Northern Plains Music Festival

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Department of Arts and Letters

Call 701-502-4466

Dickinson State University's music program will host the 65th Annual Northern Plains Music Festival November 11-12, 2022. This festival features auditioned musicians from more than 25 different high schools in North Dakota, Montana, and South Dakota. The Northern Plains Music Festival consists of three different musical groups: Mixed Choir, Treble Choir and Concert Band.

In addition to rehearsals, high school music directors will be able to attend several workshops for continuing education credit.

Northern Plains Guest Conductors

Concert Band – Dr. John Darling

John Darling portrait

Dr. John Darling is currently a Professor of Music at Bismarck State College. He is the conductor of the BSC Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble, and teaches instrumental conducting, music theory, and music technology courses. He joined the faculty of BSC in the summer of 2003 after serving two years as the Assistant Director of Bands at Rutgers University. He has degrees from The University of the State of New York (A.A. and B.A.), Virginia Commonwealth University (M.M. in conducting), and The Ohio State University (D.M.A. in conducting). Dr. Darling stays active as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the upper Midwest. He assumed the duties as the director of the Bismarck Mandan Wind Ensemble in 2011 and was appointed as the full time conductor of the West River Winds summer community band in 2015. He teaches at the International Music Camp in Dunseith during the summer and is Vice President of the Alpha Gamma North Dakota Chapter of Phi Beta Mu International School Bandmaster Fraternity. Dr. Darling retired after a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Army band program in which he served as a saxophone player, a music theory and ear training instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music, and as the director of Army bands in South Carolina, Korea, Virginia, and Hawaii.

Treble Choir – Ms. Cheryl McIntyre

Cheryl McIntyre portrait

Cheryl McIntyre has her Master’s in Music Education from Minnesota State University at Mankato and her Bachelor’s Degree in Music and English Education from Northern State University. She has been teaching high school choir at Jamestown High School for the past 28 years. The Jamestown High School Choir was selected as the ND Governor’s Choir in 2009 & 2022. Mrs. McIntyre was selected as NDMEA’s Music Educator of the Year in 2014. She was awarded Zonta’s Outstanding Women Leader Award in Jamestown this spring. In 2015-2019, Mrs. McIntyre conducted the Northern Ambassadors Choir on their European Tours. Mrs. McIntyre has served as the All State Music Chair for the state of North Dakota. She is currently the Past President and Membership Chair for NDACDA. Mrs. McIntyre has been an adjudicator for regional and state music festivals. She guest directed the ND ACDA Treble Choir at the State Convention. Her choir performed at the state convention for North Dakota ACDA. In 2022 she was awarded the NDACDA Choral Director of the Year. She enjoys playing music for area churches & nursing homes and sharing the joy that music can bring.

Mixed Choir – Dr. Brent Rogers

Brent Rogers Portrait

Since the fall of 2015, Dr. Brent Rogers has served as Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Dickinson State University, where he conducts the DSU Chorale, DSU Chamber Singers, and Dickinson Choral Union. Under his direction, the DSU choirs have been consistently praised for their performances, and continue to draw larger and larger audiences, including a full house for their 2015 holiday concert at Assumption Abbey in Richardton. Recently, Dr. Rogers and the DSU choirs were honored by a personal invitation to perform Mozart’s Requiem as part of a festival choir at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall in March of 2017. 

As a graduate student at the University of Arizona, Dr. Rogers was awarded a prestigious graduate assistantship to serve as conductor of the UA Collegium Musicum, the University’s primary early music ensemble. His performances with the Collegium showcased a wide variety of well-known and lesser-known repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and often included choral-orchestral works. Prior to coming to UA, Dr. Rogers served as Professor of Music at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Arizona, where he conducted the AWC Chamber Singers and Yuma Chorale. Under his direction, the Chamber Singers gave their premiere performance at the Northern Arizona University Jazz/Madrigal Festival, where they were praised by their adjudicator as being among the finest ensembles at the Festival. 

Dr. Rogers’ first two years of college were spent pursuing a degree in piano performance, after which he changed his major to choral music education, and transferred to Brigham Young University, where he sang for five years with the internationally-acclaimed BYU Singers. For three of those years he served as their assistant conductor while pursuing a master’s degree in choral conducting. During his time in grad school at BYU and UA, Dr. Rogers had the unique opportunity to participate in choral music making at a very high level in an unusually broad range of repertoire, from intimate and unaccompanied to large-scale symphonic, and from the Renaissance up through the present day. He has consistently been asked to serve as a soloist in the choral ensembles in which he sings, and has also sung professionally with the Tucson Chamber Artists and Brevitas. As a solo singer, Dr. Rogers performs regularly in recital and concert, including a performance as the baritone soloist in the 2016 production of Handel’s Messiah in Bismarck. He also appears regularly as a collaborative pianist with singers and instrumentalists. 

In addition to his activities as a conductor and singer, Dr. Rogers teaches courses in Aural Skills, Vocal Methods, Lyric Diction, Conducting, Music History, and Music Education. He has a particular passion for diction, and enjoys helping students to understand the nuances of foreign language pronunciation. His research interests include choral music in the Medieval period, and the nineteenth-century French Requiem tradition. His article on Camille Saint-Saëns’s Requiem will appear in the May 2018 issue of the Choral Journal.