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Friends of Music organization fosters music appreciation while supporting the BHSU Music Program

Black Hills State University student Kim Ulmen, senior instrumental music major from Kadoka, was one of 16 Friends of Music Scholarship winners last year. The Friends of Music organization is dedicated to raising funds, fostering appreciation of music, and enhancing the image of the music program at BHSU.

The Friends of Music, an organization which was first formed in 2003 when the Clare and Josef Meier Hall opened on the campus of Black Hills State University, strives to bring the BHSU community and the region together through musical events and programs while providing support for the University music programs and scholarships for students.

Dr. Janeen Larsen, who just retired after teaching in the Music Department at BHSU for more than three decades, says the University is proud of its thriving musical life and the Friends of Music organization has definitely helped the program grow.

Thanks to the generous support of the Friends of Music organization, BHSU students are being prepared for careers as music professionals in education, performance, and various related venues. Last year $7,300 in Friends of Music Scholarships were awarded to 16 students.

Larsen says the support of the BHSU music program has a long history that transcends generations. Just last semester she taught the grandsons of two former colleagues, Merlyn Aman and Dick Temple.

“The Music Department is truly the ‘heart and soul’ of Black Hills State University and has been since the University’s beginnings. On any given day at BHSU, one might hear a student recital, a faculty recital, a guest soloist, or a chamber-music recital,” Larsen says.

Faculty and students in the Music Department perform regularly in the community, providing outstanding musical experiences available to everyone. Over 50 student and faculty performances were presented last year.

“There are so many people connected to the Music Department at Black Hills State University. The Friends of Music organization has really helped students by providing money for scholarships and promoting the music programs. During these economically difficult times their support is greatly appreciated. We are grateful for all of our supporters,” says Larsen.

Friends of Music is open to all supporters of music. The mission of the group is to support and enhance the study of music at Black Hills State University by raising funds, fostering appreciation of music, and enhancing the image of the music program at BHSU.

The group serves as a network to encourage prospective students to enroll in the music program at BHSU and an opportunity for friends and alumni to support its programs and objectives.

Lori Miller, a BHSU graduate who is now an instructor of music at the University and is president of the Friends of Music group, says she loves being part of a growing and exciting music program.

“By serving as president of the Friends of Music, I look forward to ensuring scholarships are available for future music students and I look forward to building on our strong musical connections within the campus and the community,” Miller says.

Spearfish resident Constance Hubbard says she is grateful her children and family have so many cultural opportunities made possible by the University’s music program.
“Spearfish would not be the same without the enrichment provided by the BHSU Music Department,” Hubbard says.

Friends of Music fundraising activities are led by a Board of Directors, who also assist in increasing visibility and audience participation for Music Department events at BHSU. The Friends of Music funds are used primarily for music scholarships. All scholarship recipients are required to participate in music department ensembles.

BHSU offers music degrees in Music Performance and K-12 Music Education with specializations in Vocal Education and Instrumental Education. Several minors are also offered. Meier Hall houses a 280-seat recital hall; classrooms; practice rooms for bands; choirs and chamber ensembles, keyboard and computer lab; listening lab; music education room; theory room; 15 sound-proofed practice rooms; faculty studios and offices. Meier Hall is named after the founders of the Black Hills Passion Play and longtime supporters of the arts, Clare and Josef Meier. The BHSU Music Department offers six performance groups for students including Concert Band, Concert Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Black Hills Singers, Pep Band, and the Dakota Chamber Orchestra.

To become a part of the Friends of Music or for more information about this organization, contact Steve Meeker at (605) 642-6228 or

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