Tag Archives: national music museum

The Day the Music Went Quiet in Siouxland, National Music Museum, Vermillion, SD

10 Oct

I found out recently that the National Music Museum located on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD will be closing for two years for an expansion project of the museum that will add 16,000 square feet of additional space, which includes two floors and an underground level.

The National Music Museum ot the campus of the University of South Dakota, will be closing for a couple of years for expansion and renovation, seen at Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)


From reading a press release and a current newsletter I found out that the 1910 former Carnegie Library expansion will include extra display area and a new performing space. The museum currently houses 15,000 instruments plus other material associated with them. It will be expanding its restoration area and be adding a dedicated research area.

I have visited the museum a few times taking advantage of free lunch time concerts that are presented there. A real treat to hear accomplished musicians perform their stuff. I especially like the Christmas concerts which gets a person into the mood for the season.



I will be sad not to hear a Christmas concert this year or next in the museum’s current performance space. It is small and intimate like a group of friends arriving at someone’s parlor to hear a performance. Performances will continue though at other venues on campus with a scheduled Christmas performance on the books. The expansion will benefit the museum though, and its continued service to the world of music and make a living art a little easier to ensure its future and enjoyment of music lovers.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Musical History in Siouxland, National Music Museum, Vermillion, SD

24 Dec

When I attended a brown bag performance at the National Music Museum recently, I spent a little time afterwards walking around and looking at exhibits. It is amazing that some of the instruments on display which covers 2 or more centuries were crafted and played before the United States was even its own sovereign nation.


Former University of South Dakota alum, Tom Brokaw even did a voice over on a video about the museum’s collection for the public to view.

The depth of the collection is truly astounding, especially to think they are housed in the Siouxland area, at the University of South Dakota Vermillion campus. Instruments from many cultures and nations. And there are times when people expert and proficient in the field of music come to talk about the various instruments. I have not been fortunate enough to attend any of talks, but hope to in the future.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


Siouxland Christmas cheer, the South Dakota Brass Quintet, Vermillion, SD

15 Dec

Last year and this year in Siouxland I made the time to attend the Christmas brown bag lunch performance of the South Dakota Brass Quintet at the National Music Museum located on the campus of the University of South Dakota, in Vermillion. The five member group play some traditional classical music and then some holiday music, all written for brass, or re-written by a member of the group for their performance. The group includes Rolf Olson, Gary Reeves, Chuck Dibley, Jonathan Alvis and Clayton Lehman. All are affiliated one way or another with the university.


Last year I talked with Rolf Olson about the group and what its purpose is. At the 3:20 mark in the video Mr. Olson begins talking about the group. This year I recorded a few songs and shot some images of them performing and the audience in attendance. The performance space is small and is always overflowing. This year it seemed to me that more chairs were added to the performance area, and as always, hot drinks and cookies are provided to celebrate the festive Christmas performance.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Christmas in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

12 Dec

I attended a brown bag lunch performance last week in Siouxland at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, where the South Dakota Brass Quintet played some classical selections and some Christmas tunes. Group leader Rolf Olson said the group has been playing together the last 20 years, albeit with changing members in recent years. He said all of the members teach at USD, though not all in the school’s music department.

Dr. Deborah Reeves, Curator of Education and Woodwinds of the Music National Music Museum and Associate Professor of Music at USD said a new schedule is out for the brown bag lunch programs for 2014.  The spring 2014 programs are always scheduled for Fridays, 12:05- 12:55 p.m. at the National Music Museum and is free to everyone. January 24: Wilson and McKee, folk duo, Colorado;  January 31: to be announced; February 7: Was There a Piccolo Before Stars and Stripes?, USD’s  Stephanie Kocher with University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Christy Beard;  February 14: Wayne Weng, 2013 Iowa Piano Competition Winner; February 21: A Touch Of Brass, brass quintet, Nebraska;  March 7: Mat D, guitar and Americana singer, Sioux City;  March 21: In Stile Antico, NMM’s  John Koster in a lecture demonstration; March 28: Jack Norton, co-creator and co-star of “The Zinghoppers” PBS-TV series, featuring music of vaudeville jug bands;  April 4:  USD Percussion Ensemble Plays the NMM’s Guatemalan Marimbas;  April 11: Dick Kimmel, early country music master, Minnesota;  April 25: Winds of Change, USD and NMM alumna Amy Shaw, Irish flute, Minneapolis; and May 2: The National Music Museum’s Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan.



The museum itself is worth a trip and time to spend walking through numerous exhibits of musical instruments from around the world. That is, the New World, and Old World. Wind instruments, brass, Asian, South Pacific, American, rock and jazz as well pianos and variations thereof can be found there.


And there will be many more programs occurring in the next couple of weeks as churches and schools and choirs from the area present their holiday finest sharing the Christmas spirit in song and mirth and their brotherly love about the birth of a Savior.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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