. The last 22 years of his teaching career, he taught at Central High School in Aberdeen, S.D. His high school concert and jazz bands were very successful in concerts and competitions. Jazz I was an award-winning group winning many accolades in a tri-state area.
Throughout his career, Mr. McDermott has adjudicated numerous solo and ensemble contest, marching band festivals, regional music contests, and jazz festivals. He has performed with high school groups, college jazz bands, the Air Force “Noteables”, and jazz ensembles locally and throughout the state.
As the coordinator of the South Dakota All State Jazz event for 18 years, Mr. McDermott was able to bring in many nationally recognized music educators. The All State event was in its infancy when Mr. McDermott took on the challenge of widening the spectrum of jazz opportunities for high school musicians in the state.
In 2010, Mr. McDermott received the South Dakota Band Director of the Year Award from South Dakota Bandmasters Association, and also received the Distinguished Service Award from the South Dakota High School Activities Association.





Jessica Perkins

Ms. Jessica Perkins

Low Brass, Conducting, Music Appreciation


B.M., M.M. University of Iowa


Phone: 605-626-2497



A native of Davenport, Iowa, Jessica Perkins has led successful and innovative band and orchestra programs at all levels of instruction.  She holds a B.M. in music education and euphonium performance and a master’s degree in music education, both from the University of Iowa.  Prior to her appointment at Northern State University, she spent five years as the orchestra director at Simmons Middle School in Aberdeen, S.D.  Under her direction, the Aberdeen Honor Orchestra performed at the South Dakota Music Educators Association Conference in Rapid City. 
Before she moved to South Dakota, she served as director of bands at Xavier High School, a large high school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  During her time there, she led the band to the first Division “I” ratings in both marching band and concert band in the history of the school. 
Perkins maintains an active schedule as a euphonium soloist, having been featured with high school, community, and university bands and orchestras throughout Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota.  In 2000, Perkins was the winner of the Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Brass Solo Artist competition, as well as the University of Iowa Concerto Competition.  She also appeared as a featured guest artist at the Hawkeye Regional Tuba-Euphonium Conference at the University of Iowa.  She is a board member of the South Dakota Music Educators Association, where she serves as the editor of The South Dakota Musician, the official publication of the SDMEA.  Perkins has also been the staff music arranger for the NSU Marching Wolves since 2008.





Michael Skyles

Mr. Michael Skyles

Applied Voice, Opera, Musical Theater


B.M.E. University of Illinois

M.M. Cleveland Institute of Music

D.M.A. North Dakota (currently)


Office: Spafford Hall 301A

Phone: 605-626-7754

Fax: 605-626-2263



Tenor Michael Skyles has joined the music faculty at NSU.  Mr. Skyles received a BS in music education from the University of Illinois in 1992.  His masters of music was obtained at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1996.  Currently, he is pursuing a DMA in performance at North Dakota State University. 

Born and raised in the Chicago area, he previously maintained a private voice studio and taught voice at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.  He performed with a number of opera companies across the United States including Lyric Opera Cleveland, Natchez Opera in Mississippi, Florida State Opera, and Brevard Opera in North Carolina.  In recent engagements, Mr. Skyles has performed the roles of Spoletta in Fargo Moorhead Opera’s production of Tosca, Mr. Erlanson in Muddy River Opera’s production of A Little Night Music, Ferrando in CandleOpera’s production of Cosi fan tutte, Rodolfo in N.O.V.A.’s production of La bohème, Arturo in Bowen Park Opera’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor, and Larry/Matt in Face on the Barroom Floor with Fargo Moorhead Opera.

Mr. Skyle's concert performances have included the Schütz Musikalische Exequien with Early Music Chicago, Bach’s Magnificat with Urban Baroque in Chicago, Handel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Mass in G, and other varied concert works around the country.  He has also performed as a professional member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and the Grant Park Symphony Chorus.  Upcoming engagements include Le Remendado in Carmen with Fargo Moorhead Opera.







Wendy vanGent

Dr. Wendy vanGent

Music Education

Vocal Jazz Ensemble,

Student Teacher Supervision


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, 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 10 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.





Robert Vodnoy

Dr. Robert Vodnoy

Director of University/Civic Symphony, Strings, String Pedagogy and Literature, Music History


B.M., M.M. University of Hartford

D.M. Indiana University


Personal Page


Office: JFAC 109

Phone: 605-626-2519

Fax: 605-626-2263



Dr. Robert Vodnoy holds a BM summa cum laude and an MM in composition from the University of Hartford. His DMUS in Conducting is from Indiana University. He also studied with Charles Bruck at the Monteux Center for Conductors and Orchestral Training. Vodnoy has guest-conducted numerous orchestras, including the Bellevue Philharmonic, Mississippi Symphony, Orchestra of the Colorado Music Festival, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Czech National Symphony, National Philharmonic of Taiwan, and the Seoul Philharmonic. In 2001, he led the American International Youth Orchestra on a tour of China. He was music director of the Southwest Michigan Symphony and the Northwest Indiana Symphony and an adjunct professor of music at Valparaiso University. He continues as music director of the Whiting Park Festival Orchestra.






William Wieland

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, Ill., 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.


Timothy Woods

Dr. Timothy Woods

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



In addition to conducting the Collegiate Choir, Chamber Singers, and Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Dr. Timothy Woods 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 and adjudicator, and has performed tenor solos with the Arizona Opera, Tucson Symphony and Denver Symphony Orchestra.


Emeritus Faculty

Alyce Berggren (1925-2009) - Alyce Bedrosian grew up in an Armenian family in Chicago. After earning a masters degree in piano from Northwestern University, Northern State Teachers College hired her in 1947. She carried a return train ticket from her concerned father, but never used it. Alyce was named "First Lady of Aberdeen" in 1979 and NSU Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year in 1987. Alyce taught until 1991 and continued accompanying NSU music students until 2002.  Alyce passed away in August of 2009.


Jack Berggren (1920-2004) - Dr. John Berggren was born August 10, 1920 to Harry and Laura (Peterson) Berggren at Bayard, NE. He was raised in Scottsbluff, NE where he received his primary education. He attended Hastings College, Hastings, NE where he earned his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees.

John served four years in the United States Army Air Corps in Roswell, New Mexico, where he was a surgical technician in the Medical Unit.
After the war, he earned his Master of Arts degree from Columbia University, New York, NY in 1947. The Doctorate in Music and Music Administration was granted in 1952, also from Columbia University. He continued his education and studied at the Juilliard School and the American Theatre Wing, both in New York City. While there he was a member of the Collegiate Chorale and the Robert Shaw Chorale, both under the direction of Shaw; during which time the organization performed with Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony, and in Carnegie Hall. Additional study was with Hermanus Baer at Northwestern University, at Evanston, IL.
In 1949, he came to Northern State University in Aberdeen after teaching at the University of Georgia and served as professor of vocal and choral music, and additionally as Chairman of the Division of Fine Arts.
John married Alyce Bedrosian in 1950 in Chicago, IL. John retired as Professor Emeritus in 1985 and they have continued to make Aberdeen their home.
Among the organizations, to which he belonged are the South Dakota Arts Council on which he served for eleven years, Aberdeen Community Concert Association and South Dakota Music Teachers Association, both of which he led as President, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
John was instrumental in establishing chapters of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a national music fraternity, Pi Kappa Lambda, a national music scholastic society, Sigma Alpha Iota, a women's professional music fraternity, and achieving department membership in the National Association of Schools of Music. He was also a member of the National Association of Choral Conductors and the South Dakota Educational Television Board.
As a member of the Central Opera Service, he was a District Judge of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in Chicago and Lincoln, NE. He served as Judge and Choral Clinician for many years for music contests and festivals throughout the area.
Locally, he was a member of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, a twenty-five year member of Kiwanis, and served on the YMCA Board for nine years. He was a member of various Masonic bodies, recently receiving a fifty year membership pin from the Scottsbluff lodge, and directed the Shrine Chanters, the Scottish Rite Chorus and the Elks Club Chorus for many years.
John was chairman of a committee to make South Dakota Public Radio a reality in the northeast part of the state.
In 1978, the Alyce and John Berggren Scholarship Foundation was established, and in 1982, they were awarded the Governor's Award in the Arts. The Recital Hall in the Johnson Fine Arts Center was dedicated to them in the same year, and John was recognized by the South Dakota Education Association for his years of service to music education in the State.
For many years, his direction of Handel's MESSIAH, with full orchestra and a chorus' of students, alumni and community members was his gift to the area and the beginning of the holiday season.
He was widely admired and respected by students who knew him as Dr. B and many still recall the student bus trips to Minneapolis to hear the Metropolitan Opera productions.
Surviving John are his wife, Alyce of Aberdeen, two sons, Dr. Philip Berggren of Elizabeth, CO. and Mark (Barbara) Berggren of Golden, CO. and their daughter, Isabella Perris Berggren.
John was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Jerry Berggren and Robert Berggren.

Mavis Hamre - The late Mavis Hamre graduated from NSC in 1960. She taught at various schools throughout South Dakota. She returned to NSC in 1969 and taught music education until 1985. She made significant contributions to the department, institution, community and state. In 1977, Mavis was awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award at NSC. Mavis most recently lived in Mesa, Arizona, where she kept busy in church- and music-related organizations.


Merritt Johnson (1902-1978) - Merritt Johnson grew up in Dunkirk, Ohio. He received his bachelor of music degree at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1925 and a masters of music degree at Oberlin in 1934. While an undergraduate he also taught part time and played the organ in both theater and church near his home town of Dunkirk. Early in his career, he decided to study with great teachers in preference to seeking degrees, and hence had studied with such famous musicians as Josef Lhevinne, Egon Patri, Wilhelm Middleschuldt, Leo Sowerby and Darius Milhaud. During the summer months early in his career he also attended school at Cornell University, Mills College and the American Conservatory in Chicago, IL. Mr. Johnson began teaching at Wesley College, the University of North Dakota, and in 1933 moved to Northern State College in Aberdeen, South Dakota, where he taught piano and organ, as well as harmony, counterpoint, ear training, keyboard harmony and composition. For twenty-five years Mr. Johnson was head of the piano department and for several years Director of the N.S.C. Symphony Orchestra. For forty-five years he played with the Orchestra, and for that same period was organist for the Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Aberdeen. For several years he also served as director of the church choir .

Through his years of teaching and playing, Mr. Johnson also composed extensively and published over twenty-five selections and books. He learned that his compositions have been used in the Moscow Conservatory of Music and throughout Europe, as well as Turkey, Alaska and Canada. Honors came through the years. He was the first South Dakota composer commissioned to create a work for the National Music Teachers Assn. of which he served as a board member of the North Central District for two years. He was also commissioned to write a selection for the All-State Orchestra and Chorus Festival in 1972. This was "The Prairie", for which his wife Katherine wrote the words before her death the previous year. The Fall 1971, issue of the "South Dakota Musician" was dedicated to him, and as Professor Emeritus, he was named Teacher of the Year in 1973 as he retired from a lifetime of college work. He was a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and honored by Theta Nu of Phi Alpha Sinfonia. He was a past Dean of the South Dakota Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He had been a member of the Aberdeen Rotary Club since 1933 and was a longtime member of the Aberdeen Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite and Yelduz Shrine. Merritt Johnson passed away May 10, 1978, in Aberdeen. His two daughters have followed him in musical careers, Mitta Angel in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Marcy Chanteaux in the Detroit Symphony.

Wilmer Kirschenmann - Wilmer Kirschenmann grew up in Pollock, SD, graduated from NSC in 1952 and received his Master’s degree from NSC in 1956. He went on to get his Doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado in 1970. Wilmer taught music education courses at NSC from 1964 to 1991. During his tenure at NSU, he supervised student music teachers, published several textbooks and was active in many city, state and national music organizations. He was a recipient of the Northern State University Excellent in Teaching Award and the Northern State University Service Award. Wilmer and his wife, Lorraine, reside in Aberdeen. They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.


Harvey Moen (1909-2001) - Harvey Skewis Moen was born May 20, 1909, to O.H. Moen and Anita (Skewis) Moen in Inwood, IA. He graduated from Inwood high school and earned a Bachelor of Science (Education) degree from Augustana College in Sioux Falls. He received the Master of Music Education degree from the University of Michigan and completed additional post-graduate hours from Northwestern University, the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, and Western State College in Colorado. Early in his career, Harvey taught music in several SD schools including Augustana Academy at Canton, as well as the Canton and Groton high schools. In 1935, he was selected as a member of the International Marimba Symphony Orchestra for a concert tour of Europe. Upon returning to the United States, the orchestra, consisting of 100 marimbas, played a concert in Carnegie Hall. In 1940, he was invited by Dr. N.E. Steele, president of Northern State Teachers College (now Northern State University), to establish a formal concert band program and a capella choir. Due to the shortage of band directors during World War II, he also directed bands in the Columbia, Warner, and Aberdeen schools. In 1949, he began the tradition of inviting area high school bands to participate in a mass band performance during half time of Northern’s homecoming Gypsy Day football game. Over 1,000 students presented music and maneuvers annually. This activity continued until 1962. He also began the annual Northern State Band Clinic in 1946, which continues today. Harvey was a full-time faculty member from 1940-1974 and then half time until 1978.

Harvey received numerous awards for his dedication and love of music. The South Dakota Music Educators Association honored him following 25 years of service as an All-State Band Judge. He received the Man of Music award from the Theta Nu Chapter of Sinfonia and the Distinguished Service award from the South Dakota High School Activities Association. In 1992, he was one of the six original inductees into the South Dakota Bandmasters Hall of Fame at the Shrine to Music Museum in Vermillion, SD.

Leonard Palmquist (1926-2001) - Leonard Palmquist grew up in Langford, SD and received his bachelor’s degree from Northern State Teachers College in 1948. He went on to do graduate work at several universities and earned his master’s from Northern in 1956. \ 

Palmquist taught music and other subjects in Langford, Plankinton, Clark, Aberdeen and Stratford public schools. He taught music history, applied organ and piano, exploring music, class piano and occasionally music theory at Northern State from 1955 to 1986. In 1976, Leonard and his son, David, an NSC graduate assistant at that time, introduced two courses to the music department which are still being taught to this day: Organ Literature, Registration and Materials and Class Guitar. He served as the faculty sponsor of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia for many years and as a violinist in the College-Civic Symphony until the last year of his life.

According to his daughter, Jane, Northern State played a big role in her father’s life, as well as the lives of the rest of the family. Palmquist and his wife, Alice, met at NSU, where each earned a music degree. Three of their four children also attained music or music education degrees from NSU. “I remember helping construct Gypsy Day floats as a child and as a college student…It was as a fifth grader, watching Dad make purple copy dittos of an exam that I decided to become a college professor,” she explained.
In addition to his many contributions at NSU, Palmquist was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where he was organist and choir director from 1971 to 1988. He also was organist and choir director at Zion Lutheran Church from 1954 to 1968.

Jan Pearson - Janis Pearson retired from NSU in May 2000 after 36 years of teaching private voice, class voice, music appreciation and the study of opera. She grew up on a farm near Hecla, SD and sang in Los Angeles, CA before teaching at Northern. Her private voice students placed regularly in the annual SDMTA Collegiate Student Auditions. Other students have soloed with the University/Civic Symphony and various University ensembles. She was editor of the South Dakota Musician Magazine for many years and was the advisor for Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity for women. Jan continues to live in Aberdeen. She keeps busy with church choir, music clubs and travels frequently.


Lonn Sweet - The late Lonn Sweet was a member of the music faculty at NSU from 1974 to 2000. From Scotland, S.D., he received a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of South Dakota-Springfield. In 1976 Lonn was named Outstanding Alumnus. He served as a clinic/festival guest conductor all over the Midwest. Lonn was active in various local, state and national music organizations. His duties at Northern over the years included directing the marching/symphonic band, teaching low brass, teaching upper class music courses, serving as chair of the music/theatre department chair from 1975 to 1985 and serving as Dean of the School of Fine Arts from 1985 to 2000. In 1997 the Aberdeen Area Arts Council selected him as the Arts Educator Friend of the Arts. He recently was named to the South Dakota Bandmaster's Hall of Fame. 

Ben Vandervelde - Though he was not actually named an emeritus faculty member, Ben conducted the College/Civic Symphony and taught private strings and music theory for 21 years at NSC. For a time, he also taught orchestra students at Central High School three mornings a week. Ben retired from NSC in May of 1980 and recently passed away.