CARSON COVEY, a native of Winner, South Dakota, is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano at North Dakota State University. Before attending NDSU, Covey received his Bachelor of Music Education from South Dakota State University with an emphasis on piano and vocal music education. Covey’s primary instructors have been Dr. Tyler Wottrich, Dr. John Walker, Vicki Covey, and Ruby Reckling. During his undergraduate career, Covey performed solo recitals and accompanied various vocal and instrumental recitals, and he also served as an accompanist for the SDSU Statesmen, Women’s Choir, and Concert Choir. Covey was also selected as the featured performer for the SDSU Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Day (URSCAD). His duties at NDSU include accompanying voice students, instrumental students, choral ensembles, private piano teaching, and this is his second year as a participant in the NDSU Chamber Festival.
RACHELLE DIZON is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in clarinet performance at North Dakota State University, studying with Dr. Cassie Keogh. She completed her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and Master of Music degree at the University of Delaware. She performs as assistant principal clarinetist with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra and as a substitute clarinetist with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony. As a winner of the 2015-16 Concerto-Aria Competition, she performed Debussy's Premiere Rhapsodie with the NDSU University Symphony Orchestra in March 2016. In 2014, she was awarded the Edward G. and Naomi L. Jefferson Award from the University of Delaware. In the summer of 2014 and 2016, she attended the Zodiac Music Academy and Festival in Valdeblore, France, which focuses on chamber music and collaboration with composers.
BRYAN KEIDEL hails from Mandan, ND, where he began studying piano with Debbie Traynor. He has accompanied the Missoula Children's Theater and is currently teaching at the NDSU Music Academy. Keidel is a proud recipient of the Presidential Honor Scholarship from NDSU in addition to scholarships from the Challey School of Music and honorary awards from Stella Elofson and Stan & Nancy Elofson. Keidel concluded his freshman year at North Dakota State University with a solo piano recital and is pursuing a B.M. in Piano Performance.
AMY MERCER earned her masters degree in piano performance and pedagogy at Ohio University where her principal teacher was Richard Syracuse. She completed her undergraduate degree at Concordia College under David Worth. She also studied under Antoinette Perry at the Aspen Music Festival and School. She is a founding member of the Lyra Trio and performs regularly with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra. Mrs. Mercer is a nationally certified music teacher and is active in the National Federation of Music Clubs and Music Teachers’ National Association. From 2004 to 2006, she was Visiting Professor of Music at Centre College in Danville, KY. Currently, Amy is pursuing a doctorate in piano performance at North Dakota State University, studying with Robert Groves. She also teaches at Concordia College and at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, maintains a private studio, and is an independent accompanist. She resides in Fargo with her husband Shane and their three children.
From Williston, North Dakota, KRISTINA ROCKSTAD is currently studying Vocal Music Education at North Dakota State University. Her performance experiences range from local piano festivals and recitals, to accompanying for musicals, choirs, and orchestras throughout high school and into college. Kristina has been seen at North Dakota State University as a pianist in NDSU's first and second annual Chamber Music Festivals as well as an accompanist with NDSU's Wind Symphony, Cantemus, and Theatre NDSU. Other credits include accompanist for the Missoula Children’s Theatre and The Williston State College Concert Choir. In addition to performances and accompanying, Kristina is also a private piano instructor and has been teaching through the NDSU Music Academy since 2015. She began piano lessons at a young age with Ann Holmen, who was her primary teacher from elementary school through high school. She then attended Williston State College where she studied with Herb Parker Jr. and Dr. Kyle Norris and is now continuing to study piano at North Dakota State University with Dr. Robert Groves.
BENTON SCHMIDT has been playing piano since the age of five. He has performed with members of Ensemble Intercontemporain, Orchestra Iowa, and competed in several piano competitions, with an invitation to perform in the Fargo-Moorhead Rotary Club's Recital With a Cause for polio awareness. Schmidt began studying with Dr. Robert Groves while in his junior year of high school, and is now in his third year at the NDSU Challey School of Music working towards a degree in Piano Performance. He is a recipient of the Bill Euren Fellowship award, a four-year full tuition scholarship. He teaches at the NDSU Music Academy, while also maintaining a private studio and accompanying for vocalists and instrumentalists at NDSU and Concordia College. As the rehearsal pianist for the NDSU Opera, he has prepared singers for Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, HMS Pinafore, and an opera scenes recital program. He also enjoys playing in pit orchestras for Theatre NDSU and Trollwood Performing Arts School. As a violinist in high school, he was a member of the Fargo-Moorhead Area Youth Symphonies for two years. As a singer and accompanist, Schmidt performs with the NDSU Concert Choir, and assisted in preparations for their recent performance of Carmina Burana with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra.
HANNAH SWANSON is a dedicated student, pianist, and collaborative musician. She has always been passionate about music, and began studying piano at a very young age. She studied with Susan Kavanaugh at Central Lakes College for her entire high school career, except for one year she spent studying under Dr. Edward Turley of College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. She studied with Dr. Stephen Carlson at Bemidji State University from 2015-2016 before transferring to North Dakota State University. She is currently a student of Dr. Tyler Wottrich and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in piano performance. She is the recipient of the 2017 Presser Scholarship, as selected by vote of the NDSU music faculty. Hannah plays piano in a variety of contexts, and has performed as a solo pianist, accompanist, chamber group member, and jazz pianist. She played solo and collaborative repertoire in masterclasses for Dr. Kate Bae and Dr. Sally O’Reilly at the Bravo North Music Festival in July 2016, and performed with two chamber groups in the festival’s final concert. She performed in a vocal/piano duo masterclass for Rebecca Wilt in October 2016. She has performed as a collaborative pianist at the North American Saxophone Alliance Regional Conference, at the NDSU Baroque Festival, at Minnesota NATS, and at numerous student recitals at NDSU, the University of Minnesota, and Bemidji State University. Hannah currently resides in Fargo, ND, and is an involved member of the community. In addition to being a student, she is a member of the NDSU Music Student Council and a piano instructor at the NDSU Music Academy.
YECHUN WANG is currently a DMA student at NDSU. She received her Master of Music in piano performance from NDSU in May 2014. She has studied with Professor Robert Groves at NDSU’s School of Music since 2008. Before that, she received training in piano from Ms. Jialing Ma (Shanghai, China). As a participant in the 2015 NDSU Chamber Music Festival, Yechun Wang performed with members of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra. Yechun Wang was one of the two winners of the 2014-15 University Orchestra Concerto Competition jointly hosted by NDSU and MSUM and performed with the University Symphony Orchestra in March 2015.
VICTORIA WRIGHT will be entering the M.M. Collaborative Piano program at North Dakota State University in the fall semester of 2016. She graduated from Concordia College in May of 2015 with a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal music education. While at Concordia, Wright studied piano primarily with Dr. Jay Hershberger, piano pedagogy with Dr. David Worth, and voice with Dr. Anne Jennifer Nash. She sang soprano and toured nationally with The Concordia Choir. She was also awarded the 2014-2015 senior honors award and was selected to perform a movement of the Ravel piano concerto with The Concordia Orchestra. Wright has served as accompanist for The Concordia Choir, The Concordia Chapel Choir, Concordia Vocal Jazz and as a guest accompanist for The Minnesota Ballet in Duluth, MN. Along with piano performance, Wright is passionate about music education. She is currently teaching 6th grade general music in the Grand Forks Public School system.