Caroline (Knudson) Brown has been a leader of music as choir director, accompanist, and organist in several churches. In 1988, she started and directed a men’s chorus in Norfolk, Neb. who entertained hundreds every year and gave all proceeds to worthy community recipients. The people of Norfolk recognized her with numerous awards in recognition of her musical contributions to the community. In Rapid City, S.D., she started Bella Voice, a nine-voice women’s ensemble. In 2007, she was director/conductor of Dakota Choral Union, the 40-voice official city chorus of Rapid City and the official counterpart to the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra. A highlight of her career was when the group sang for naturalization ceremonies at Mount Rushmore, where people from all over the world took the oath of American citizenship. In 2012, Caroline assembled and directed a 130-voice chorus, accompanied by the 84-piece city band, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the historic 1972 Rapid City flood. Caroline has taught music at all levels. Her last public teaching position was in the Rapid City (S.D.) Public High Schools. She was the South Dakota State Jr. Honor Choir accompanist for 15 years. She earned a bachelor of science degree in music education from Mayville State in 1971.
Robert Gust was active as a student in the theater department at Mayville State from 1970 to 1973. He acted, directed, worked with lighting, and constructed sets. He played in numerous roles, including Captain Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" and Antonio in Shakespeare’s "The Tempest." He was named the best actor in his junior year and was inducted into Alpha Psi Omega, a national dramatic honor society. During his career as a high school drama director, he directed and designed almost 90 productions from 1973 to 2007. Competitively, his plays advanced from sub-subsection for 23 consecutive years. His student productions placed first in 16 years and second in eight years. In five different years, his students placed first at the section level. In numerous state performances, five earned “Star Performance.” Gust directed many individual award-winning actors and actresses. He was awarded a B.S.Ed. degree from Mayville State in 1973, earning a major in English and a minor and speech and theater.
Dr. Joseph Hegstad
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music education from Mayville State in 1961, Dr. Joseph Hegstad became a baritone soloist with the Singing Sergeants of the U.S. Air Force Band in Washington, D.C. He performed throughout the U.S. and abroad with this group, and highlights included performances at the White House and Carnegie Hall. He later earned advanced degrees in music in Colorado and graduated with a Ph.D. in Musical Arts Vocal Performance from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He joined the music staff at Minot (N.D.) State University in 1970. During his tenure, he became chairman of the division of music, while also directing the MSU Concert Choir, Vagabond Male Chorus, and the Jazz Madrigal Singers. He helped to establish the Master of Music degree at Minot State. He was a regular guest conductor of choral music festivals in North Dakota and the region and he often judged music festivals. Trained as a classical singer, musical theater aficionado, and jazz singer, Joseph performed regularly at local and regional events throughout his life. He was instrumental in establishing several musical groups in Minot, including the semi-professional Heritage Singers, who tour the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Hegstad was a founder of the Scandinavian festival, Norsk Hostfest. Commissioned by the International Sons of Norway, he also developed a narrative and music score for a musical presentation, “Anders Tellefson: Norwegian/American Immigrant,” and toured extensively with that production. After moving to Scottsdale, Ariz., Dr. Hegstad established Studio V, a private voice studio for children and adults. He generously shared his musical talents in the community, which included his involvement with the Scottsdale Rotary Club, of which he was a past president.
David “White Thunder” Trottier
David “White Thunder” Trottier was actively involved in the theater department at Mayville State in the 1970s. An award-winning actor, he was inducted into Alpha Psi Omega, a national dramatic honor society, in the spring of 1977. He was also a four-year letter-winner in football. He has remained active in theater throughout his life, in a variety of states and places. Trottier was appointed to the North Dakota Council on the Arts in 1990. In 1998, Governor Ed Schafer appointed him as chairman of the NDCA and he continues in this role today. He is the first Native American in North Dakota to serve as chairman of the NDCA, and he is the longest-serving board member of any state arts council in the U.S., serving continuously since 1990. A self-taught guitar player and singer, he started the North Band in 1984. The group played in the Upper Midwest from 1984 to 1996. Dave has written more than 100 original songs, two of them recorded by the North Band. Dave helped start a Toastmaster’s Club in Dunseith, N.D., and he placed high in competitions. He has enjoyed a career as a highly successful businessman. Trottier graduated from Mayville State in 1977 with a major in English and a minor in psychology.