Northern State University searchSearch | Index | Site Map   NSU DirectoryDirectory

NSU Music Home

DR. JACK BERGGREN  (1920- 2004)

Dr. John Berggren was born August 10, 1920 to Harry and Laura (Peterson) Berggren at Bayard, NE. He was raised in Scottsbluff, NE where he received his primary education. He attended Hastings College, Hastings, NE where he earned his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees.

John served four years in the United States Army Air Corps in Roswell, New Mexico, where he was a surgical technician in the Medical Unit.

After the war, he earned his Master of Arts degree from Columbia University, New York, NY in 1947. The Doctorate in Music and Music Administration was granted in 1952, also from Columbia University. He continued his education and studied at the Juilliard School and the American Theatre Wing, both in New York City. While there he was a member of the Collegiate Chorale and the Robert Shaw Chorale, both under the direction of Shaw; during which time the organization performed with Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony, and in Carnegie Hall. Additional study was with Hermanus Baer at Northwestern University, at Evanston, IL.

In 1949, he came to Northern State University in Aberdeen after teaching at the University of Georgia and served as professor of vocal and choral music, and additionally as Chairman of the Division of Fine Arts.

John married Alyce Bedrosian in 1950 in Chicago, IL. John retired as Professor Emeritus in 1985 and they have continued to make Aberdeen their home.

Among the organizations, to which he belonged are the South Dakota Arts Council on which he served for eleven years, Aberdeen Community Concert Association and South Dakota Music Teachers Association, both of which he led as President, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

John was instrumental in establishing chapters of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a national music fraternity, Pi Kappa Lambda, a national music scholastic society, Sigma Alpha Iota, a women's professional music fraternity, and achieving department membership in the National Association of Schools of Music. He was also a member of the National Association of Choral Conductors and the South Dakota Educational Television Board.

As a member of the Central Opera Service, he was a District Judge of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in Chicago and Lincoln, NE. He served as Judge and Choral Clinician for many years for music contests and festivals throughout the area.

Locally, he was a member of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, a twenty-five year member of Kiwanis, and served on the YMCA Board for nine years. He was a member of various Masonic bodies, recently receiving a fifty year membership pin from the Scottsbluff lodge, and directed the Shrine Chanters, the Scottish Rite Chorus and the Elks Club Chorus for many years.

John was chairman of a committee to make South Dakota Public Radio a reality in the northeast part of the state.

In 1978, the Alyce and John Berggren Scholarship Foundation was established, and in 1982, they were awarded the Governor's Award in the Arts. The Recital Hall in the Johnson Fine Arts Center was dedicated to them in the same year, and John was recognized by the South Dakota Education Association for his years of service to music education in the State.

For many years, his direction of Handel's MESSIAH, with full orchestra and a chorus' of students, alumni and community members was his gift to the area and the beginning of the holiday season.

He was widely admired and respected by students who knew him as Dr. B and many still recall the student bus trips to Minneapolis to hear the Metropolitan Opera productions.

Surviving John are his wife, Alyce of Aberdeen, two sons, Dr. Philip Berggren of Elizabeth, CO. and Mark (Barbara) Berggren of Golden, CO. and their daughter, Isabella Perris Berggren.

John was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Jerry Berggren and Robert Berggren.

top of page