High schoolers from South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa performed and were honored March 12 during the annual Coyote Jazz Festival .
Michael Swanson, a senior music education major, dealt with the event behind the scenes alongside other student workers and faculty.
“I was working backstage,” said Swanson. “In the Knutson Theatre kinda (I was) shuffling bands in and out while still having the opportunity to listen to them perform.”
For Swanson, the event was tougher than he had imagined.
“It was kind of like controlled chaos but everyone was enjoying themselves and it was an interesting and fun event to be at,” Swanson said. “We had over 90 ensembles on campus yesterday which can be a major undertaking and sometimes we do happen to get behind but we managed to stay on schedule.”
Choirs performed all over campus; show choir was in Aalfs Auditorium, jazz choir was in Old Main and the jazz bands were in the Fine Arts building. Despite the rush across the campus, Swanson believes that it was worth the hassle.
“(It) was mostly hectic yet enjoyable and I think it turned out really well. Overall I thought it went very smoothly and everyone had a positive attitude towards it.”
Out of all the high school performances, a few stood out to Swanson.
“I’d have to say the larger schools were very notable and rightfully so because generally, you have better musicians,” he said. “But some of the smaller ensembles actually surprised me. You don’t have quite the talent level with the smaller ones but some were definitely very capable compared to the bigger schools.”
To cap the night off, Thelonius Singer, along with his ensemble, helped perform the finale.
“It was fun,” said Singer. “There were a lot of people there and there was even a bake sale.”
Singer also described what this event means for future coyotes.
“It wasn’t like ‘come to USD,’ it was more like ‘look how phenomenal you can be if you come here.'”
The Coyote Jazz Festival began in 1975 and continues to be an annual celebration of music.