The Sweet Sounds Of Harmony South Dakota


Music transcends all backgrounds and helps give life lessons. The non-profit Harmony South Dakota looks to bring that music to students who normally might not get the opportunity. 

A stage full of students with different backgrounds, but they all have the same goal: to make beautiful music. That’s exactly what the founders of Harmony South Dakota want to accomplish. 

“As a community, there really isn’t any other activity that we can do that teaches us the discipline and engages our whole body physically, mentally, emotionally. We’re learning all kinds of lessons every time we come together as a group and make music together,” executive director Dan Goeller said. 

When the non-profit started in 2014, they had 20 students. Now, it’s more than doubled to 44 students, the majority of them between 7 and 9 years old. They either sing or play instruments, and it’s leaving a lasting impact with the students.  

“I like to come here every day and play music and sing,” student Emanuel Domensco said. 

Getting to play music and sing doesn’t cost these children a penny. Many of them are from Hawthorne Elementary, which has 89 percent of students receiving free or reduced lunch. While the students enjoy their time making music, they also are taking away life lessons they will pass on to the next generation of musicians. 

Student Genesis Huezo: It’s fun to learn music and it’s sometimes challenging. 
Leland Steva: Is it good to be challenged sometimes?
Huezo: Yes.  

Harmony South Dakota is one of the non-profits that received a Sioux Empire United Way’s Community Impact Grant, a vital boost of funds to help keep the music playing. 

“Rather than say providing scholarships for kids to participate in an orchestra, we actually are creating an environment where our kids are becoming the future orchestra directors that will teach kids and pass along that opportunity to other kids,” Goeller said. 

There were 12 programs that received the grant, totaling more than $196,000. 

If you’re interested in the program, you can visit Harmony South Dakota’s website or its Facebook page. 

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