NMM Live! Holiday Concert & Open House – USD Faculty Brass Quartet
The University of South Dakota Faculty Brass Quartet is made up of faculty from across campus. The group regularly performs for events in the music department and for other USD activities, while doing numerous school concerts each year as outreach and for recruiting purposes. The group also plays together in smaller subgroups demonstrating the uniqueness of the various combinations of conical and cylindrical bored brass instruments with piano.
Dr. Amy Laursen (horn) is the Assistant Professor of Horn at the University of South Dakota and a member of the music theory faculty. She completed her DMA in 2015 at the University of North Texas. She performs with the USD Chamber Winds and Faculty Brass Quintet, orchestras in Sioux City, IA, Sioux Center, IA, and Billings, MT, and she plays natural horn with the Orchestra of New Spain in Dallas, TX. She is also a member of the low brass trio, Trio di Velluto. Prior to teaching at USD, Dr. Laursen taught horn, theory, and music education courses at Henderson State University. Additionally, Dr. Laursen taught elementary music in Gillette, WY and enjoys her role training future elementary music educators. She is happily married to Dr. Todd Cranson, and together they have a dog, Joey. She enjoys gardening, yoga, and cooking.
Dr. Todd Cranson (tuba) is the Assistant Professor of Low Brass and Director of Athletic Bands at the University of South Dakota. Previously he taught at Henderson State University and was the executive director for the Hot Springs Music Festival. He received his DMA in 2015 from the University of Illinois where his dissertation focused on 19th Century American Bands. In addition to his enthusiasm for teaching and performing, Todd is a passionate home brewer, opened a brewery in Hot Springs National Park, and includes stops at virtually every brewery in his path when traveling! He is happily married to Dr. Amy Laursen who tolerates both his hobbies and his tuba playing!
Dr. Rolf Olson (trumpet) is Adjunct Professor of Trumpet at the University of South Dakota and Director of Choral Activities at Freeman Academy. From 2016-2022 he served as Director of Bands, Professor of Trumpet, and Chair of the Music Department at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Previously Dr. Olson taught at the University of South Dakota (1990-2015), Augustana College (1989-90) and in the SD public schools of Vermillion (1989) and Arlington (1984-1988). Dr. Olson is an active trumpet player as a member of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, the Sioux Falls Big Band, the South Dakota Brass Quintet, and the Dalesburg Cornet Band, of which he is cornet soloist and musical director. He has performed twice at International Trumpet Guild Conventions and is a frequent soloist with high school bands. He has also played professionally with the Carson & Barnes Circus Band, Gene Pitney Orchestra, and Myron Floren.
Dr. Kurt Hackemer (trombone) is Professor of History and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of South Dakota, where he has been on the faculty since 1996. He holds his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. Although administrative work takes up the majority of his time, he still teaches courses in American and European military history and finds time to play here and there on his trombone and alphorn. His research focuses on 19th century American naval and military history, most recently the world of Civil War veterans in Dakota Territory.