The best liberal arts colleges have strong music programs because music plays an important role in a well-rounded education.

Dakota Wesleyan University offers two music majors, music and music education. The degrees are based on a common core of classes including music theory, music history and applied music.

Music at DWU
The Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music exists to offer our students an opportunity to develop creativity and nonlinear thought, offer praise to our creator and explore music’s important role in the enrichment of the human spirit through the pursuit of artistic excellence and through relevant and intentional classroom instruction.

In addition, our performing ensembles play a valuable public relations role for the university, serving as its representatives in performances regionally and beyond.

Performance Opportunities

No matter your major, you can perform at DWU.


Dakota Wesleyan Choir
Membership in the Dakota Wesleyan Choir is open by audition to all students. The choir performs masterworks from the Renaissance to the 20th century. The choir presents two major concerts each semester and a tour in the spring.

The Highlanders
The Highlanders is a select ensemble that performs the highest quality vocal chamber music from Renaissance polyphony to vocal jazz. The Highlanders present two major concerts each semester, tour schools and churches, and offer music for special community events. Students may audition in the fall or spring semesters, and must be a member of Wesleyan Choir to be eligible.

Singing Scotchmen/Women's Chamber Choir
The Singing Scotchmen and Women's Chamber Choir are the men's and women's a cappella ensembles on campus. They perform a wide range of music from classical to rock, pop, show tunes, gospel and spiritual.


Wesleyan Bells
The handbell choir studies, rehearses and performs diverse and challenging handbell music literature. It is open to all students who can read music and wish to learn about handbells and hand chimes.  

LyricWood String Ensemble
LyricWood is an intergenerational strings ensemble available to students. The group performs concerts throughout the year, as well as in collaboration with the Wesleyan Band and the Wesleyan Choir.

Wesleyan Band
All DWU students, of any major, are invited to join the Wesleyan Band. The band meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2 to 2:50 p.m. in Smith Hall, Room 211. You will have the opportunity to study, rehearse and perform a diverse repertoire of challenging music under the direction of Bethany Amundson.

Tiger Pep Band
The Tiger Pep Band began in fall 2015 and rehearses Monday evenings at 7 p.m. in Smith Hall, Room 211. The pep band performs during local athletic events and anyone of any major may participate. The Tiger Pep Band is under the direction of Bethany Amundson.

All DWU students are able to participate in musical theater productions, which are collaborations between the theater and music departments. The university has put on four phenomenal productions since returning to musical theatre, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat," "Damn Yankees!" “Xanadu,” "Scrooge, the Musical," and "Les Misérables.” In spring 2016, the university will produce "Godspell."

Tradition and Legacy
In the DWU music program, you will be a part of a 100-year-old tradition of music making, but your participation in the music program will help guide it towards a new legacy.
Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dakota Wesleyan University is proudly affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Members of any and all faiths are welcome and encouraged to experience an education based on learning, leadership, faith and service.
Dakota Wesleyan University has been honored as a College of Distinction through demonstration of excellence in these areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.
Dakota Wesleyan University
1200 W. University Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301
© 2015 Dakota Wesleyan University

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