Winners of Friends of the Arts/NSU Young Artist Competition announced

ABERDEEN, S.D. (Press Release) – At Northern State University’s Friends of the Arts/NSU Young Artist Competition, 19 talented high school juniors and seniors from South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota performed for NSU faculty judging panels throughout the event on Jan. 11.

The event, held in Johnson Fine Arts Center, offered awards with a total of $7,000 in cash prizes, including $1,000 for first-place winners of each category, $500 for second-place winners, and $250 for third-place winners.

“It was an outstanding day of performances by so many well-prepared, talented and serious music students,” said Dr. Kenneth Boulton, Dean of the School of Fine Arts. “This is one of several initiatives the faculty have implemented to raise the impact of our program throughout the state and region.”

The event was capped with an awards ceremony followed by solo performances by the top prize winners from each instrumental and vocal category.  Listed below are all prize recipients from the competition:

String Category

  • First Prize: WangSan Lester, cello (O’Gorman High School)
  • Second Prize: Christopher Kappenman, double bass (Aberdeen Central High School)
  • Third Prize:  Sarah Hayden, cello (Aberdeen Central High School)


Piano Category

  • First Prize: Daniel Wintch (Valley City High School)
  • Second Prize: Rebecca Kelley (Vermillion)
  • Third Prize: Heidi Gonzalez (Burke High School)


Woodwinds/Brass/Percussion Category

  • First Prize: Gabe Van Wassenhove, euphonium (O’Gorman High School)
  • Second Prize: Allyson Strong, flute (Mitchell Christian High School)
  • Third Prize: Mariah Koenig, alto saxophone (Chamberlain High School)


Vocal Category

  • First Prize: Cadin Kallenberger, baritone (Leola High School)
  • Second Prize: Bryn Mongeau, mezzo-soprano (Hills Beaver Creek High School)
  • Third Prize: Sarah Carr, soprano (Yankton High School)