MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

March 25, 2017 

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.

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. 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

We were very fortunate to have had Dr. Cody Hunter join the faculty at Mayville State in August, as Assistant Professor of Music. In his position, he directs the university’s flagship music ensembles of concert band and concert choir. He’s also instructing other music courses in theory and appreciation. Dr. Hunter’s background has been centered in both music education and orchestral performance, and he has had professional experience with both.

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 there was a spring pop concert a few weeks ago. The music department spring concert is scheduled for Sunday, May 7 in the Classroom Building Auditorium beginning at 2 p.m. Please mark your calendar and plan to enjoy the wonderful musical talents of our students. All are welcome to attend, and there is no admission fee.

The second annual Women in Music Concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 26 in the Classroom Building Auditorium. All of the music that will be performed is by female composers from a wide variety of genres and time periods. Freewill donations to support future music program at Mayville State will be taken at the door.

The featured composer and performer of the night will be Shaleen Helmer, a 2016 Mayville State graduate and Hannaford, N.D. native. Helmer sings and plays guitar and regularly performs her original compositions in the region with “Blind Joe” Bommersbach.

Other performers will be The Drama Queens (Joan Osland, Teresa Agnes, Samantha DeLong, Betsy Mortenson, and Greta Paschke); MSU music professors Dr. Cody Hunter, bassoon, and Greta Paschke, clarinet; Miaoquian Liu, Instructor of Horn at UND, French horn; Mei-Chuan Lin, Ph.D., music education student at UND, piano; and Mayville State University students Destiny Hicks, Lisbon, N.D., Emmalee Hall, Pembina, N.D., Shaylyn Cordova, Kahulu, Hawaii, Caylee Dodson, Houston, Texas, Elizabeth Dufault, Hine, Minn., Carlee Ellingson, Hope, N.D., Emily Wheeler, Michigan, N.D., Grace Wosick, Fargo, N.D., Katie Berge, Larimore, N.D., Maddie Gallardo, Honduras, Amber Gerszewski, Minto, N.D., Charyte Henderson, Waldorf, Md., Janine Steele, Grandin, N.D., Riley Thompson, Galesburg, N.D., Mark Eastman, Mayville, N.D., and Ben Myszkowski, Hatton, N.D.

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 Dr. Cody Hunter and to Greta Paschke for the time and energy they have dedicated to make music a success story at Mayville State. I would be remiss in not tipping my hat the Mike Bakken, who retired from Mayville State last year and was instrumental in growing the Mayville State music department during his tenure. Thanks very much, Mike! 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.