ABERDEEN, S.D. – The Aberdeen University-Civic Symphony will present the 2016 Concerto-Aria Competition at 6 p.m. Nov. 3 in Krikac Auditorium on the Northern State University campus.

Winners of the competition will perform with the orchestra at its concert on Feb. 25, 2017. This year, there will be 12 vocal competitors and eight instrumental competitors:


Christine Powers, soprano (Hot Springs)
Taylor Brekke, soprano (Mobridge)
Elsa Swanson, soprano (Chaska, Minn.)
Danica Mickelson, soprano (Miller)
Annabelle Eastman, soprano (Aberdeen)
Taylor Wall, alto (Waubay)
Emily Cruse, soprano (Huron)
Shelby Bauer, mezzo-soprano (Aberdeen)
Adam Rye, baritone (Sioux Falls)
Michael Ben Weber, baritone (Rapid City)
Salvatore Scavo, baritone (Bordertown, N.J.)
Brooke Thielbar, soprano (Hardwick, Minn.)


Tyler Smith, trombone (Tea)
Luke Bergjord, vibraphone (Aberdeen)
Kayla Nuese, clarinet (Hendricks, Minn.)
Katie Appl, saxophone (Aberdeen)
Tanner Chilson, double bass (Watertown)
Molly Royals, clarinet (Rapid City)
Jacque Bratcher, clarinet (Lead)
Kylie Rusch, piano (Bismarck, N.D.)

The competition will begin with the vocalists at 6 p.m. After a short break, the competition will continue with the instrumentalists, beginning at around 7 p.m.

Competitors must be enrolled as full-time students at NSU in the spring 2017 semester, enrolled in applied lessons on their instrument or in voice, and may not be the winner of a previous AUCS concerto competition. For repertoire, in the case of an instrumentalist, their chosen work may be a concerto movement, or a concert piece for solo instrument and orchestra. In the case of a vocal work, it may be an aria from an opera or oratorio, or piece for voice and orchestra.

“The competition is a real showcase for the talented students here at NSU,” said Dr. Robert Vodnoy, conductor of the university-civic symphony and chairman of this event. “The orchestra and our audience really look forward to hearing the winners’ performances, and the competition recital itself is a wonderful event.”

Northern music faculty member Dr. Marcela Faflak assisted Vodnoy in organizing and running the competition. Tickets for the concert are $5. Revenue helps in defraying the cost of the competition and obtaining orchestra music for the winning selections

This year’s three judges bring many years of teaching and performing experience to adjudication:

Dr. Nancy Roberts is an associate professor of voice, opera and music education at Black Hills State University. She has a bachelor's degree in voice from William Jewell College, a master's in voice from Indiana University, and a doctorate in voice from the University of Kansas, where she was a regular with KU Opera Theater. Roberts has performed roles in a number of operas and musicals, including “Amahl and the Night Visitors” at The Matthews Opera House in Spearfish.

Dr. Leigh Wakefield is an associate professor of music at Concordia College, where he teaches clarinet, chamber music and woodwind methods. During his 28 years at the college, he has also been conductor of the Concordia Cobber Band and the Concordia Jazz Ensemble.

Dr. Jay Hershberger is a blogger, musician, teacher and college professor. In addition to his primary occupation as professor of piano at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., he is also president of the American Liszt Society. His interests include reading and writing about culture, literature, music, politics, and religion.

For more information, contact robert.vodnoy@northern.edu or call 605-626-2497.