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Percussion professor to present miramba pieces at Summer Performance Series

People on grass listening to concert at SDAM

Grab your lawn chairs and join in the fun at the South Dakota Art Museum on July 12, 6:00 -7:30 p.m., for the latest free concert in the Anderson Plaza Summer Performance Series! This Tuesday’s event presents Dr. Aaron Ragsdale, Director of Percussion at South Dakota State University.  

Dr. Ragsdale teaches applied percussion and percussion pedagogy, conducts the SDSU Percussion Ensemble, and serves as Assistant Director with the Pride of the Dakotas Marching Band.  Ragsdale’s program for the evening, “A Marimba Songbook,” features original compositions for marimba by Ivan Trevino, Eric Sammut, Emma O’Halloran, Patricia Isalas, Gene Koshinski, Michael Burritt, and Matthew Curlee. According to Ragsdale, “the pieces explore the tuneful side of the marimba and many are built on musical language and forms from the jazz and pop music idioms.”

This is the inaugural season for the Anderson Plaza Performances Series presented by the South Dakota Art Museum in partnership with the Brookings Arts Council.  The free performances are held on Tuesday evenings and all are welcome to attend, including families.  Lawn games and activities, a casual atmosphere, and plenty of space for running around make this a great event for children.  Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets and picnics.  There is a no-host bar (credit cards only) and modest concessions available.

June performances in the series included Kyle Knutson, the SDSU Jazz Quintet, and Sequoia Crosswhite and the Modern Day Warrior Band. In July, visitors can look forward to hoop dancing by Starr Chief Eagle accompanied by a drum ensemble on July 19th and jazz performed by the JAS Quintet on July 26th. For the final performance, free SDSU ice cream will be served!

The performances are hosted outdoors on the Anderson Plaza (located east of the Museum off the SDSU Campus Green).  Anderson Plaza was dedicated on October 22, 2010, in loving memory of Brooke Kristine Anderson (1979-2005) and gifted to the South Dakota Art Museum by her parents, Lynn A. and Diane Engh Anderson, who are also sponsoring the performance series.

SDSU Jazz Quintet on SDAM Anderson Plaza

“Anderson Plaza was designed as a gathering place,” explained Donna Merkt, director of the South Dakota Art Museum.  “The Anderson Plaza Performance Center honors that vision and has a relaxing community vibe.”  Merkt shares that the performances and the children run around are reminiscent of family reunions and that all are welcome.

The South Dakota Art Museum is located at 1036 Medary Avenue, at the intersection of Medary Avenue and Harvey Dunn Street, on the campus of South Dakota State University. Free parking is available south and west of the Museum. No permits are required in SDSU lots after 4pm. In case of inclement weather, performances will be moved into the Art Museum. For more information, please follow the Museum’s social media, visit, or call 605-688-5423.

Operational support for the South Dakota Art Museum is provided by South Dakota State University, the South Dakota Arts Council, and generous donors. The Anderson Plaza Summer Performance Series is sponsored by Lynn A. and Diane Engh Anderson and made possible through a partnership with the Brookings Arts Council.