CHADRON – Seven Chadron State College students and Music Professor Dr. Joel Schroeder attended the American Choral Directors National Conference in Cincinnati in February. The students are TJ Chadwick of Akron, Colo., Felicity Suelter of Lincoln, Madison Schafer of Sturgis, S.D., Rayne Charging Thunder of Gordon, Neb., Josh Fernau of Chadron, and Jacob Haertel and Wyatt Ellis of Hot Springs, S.D.

Chadwick said students were able to attend sessions about topics such as breathing techniques and making classrooms more inclusive, as well as see once-in-a-lifetime performances. 

Haertel said he enjoyed the music education sessions.

“I learned about what a good culture of student leadership looks like from a panel of high school students and educators who explained a model where students are given solid training, which prepares them for bigger responsibility, and then they go on to train future leaders,” Haertel said. “This design helps students grow as leaders and gives teachers more time to focus on teaching.”

Another session he found valuable was about preparing music for the choir.

“As a director, it is valuable to break down elements from the piece of music, and then integrate these elements into warmups and exercises to set your choir up for success in performance,” Haertel said.

Fernau, Schafer, Charging Thunder, and Ellis took part in an Indigenous People's Immersion Choir conducted by Dr. Jace Kaholokula Saplan.

Charging Thunder was able to talk with composer William Linthicum-Blackhorse about the Lakota piece he wrote for the choir and dedicated to victims of the Robb Elementary mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The song Linthicum-Blackhorse wrote is Chanté Wašte Hokšila, or My King-Hearted Boy in English.

“This traditional Lakota lullaby was sung by mothers to their boys, but now it’s sung to any child as the Lakota language is dying out. Sometimes, songs like these are all that some tribes have left of the language, so singing them helps to keep the language alive,” Charging Thunder said.

When Charging Thunder met the composer, she told him her mother used to sing the lullaby to her.

“He appreciated this information and was grateful I had come to the performance. It made me emotional to hear it again with such a beautiful arrangement. During rehearsals, I couldn't bring myself to sing the climax of the song, because it was so powerful and moving, it brought me to tears. It was truly an amazing experience to hear so many people singing my language and appreciating the beauty of it,” Charging Thunder said.

The Indigenous People's Immersion Choir was Charging Thunder’s favorite session.

“This choir helped me feel like maybe there is hope to bring back not only my culture and tribal songs but other tribes' cultures as well. I'm glad this Immersion Choir was created because it was the highlight of my trip,” she said.

In addition to meeting the composer of the Lakota lullaby arrangement, Charging Thunder was impressed by the conductor.

“The conductor of the Immersion Choir, Dr. Jace Kaholokula Saplan, made learning about a culture fun and interesting. It was engaging and thoughtful the way he taught us the nuances of Hawaiian culture and language,” Charging Thunder said.

Nebraska students named to Rural Health Opportunities Program

CHADRON – Chadron State College has released the names of Nebraska high school students selected for its Rural Health Opportunities Program (RHOP) following interviews earlier this year.

RHOP is a cooperative agreement between Chadron State College and the University of Nebraska Medical Center established in the early 1990s to recruit rural Nebraska high school students who will return to practice in rural areas following professional school.

Dr. Ann Buchmann, professor of Physical and Life Science, said she and her colleagues are pleased to welcome a new class of RHOP pre-health professions students.

“We always love to see our students grow from promising young high school students to mature health care professionals. RHOP has been an important pipeline to help educate and bring back health care professionals into the rural regions of Nebraska," Buchmann said.

Health Professions Program Director Kristal Kuhnel said it was exciting to be part of the process.

“They impressed us with their professionalism. They will make an impact on their communities,” Kuhnel said.                   


Liam Blaser of Duncan

Piper Craig of Norfolk

Eva McConnell of Hershey

Jayna Moses of Amelia

Natalie Papiernik of Ord

Medical Laboratory Science 

Dalton Weidner of Humphrey


Raissa Nevarez of Champion

Occupational Therapy

Mallorie Scott of O'Neill

Physician Assistant

Aubrey Barrett of Scottsbluff

Solan Bowen of Amelia

Reece Vinzant of Bertrand

Physical Therapy

Ellarey Harm of Gothenburg

Natasha Zeisler of Naper


Lindsie Leithead of Broadwater

Madysen Powell of Gering