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October 7, 2014

Dear Friends,

Greetings from the Valley City State University Music Department! For teachers, the New Year begins in September instead of January, and so we begin this new year with this letter and an update on the happenings in the department.

We said goodbye to two long-time faculty members in May. Dr. Beth Klingenstein retired from the university to accept the position of Executive Director of the North Dakota Council on the Arts. Dr. Sara Hagen also retired from the university, and is thoroughly enjoying her home in Minnesota and playing with her grandchildren.

While we miss the experience and wisdom of these fine professors, we are excited for the future with two new faculty members. Jason Laczkoski is our new instructor of Woodwinds, Music History, and Jazz Studies. Professor Laczkoski completed his doctoral coursework in saxophone performance at the University of Iowa, and was most recently instructor at Lycoming College in Pennsylvania. He comes to us with a wealth of performing and teaching experience. His debut CD, Come Down Heavy, was released in 2011. Laczkoski is a Yamaha Performing Artist.

Dr. Nicholaus Meyers has taught as an adjunct for two years at VCSU, and now is on a full-time basis as assistant professor in Music Theory, Percussion, and Athletic Bands. Dr. Meyers completed his D.M.A. at North Dakota State University, and is an active performer in the region. During his doctoral studies he served as assistant professor of the Gold Star Marching Band at NDSU. He performed a recital with Dr. James Adams in September here on campus, and was just chosen as a percussionist with the Fargo/Moorhead Symphony.

Our students continue to distinguish themselves as educators and performers. Our graduates in music education last year all secured full-time teaching positions in the state. Two of our students (Ben Clifton and Mimi Brown) were chosen as Presidential Innovation Award winners by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and as Artists-in-Residence with the North Dakota Council on the Arts. Their work with Dr. Sara Hagen included using technology in composing, performing, and teaching at area schools. They also presented their work at the 2014 NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA.

We thank you for your past support and ask for your continued assistance as we help the next generation of musicians and music educators to achieve their educational goals. Please consider participating in our Friends of Music drive this year. If you are a past recipient or a parent of a current or past recipient of a music scholarship, we invite you to “pay it forward” through your contribution. We also invite any who are interested in supporting our student musicians to make a contribution. See the Friends of Music document below for information.

We invite you to any of our concerts or recitals this year. Check back at our website at for information on upcoming events. In addition, please help us continue our tradition of excellence at VCSU by encouraging any young musicians you know who are considering a degree in music to consider VCSU.

Thank you again for your consideration.

With gratitude,

Christopher Redfearn, D.A.
Chair, Department of Music

Friends of Music Brochure