We offer annual music education and entertainment opportunities for the region, including NSU Instrument Day, South Dakota Jazz Festival and Summer Arts Education Institute.




All high school students are welcome to attend the All-State Orchestra Workshop and learn from Aberdeen University-Civic Symphony members and Northern faculty!

  • Dr. Christopher Stanichar, assistant professor of music and AUCS director, will conduct the All-State Orchestra literature in a side-by-side reading with students and AUCS musicians
  • Dr. Stanichar will give hints about tempos and interpretations of the music
  • Students will work on the same literature required for All-State Orchestra auditions
  • Northern faculty and AUCS members will offer a question-and-answer panel and providing tips for a successful audition

Register at the door the night of the workshop. For more information, contact Dr. Stanichar.


October 5, 2022

The Northern State University Choral Leadership Workshop is designed to help vocal music instructors and high school singers prepare music for South Dakota All-State Chorus. Students need not be members of All-State Chorus to participate. Experienced conductors will also present healthy vocal techniques and helpful tips about the music. 

For information, please contact Dr. Timothy Woods.

NSU Instrument Day

November 2, 2022


The Northern State University Music Department's Instrument Day takes place at the beautiful Johnson Fine Arts Center on the NSU campus. The day begins with registration at 8:30 a.m., after which students will work side by side with experienced, expert clinicians, and instrument groups will rehearse. Large and small ensembles will perform at a 3 p.m. final concert.



Registration is open to high school and advanced middle school students who play flute, piccolo, clarinet, bass clarinet, oboe, bassoon, saxophone (alto, tenor, or bari), horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba or percussion. The fee is $15 per person and includes a T-shirt. For more information, contact Dr. Audrey Miller.


Register Now

Friends of the Arts/NSU Young Artist Competition

For Regional High School Juniors and Seniors


January 9, 2023




Learn More


Annual South Dakota Jazz Festival

January 19, 2023


Start your jazz festival season at Northern! The South Dakota Jazz Festival will be held in Johnson Fine Arts Center at Northern State University. Vocal jazz, combos, and big bands are welcome to participate in competitive and non-competitive categories to best serve musicians and music educators.


Ensembles eligible to perform at the festival

  • Big Band: A minimum of nine instrumental musicians performing with the traditional big band part assignments<
  • Jazz Combo: A maximum of eight musicians - usually with at least a bass, drums, and piano or guitar. Including instrumentalists or solo singers is very common.
  • Vocal Jazz Ensemble/Swing Choir: A vocal ensemble that performs jazz with a minimum of dancing. (No show choirs, please)
  • Details and Rules


Vocal - Dr. Wendy van Gent, wendy.vangent@northern.edu, 605-626-7753

Band - Dr. Grant Manhart, grant.manhart@northern.edu, 605-626-2982

Arts Education Institute

2023 dates TBA

NSU Campus 



The annual Arts Education Institute (AEI) offers professional development in the arts for South Dakota teachers and pre-K-12 administrators. However, you don't have to be an educator to attend AEI - everyone is welcome to enjoy this fun-filled week of learning featuring:

  • Ways to infuse the arts into classrooms
  • Curriculum development
  • Art, choral and music workshops


AEI is offered for up to three graduate, undergraduate or recertification credits (optional).  For more information, contact Ms. Shari Kosel of Arts South Dakota or NSU's  Ms. Nadya Preszler, or visit Arts South Dakota.



Band Director Institute

2023 dates tba

NSU Campus 


The Band Director Institute (BDI) is an intensive program designed to expose music teachers to the best in current and standard literature, teaching methods and materials. The institute will include new band literature sessions, master classes and clinic sessions that focus on a wide variety of teaching subjects for band directors.




BDI is offered for up to three graduate or recertification (CEU) credits. For more information, contact Ms. Shari Kosel of Arts South Dakota or NSU's Dr. Audrey Miller, or visit Arts South Dakota.



Choral Director Institute

2023 dates tba

NSU Campus 


The Choral Director Institute (CDI) is an extensive, focused program designed to introduce choral music educators to the best in current and standard literature, teaching methods and materials. This institute will include new choral literature sessions, master classes and clinic sessions that focus on a wide variety of teaching subjects for choir directors.


CDI is offered for up to three graduate or recertification (CEU) credits. For more information, contact Ms. Shari Kosel of Arts South Dakota or NSU's Dr. Timothy Woods, or visit Arts South Dakota.




July 20-23, 2022

Camp director will be James McKinney, visiting professor of music, percussion. Jazz campers will have the opportunity to play in jazz groups, take lessons and learn about improvisation, enjoy social/recreational activities and participate in nightly jam sessions.



All students will have the opportunity to participate in a jazz big band. Rehearsals will be held each day of the camp, with a final concert on Saturday. Students will learn to play in a variety of jazz styles to include swing, Latin and funk/rock.



Each student will have one lesson. Lessons help with the basics of tone and technique as well as jazz style, and include instruction in jazz improvisation.



Classes will be divided into beginning, intermediate and advanced improvisation. This is a great time for students to get their feet wet or improve skills they already have.


For more information, call 605-626-2497.



NSU Voice Camp

July 20-23, 2022


The NSU Voice Camp is the ideal camp for young singers in grades 7-12 who love to sing and want to learn more about their voice and the world of the singer-actor in a supportive atmosphere.



A typical day includes:

  • Vocal warmups
  • Health and care of your voice
  • Stage deportment
  • Song interpretation
  • Diction for singers
  • Acting
  • Jazz
  • Movement
  • Small-group ensembles and choir
  • Solo literature
  • Musical and vocal technique
  • Recreational and social activities



Each student will have one voice lesson. Lessons will focus on posture, breathing, breath support, healthy production and projection of the voice.


Students are asked to bring one prepared song - a classical art song, age-appropriate aria, folk song or musical theatre selection - to camp, which will be worked on in lessons and classes. It is helpful if the song is memorized, or close to memorized. If you do not have a song to bring to camp, one will be assigned to you to work on during lessons.


For more information, contact Dr. Darci Bultema, Voice Camp director and professor of music, voice and opera; or call 605-626-2497.



Rushmore National Music Camp: Junior High Week

July 31-Aug. 5, 2022

Johnson Fine Arts Center

NSU Campus


Band students entering grades 6-9 are welcome to attend the Rushmore National Junior High Music Camp on Northern's campus in Aberdeen. Guided by camp counselors, students stay in Northern dorms and enjoy meals in our dining hall, the Wolves' Den. The week's final concert is free and open to the public.


The camp offers many performance opportunities and individual lessons from music educators and professionals, as well as daily recreational activities. For details, visit Rushmore Music Camp.