John Francis Colson

John Francis Colson

Title: Professor Emeritus of Music and Music Conductor
Company: South Dakota State University School of Performing Arts
Location: Brookings, South Dakota, United States

John Francis Colson, Professor Emeritus of Music and Music Conductor at South Dakota State University School of Performing Arts, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in conducting and music education.

Drawing upon 43 years of experience in music education and conducting, Mr. Colson previously served South Dakota State University in their School of Performing Arts as the director of orchestra and brass between 1965 and 1999. Prior to joining the faculty at South Dakota State University, he served as a brass instructor at Bettendorf Middle School from 1963 to 1965 and Adams State University from 1962 to 1963. He commenced his career in 1956 as a band director at High Schools of Lake Park, Garner and Iowa City, Iowa, remaining until 1959.

Alongside his primary endeavors, Mr. Colson previously served as program coordinator for the Brookings Chamber Music Society, director of the Junior High Rushmore Music Camp and South Dakota All-State Music Camp and conductor and music director of the Civic Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he was a guest conductor for various orchestra and band festivals across the Midwestern United States, as well as the coordinator of the Contemporary American Music Festival for one decade. To date, he has conducted 142 performances of musicals and played trumpet professionally in the Tri-City Symphony and in the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra for eight years each.

Demonstrating versatility in his profession, Mr. Colson also contributed to the books “Conducting and Rehearsing the Instrumental Music Ensemble,” “Rehearsing: Critical Connections for the Instrumental Music Conductor,” “Braces and Brass” and “Rhythm and Pulse.” Notably, he has maintained affiliation with the International Trumpet Guild in his spare time. Mr. Colson holds a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Arts, both from the University of Iowa.

To attest to his success, Mr. Colson was inducted into the South Dakota Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame in 2020 and received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Service in Arts Education from the State of South Dakota in 2019. Prior, he was named an Outstanding Music Educator by the National Federation Interscholastic Association in 2001 and received a Distinguished Service Award from Phi Beta Mu in 1990.

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