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Black Hills Symphony Orchestra Instrument


Your Symphony

Music Director

Bruce Knowles

First Violins

Carol Knowles, Concertmaster Amanda Swartz
Allen Cornford
Elizabeth Knowles
Meghan Knowles
Marlena Miller
Krey Warshaw
Nicole Pehrson
Kayla Giesey
Ashley Graber
Jamie St Clair-Linde
Andre Hafner
Ingrid Lane

Second Violins

Bethany Wojahn, Principal
Dori O’Connor
Katie Lautenschlager
Marilyn Maxvold
Julian Brackins
Brian Hemen
Martika Waterman
Anthony Nesland
Ingrid Anderson
Calvin Moehlman
Keithen Griffin
William Raymond


Charlie Savot, Principal
Lukas Ptacek
Haley Armstrong
Emma Porter
Jamie Beck
Susan Guthrie
Kaleb Wilkening
Gabriel Spahn
Taylor St. Clair-Linde
Gabrielle Carter
Brigit Blote
Kate Weeks
Elise Horkey


Elizabeth Benusis, Principal
Bill Evans
Martha Robinson
Sarah Hanzel
Caitlin Gerdes
Isabel MacLaughlin
Carlynn Savot
Christine Dunbar
Reagan Larson

Double Basses

Caroline Orr, Co-Principal
Anthony Thomas, Co-Principal
Sue Griffiths
Jon Dixon
Noah Brubaker
Ben Wheeler
Kathy Beagle


Julie Anderson, Principal
Helen Van Dam
Olya Bunger


Nancy Olney, Principal
Paige Werner
Karen Ly

English Horn

Nancy Olney


Deborah Knowles, Principal
Susan Skovran
Curtis Price

E-Flat Clarinet

Jami Beck

Bass Clarinet

Christine Leichtnam


Richard Turner, Co-Principal
Erika Olson, Co-Principal
Cindy Beaver

Contra Bassoon

Steve Dalton


Gina Arp, Principal
Anella Southwick
Jennifer Larson
Zarah Mattox


Christopher Hahn, Principal
Stan Hansen
Rick Hamil
Michael Brewick
Gary Hansen


Steve Solem, Principal
Mary Wickler-Peterson
Kevin Rathert

Bass Trombone

John Morgan


Mike Mathews


Elizabeth Ellender
Andrew Simco


Carol Gulbransen, Principal
Clacie Neu
Alan Temple
Andrew Belsaas


Lillie Pendleton


Diane Ketel


Nancy Olney

Personnel Director

Deborah Knowles

Stage Manager

Clacie Nue

MozartThe Mission of the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra

To provide the finest in orchestral performance and symphonic music education for the people of the Black Hills region.



Bruce Knowles, Music Director
Bruce Knowles
Music Director

In the 1930’s, a small group of string players formed the Rapid City Symphony Orchestra Society, 80 years later, the (renamed) Black Hills Symphony Orchestra has grown substantially, now employing approximately 90 musicians. Each year, the BHSO presents a program series of symphony concerts for the Black Hills area. Over the years, the orchestra has collaborated with other Black Hills area arts organizations to present larger productions. BHSO joined with Black Hills Dance Theatre to produce The Nutcracker,” with Black Hills Community Theatre for many full stage productions such as Peer Gynt, The Merry Widow, Amahl & the Night Visitors, and Dakota Choral Union for such presentations as Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat Carmina Burana, Mozart's Requiem and Verdi’s Requiem.

The Black Hills Symphony Orchestra provides many educational outreach programs and musical opportunities for kids and young people, including the Symphony Safari (4th Grade Concert,) Music in the Schools, and the Young Artist Competition.

The BHSO has had five conductors over its 80 plus year history. Alex Schneider, high school band and orchestra director, served from 1937 until 1942. Vernon Malone conducted for a time during the 40's. In 1952, violinist and businessman Arnold Rudd took the baton, until the early 70’s, at which time it was handed off to Jack Knowles. Jack Knowles served as Conductor from 1972 until 2008, when Bruce Knowles became the Symphony’s Conductor. Bruce Knowles has worked as orchestra director at Central High School for over thirty years, developing a reputation for excellent, award-winning orchestras.

Violinists who have served as Concertmaster are Mary Schneider, Briant Davis, Evelyn Conger and Coral White (1974-2006.) Our current concertmaster is violinist and music teacher, Carol Knowles.

In 1977, the Rapid City Symphony Orchestra Society was formed as a volunteer board to administer the fiscal affairs of the orchestra and raise funds for its operation. The orchestra and board were incorporated and designated as a non-profit charitable organization. The name was changed to Black Hills Symphony Orchestra in 1988 to reflect the BHSO’s commitment to the entire Black Hills area.

Local artists featured as soloists include pianists Marian Minty Sherman, Zona White, Mildred Calhoon, Edgar Swanson, Linda Joy, Roberta Bray, Mary Gormley, Michaela Lane, Diane Ketel, Mary Lou Torrey, Sue Lein and James MacInnes; violinists Arnold Rudd, Ben Munson, Coral White and Kenny Putnam; violist William Johnson; cellists Elizabeth Benusis and Bill Rounds; double bassist Bruce Knowles and Michael Hill; oboist James Treat; French hornist James Bates; and vocalists Harris Torgerson, Jane Becker, Sandy Schneider, Johanna Meier, Eric Johnson, Amanda Baum, White Eagle, and Amanda Kelts.



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