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SDSO awarded the Bush Prize for Community Innovation


Pictured L to R: Chad Hutchinson, SDSYO Music Director; Doosook Kim, Dakota String Quartet; Bill Calhoun, League President; Jeffrey Paul, Dakota Wind Quintet; Maestro Delta David Gier, Music Director; Jennifer Boomgaarden, Executive Director; Dr. James R. Johnson, Chorusmaster; Pat Masek, Per Service Musician; Scott Lawrence, Board President

The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra is proud to announce that the Bush Foundation, recognizing the SDSO’s accomplishments, visionary leadership, and commitment to service, is emboldening the organization with the highly-coveted Bush Prize for Community Innovation.

The Bush Prize honors organizations for their innovative work in engaging their unique community. Winners are chosen for demonstrating a pattern of inclusive, collaborative and resourceful processes that result in innovative solutions to community challenges.


The Bush Prize includes a generous cash award to be used as “creative capital” that will serve as a catalyst to explore new ways to serve.

The SDSO was awarded the Bush Prize because the organization is shifting the paradigm of what an orchestra can and should be, thinking differently about how orchestras can engage in problem-solving by asking: “How do we use the orchestra to make our community better?” The SDSO has two signature initiatives that embody the spirit of the Bush Prize: The Lakota Music Project and Music as Medicine. The collaborative process and bold thinking behind these existing programs now serve as the SDSO’s model for the creation of new community engagement activities.

A newly-appointed committee of SDSO board members, musicians and staff, as well as community thought leaders, will make recommendations to the board on how to invest the Bush Prize to conceive, cultivate, nurture and sustain efforts that will advance the SDSO’s culture of service, innovation and relevance.

Please join the SDSO in celebrating this transformative opportunity!