MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

March 5, 2016 

The halls and corridors at MSU are alive with the sound of music!

Bringing music opportunities to campus for Mayville State students has been a long-time thrust. We are thrilled that we are now offering band and choir participation activities for all students, and as of the fall semester of 2011, a music minor is being offered. The Mayville State music department had been greatly curtailed due to budget cuts in the early 1990s.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mike Bakken, MSU Associate Professor of Music, for his work that has been instrumental to our recent success in the music department. He has gone above and beyond to provide wonderful opportunities for our students. Mr. Bakken has just announced his plans to retire at the end of the spring semester, and a search for his replacement is underway. We are sad to see Mike go, but happy for him as he begins a new chapter in his life.

More students participate in music at Mayville State than any other activity, with the exception of football. Music participation is seen as an important component in Mayville State’s strategic enrollment management plans. Providing opportunities for involvement is not only an important aspect of recruiting students for Mayville State, but also for retaining them. Music is a great way to get students involved, and music students are generally good students who greatly enhance campus life.

All students who participate in music at Mayville State receive scholarships. Funding sources include private donations and the annual Tables du Jour event. The Traill Blazers Mayville-Portland area men’s choir also contributed proceeds from their annual performances to the scholarship fund at Mayville State during the last several years.

To help ensure that we may continue to offer these scholarships and grow the number of students who attend Mayville State and participate in band and/or choir, the MSU Foundation has established a booster club of music supporters called Music Makers. Businesses and individuals may become Music Makers with their annual gifts of $100 or more. In addition, a handful of music endowments have been established by generous private donors. Music makers help make the gift of music available to students who are in pursuit of their dreams and goals. For more information, contact MSU Foundation Executive Director John Klocke at 701-788-4787 or

The MSU music department has already had a busy year, and there is more to come. The traditional homecoming concert was held last fall, and the group presented two sold-out performances of the biennial Madrigal Feast in December.

The spring pops concert, “Kickin’ up Country,” is scheduled for Sunday, March 6 at 2:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend, and there is no admission fee. The music department spring concert is scheduled for Sunday, May 1, same time, same place. Please mark your calendar and plan to enjoy the wonderful musical talents of our students. The stage band, concert band, and concert choir will all perform at these concerts.

A fund-raising event to benefit music at Mayville State is just around the corner. Tables du Jour will be held Saturday, April 23 at the MSU Campus Center. Tables du Jour, or “tables of the day,” will feature 33 tables, each adorned in its own theme. After a time of viewing the tables, guests will be served a delicious brunch. A silent auction is also a big part of the event.

If you haven’t already experienced Tables du Jour for yourself, I assure you that it will be a morning of fun, wonderful entertainment, great food, and creative table themes. Each year, table hostesses and designers are encouraged to think outside the box, and they continue to exceed expectations year after year. If you’re interested in attending, please contact Kim Lauf at 701-261-5976. A preview event for Tables du Jour will be held Friday evening, April 22, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to come in and view the fabulously decorated tables while enjoying refreshments. Advance tickets are not required. There will be a charge of $10.00 per person at the door. Gather your friends and come to Mayville State for an evening of pure enjoyment!

We will also have the opportunity to host the North Dakota High School Activities Association Region 3 solos and ensembles contest Friday, April 15. Hosting this contest is a long-time tradition at Mayville State. Soloists and ensembles receiving star ratings at this contest will advance to the state music contest the first weekend in May. The public is invited to come to campus and listen to the performances.

Music speaks a universal language, and provides a legacy that all can enjoy. The benefits of having music at Mayville State are multi-faceted. Thank you to Mike Bakken and to Greta Paschke for the time and energy they have dedicated to make music a success story once again. We also extend our sincere gratitude to the many people who have supported the music department through their monetary gifts, as well as their time and talents.