Don Downs is Director of Bands at Rapid City Stevens High School, a position he has held since the fall of 1995. In addition to his duties as Director of Bands, he is also the District Coordinator for Instrumental Music for the Rapid City School District. Currently, he is also President of the Rapid City Summer Music School, which provides summer music instruction for all students in the Rapid City area.
Don Downs received his Bachelor of Arts degree from South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, and a Masters of Science Degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. In addition, Mr. Downs was awarded the Legion of Honor Award by the John Philip Sousa Foundation in 2007 and was selected by Phi Beta Mu as South Dakota Bandmaster of the year in 2008. Mr. Downs frequently acts as an adjudicator in South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana for marching band competitions, solo and ensemble contests and large group band competitions.
As director of the Rapid City Ranger Band and one of the Co-Directors of the Rapid City Municipal Band, Mr. Don Downs has worked closely with the City of Rapid City, the Rapid City Allied Arts, and Chamber of Commerce leaders from around the Black Hills area. As a semi-professional trumpet player, Mr. Downs held the position of principal trumpet in the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra for 18 years. In addition he has served as the Secretary/Treasurer for Region 8 for the past 32 years and has had the responsibility for running the solo and ensemble contest for the past 19 years.
As President of the Rapid City Band Association, Mr. Downs continues to promote student travel and help provide music scholarships for the instrumental music students in Rapid City. The Stevens High School Band under his direction has traveled throughout Europe six times with performances in England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic and Greece.
Mr. Downs’ professional affiliations include the South Dakota Bandmasters Association, the National Band Association, and Phi Beta Mu Band Fraternity.
Helen Mogen was born and raised in Waubay and graduated from Waubay High School. She graduated from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a degree in Music Education. She has taught in North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, and is in her 25th year of teaching 5-12 instrumental music at Chester Area School.
Ms. Mogen’s concert bands have consistently earned superior ratings at Region contest and her marching bands have won numerous first place trophies in street competition. The Chester Music Program was selected as one of the top 100 in the United States in 2006. Helen was awarded the Outstanding Bandmaster Award by Phi Beta Mu in 2010.
Helen is the Chairman of Region II Music. She has served on the board of SDBA and is currently President of that organization. She is also a member and past president of the honorary band director’s fraternity, Phi Beta Mu. She is a member of SDBA, Phi Beta Mu, and NAfME.
Ms. Mogen maintains an active adjudication schedule in the state for instrumental contest and piano contests and has been the director for several band festivals. She has been on the staff of SDSU’s All State Music Camp and on the Midwest Ambassador’s of Music Tour staff.
Ms. Mogen has several private piano students and, in her spare time she loves to read and knit. She is a professional musician, playing keyboards and singing in the band “Something New,” a 2012 inductee of the South Dakota Rock’n’Roll Hall of fame. Her family life consists of 3 miniature dachshunds.
Mr. Dragoo serves as the Head Director of the Stevens High School Band. His directing responsibilities include the Symphonic Band, Silver Jazz Band, Cadet Band, Blue Raider Marching Band, and the Stevens Pep Band. Over the summer Mr. Dragoo directs the Rapid City Ranger Band, performs with the Rapid City Municipal Band, and teaches at the Rapid City Summer Band School.
Mr. Dragoo’s family consists of his wife Jenni, and his children Simone and Ethan. He is active in the Fountain Springs Church and enjoys any pastime that allows him to spend time together with his family. Finally, Mr. Dragoo is a Die-Hard Cubs Fan for life.
Mary Cogswell, is a South Dakota native, having graduated in 1987 from Sioux Falls Lincoln High School and from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN in 1991 with a B.M. in Music Education. Upon graduation, she returned to South Dakota, taught four years of 5-12 band in Marion, SD and is in her 21st year of teaching beginning band in the Brookings School District where, on average, she starts approximately 120 band students per year. Since being in Brookings, Mary created/directed the Brookings summer youth band program, directed the Brookings Elementary Beginning Band in performance for the SD Bandmaster’s convention, served as assistant conductor of the Brookings Area Summer Community Band as well a staff member of the SDSU Summer Music Camp, assisted with the Brookings High School marching band, has been a cooperating teacher with numerous SDSU music education majors, adjudicates elementary/middle school solo/ensemble contests, and currently serves as the SDHSAA All-State Band Chair. Mary is a member of SD Bandmaster’s Association and Phi Beta Mu.
Mr. Dan Carlson graduated in 1994 from Pipestone High School (MN). While in middle and high school, he marched in both the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (1988), as well as the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade (1994). In 1999, he received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. Prior to his graduation from SDSU, he student taught in Luverne, Minnesota. He also completed his Masters of Music Education Degree from the American Band College of Southern Oregon University during the summer of 2004.
Mr. Carlson was a Drum Major for the Pride of the Dakotas marching band at SDSU from 1995 through 1998. During his time at SDSU, he marched in the 1996 Inaugural Parade in Washington D.C. In 1992 and 1997 he was a member of Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps. He has been writing drills for high school and college marching bands around the country since 1996, and has also been an active clinician for drum majors around the region. Mr. Carlson is in his sixteenth year of teaching band at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Mr. Carlson performed in 2004 at the South Dakota Bandmaster’s Convention with his concert band, and assisted with the symphonic band in their appearances at the Bandmaster’s Convention in 2001, 2006, 2010, and 2013. During his time at Lincoln, the LHS Patriot Marching Band has performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in 2000 and 2008, and in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California in 2005 and 2013. In 2015, the Lincoln Band was a finalist at the Bands of America St. Louis Super Regional, placing 13th overall in finals competition. The band continues to be recognized as one of the top programs in the upper Midwest in all facets. Mr. Carlson is a member of Phi Beta Mu and the South Dakota Bandmaster’s Association, and was recently featured in School Band and Orchestra Magazine in the article “50 Directors Who Make a Difference”.
Mr. Carlson has been a director at Lincoln for the past 17 years, and has been the head director at Lincoln High School for the past three years – a position previously held by his father for 14 years (during which time they taught together as a father-son team). Dan now directs the Symphonic and Varsity Bands, as well as the marching band, and Jazz Band 1 and 3. Mr. Carlson has two daughters, Isabel and Adrienne.
Jackie Stacey was born and raised in Leola, South Dakota and graduated from Leola High School. She graduated from Northern State University with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. She has taught at Roslyn, Webster, and is currently in her 17th year of teaching High School Band at Watertown High School.
Mrs. Stacey’s concert bands, as well as her students solos and ensembles have consistently earned superior ratings at Region Music Contest. She is an active adjudicator for various instrumental music contests and band festivals. Mrs. Stacey is a member of SDBA, Phi Beta Mu, and SDMEA. Mrs. Stacey is the current secretary/treasurer for Phi Beta Mu and has been in this position for the past 17 years. She served on the South Dakota Music Advisory Board from 2010 -2015. She is also involved in the Watertown Community Concert Association, where she is a board member, the Watertown Community Band, and the Watertown 1 to 1 to 1 mentoring program. Mrs. Stacey was honored as the Watertown District Teacher of the year for 2015. Mrs. Stacey was also chosen as the 2015 SDHSAA Distinguished Service Award winner.
Mrs. Stacey is married to Darrell, who is the Assistant Superintendant of the Watertown School District. They have 3 children, Taylor who is a Sophomore at Augustana College, and twins, Logan and Maryn who are Sophomores at Watertown High School. In her free time, she enjoys attending and watching her children’s various events.
Mr. Patzlaff is an active adjudicator for grade and high school contests in both South Dakota and Nebraska and has been guest director for several honor band festivals. He is a member of SDMEA and SD Bandmasters Association where he has served on the board and is currently the administrator for the SDBA State Grade Contests. For the past 6 years he has been on staff with the Jr High Rushmore Music Camp in Aberdeen. Mr. Patzlaff is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Phi Beta Mu.
Under his direction, Platte-Geddes has consistently earned top ratings at solo/ ensemble and large group contests as well as street marching competitions. His bands have been selected for performance at our state in-service 3 times.
In 2016 he was named one of the “50 Directors That Make a Difference” in School Band and Orchestra Magazine. He lives with his wife, Martha, on their acreage outside of Platte where he raises sheep and does wood-working in his spare time. They have 3 grown children: John, Amber, and Ben.