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ON CAMPUS: UND opera becoming more popular among students

The UND Opera Program has existed for decades, but only recently has the art form begun to grow in popularity.

Voice lecturer Wesley Lawrence said music professors have tried to make opera more appealing in recent years by holding a wider variety of classes, and it apparently has been working. In fact, the number of students enrolled in the opera workshop has increased from a mere five students last year to 22 in 2014.

Lawrence works with these students in developing their voice and stage presence so they can move on to become professionals.

“It’s my goal to get them to the point where they can get into the best grad schools in the country,” he said.

But you don’t have to major in the subject to learn about opera at UND. The department also puts on a production each year with students from a variety of departments that Lawrence says is well-attended because of student promotion.

“I wanted to make sure the kids were really involved in getting people there and they went crazy for it,” he said in regards to this year’s show. “We had just under 140 people there the first night and we maxed out the second night.”

In addition to more opera courses, the Opera Club has also helped the department grow.

“We get together on a Saturday night and watch an opera,” Lawrence said. “This is a great art form and if you know a couple things going in, it’s really enjoyable.”

Other news

  • UND spring commencement will be at 1:30 p.m. May 17 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks and is expected to be the largest commencement ceremony in the school’s history. The UND School of Law will hold a separate ceremony at 10 a.m. May 10 in the Chester Fritz Auditorium on campus, while the School of Medicine and Health Sciences will confer degrees during a ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Chester Fritz Auditorium. The ceremony will also be broadcast on Grand Forks Cable Channel 3 and streamed live at
  • The UND Chester Fritz Library has extended its building hours to while students study for finals. The new hours are 7:45 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:45 a.m. to midnight Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through May 15.
  • The XI Aeronautical Engineering Week has invited UND Professor George Bibel to speak at the conference in August in São Carlos, Brazil. Bibel, a professor of mechanical engineering, is an expert in structural failure, crashes and related areas.
  • UND Professor Jodi Bergland Holen has been named the recipient of the Elnora Danley Endowment Award. Holen intends to conduct participatory-action research with teachers in school districts around North Dakota.
  • The American Psychological Association has recognized Cindy Juntunen, professor in counseling psychology, with a presidential citation. The award distinguishes Juntunen as a nationally recognized expert in the education and training of professional psychologists.
  • UND Vice President for Student Affairs Lori Reesor has been named a Pillar of the Profession by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. The award honors members of professional distinction who have served in leadership roles in the association and have made significant lifetime contributions to the higher education field.

More info: Share higher education news at; include “Higher ed notebook” in the subject heading. To see more regional higher education news, visit the websites of UNDUniversity of Minnesota-Crookston,Northland Community and Technical CollegeMayville State University and Lake Region State College. Herald Staff Writer Dani Meyer contributed to this column. 

Anna Burleson

Anna Burleson is the higher education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of South Dakota's Mass Communication program and is originally from Watertown, S.D. Contact her with story ideas or tips by phone, email or Twitter, all of which are listed below. Examples of her work can be accessed here.

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