World-Class Entertainment

Woodbine Productions brings top musical acts to Brookings, supports scholarships

An anonymous benefactor’s vision has attracted some of the world’s top entertainers to the Performing Arts Center on the South Dakota State University campus.

Acclaimed musical acts—from the powerful Moscow State Symphony Orchestra to the soulful Aaron Neville—have come to Brookings through a concert series that ensures 100 percent of the gross-ticket proceeds support scholarships for music students at SDSU.

Woodbine Productions is a partnership between the Music Department and the SDSU Foundation. The anonymous donor underwrites the entire cost of every show. Since Woodbine Productions was formed, seven acts have performed, generating more than $100,000 in scholarships.

“This is a gift that truly keeps on giving,” says David Reynolds, head of the Music Department. “Not only are we able to bring musicians who are at the top of their craft to our students, the campus, and the community, but the scholarship support has enabled us to offer much-needed talent scholarships to a broad number of students in our ensembles.

The Woodbine Productions concert series has featured performances as diverse as the world-renowned Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and R&B singer Aaron Neville.

“Furthermore, it has let us bring the top music students of South Dakota to SDSU as Woodbine Scholars, with significant scholarship commitment for their entire four years of school,” Reynolds continues.

Since it began in May 2008, Woodbine Productions has presented acts from as far away as Russia and as close as Minneapolis. The acts have ranged in diversity from Frankie Avalon to the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Reynolds says patrons who purchase tickets agree that the talent is exceptional, the ticket prices are remarkably affordable, and the Performing Arts Center, with the superbly acoustical Larson Memorial Concert Hall, is state-of-the-art.

“When we were told that the Moscow State Symphony would be at the Performing Arts Center this past November, we immediately requested tickets and then drove ten hours to attend the performance,” says Gene Goodale ’57 of Pekin, Illinois.

“It was an incredible event and well worth the long drive. Comparing the cost of the tickets in Chicago made this a terrific bargain. Then we learned that the ticket proceeds support scholarships for music students and that made it an even better bargain. We were happy to know we were helping music students at our alma mater.”

Gene’s wife, JoAnn ’59, agrees. “Our daughter, Julie, a professional musician in New York City and a graduate of The Julliard School (for dance, drama and music in New York City), has taught us to appreciate quality performance,” JoAnn says. “After traveling and attending performances in New York City, Chicago, Vienna, Prague and other large cities, this performance at SDSU was equal to or better than any we have attended. We look forward to returning soon to attend other performances.”

Reynolds says Woodbine Productions is unparalleled in what it is doing for Brookings and for South Dakota. “We now get calls from talent agents nationwide. They have heard about our hall, our audiences, and they call us when they are planning national tours. This is almost unheard of for a University of our size.”

To learn more about Woodbine Productions and the next performance, visit or check out Woodbine Productions on Facebook. To make an online gift in support of Woodbine scholarships, visit

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