Lois Jean Harchanko, 81, died peacefully under Hospice care at her Sioux Falls home on February 8th, 2013. She was born on June 4th, 1931 in Minot, ND to Joseph and Anne Harchanko. Upon graduation from Minot High School, Lois attended Minot State College for two years before she came to Sioux Falls College, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in Music Education and Christian Education in 1955.
Lois traveled for a year as a Baptist Youth Fellowship Discipleship Intern for the American Baptist Convention and worked in the Northwestern section of the United States. Upon completing her internship, she took a position as music teacher in the Sioux Falls Public Schools. She received her Masters of Arts from Columbia University in New York in 1960. Sioux Falls College President Reuben Jeschke welcomed Lois to the staff in a half-time position as vocal music instructor in September of 1961. The next year she left the public schools to assume a full-time position in the Music Department as instructor in music education and vocal music.
In 1963, Lois founded the Madrigal Singers and presented the first of the college's now-famed Yuletide Madrigal Feaste. One of her first Madrigal groups traveled to perform at the World's Fair in New York in 1965, and generations of the Madrigal Singers have toured across America as well as in Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. She directed many full-stage musical theater productions, trained countless vocal students, and helped scores of music education majors (as well as non-majors) prepare themselves for teaching and ministry careers. She was confirmed as "Professor Emeritus" by the University of Sioux Falls faculty and Board of Trustees in 1996.
Her studies included a summer of German at the University of Salzburg in Austria and a sabbatical semester of graduate studies at the University of Hawaii, as well as other courses and clinics around the globe. Memberships included Music Educator's National Conference and the South Dakota Music Educators Association (of which she is a past president), the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the American Choral Directors Association, Delta Kappa Gamma, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, and the Fellowship of American Baptist Musicians. She has given years of active service to the Board of the Community Concerts Association in Sioux Falls and to the First Baptist Church Choir.
Lois has been involved in South Dakota All-state Orchestra and Chorus. During her sabbatical leave in 1992, Lois worked with promising vocal musicians in twenty-five area high schools, coaching over three hundred individual singers to help them prepare solos for contest and festivals. In 1984, she and three other Sioux Falls music teachers founded the Singing Boys of Sioux Falls, and she served as a director of the organization for over 25 years before retiring.
Lois is survived by her brother Ray (Dorothy) Harchanko, Worthington MN; Nieces Julie (Sal) Ippolito, Linwood NJ; Jennifer Luebeck, Bozeman MT; Wendy (Dave) Rossmiller, Mendota Heights MN; Jacquie (Doug) Bowen, Greeley CO; Nephew David (Sony) Harchanko, Eagan MN; 5 great-nieces and 6 great-nephews.
The family will be present for visitation at Miller Funeral Home, 507 South Main Avenue, from 7:00-8:30 PM on Friday Feb.15th, with Interment Saturday at Woodlawn Cemetery Saturday at 10:00 AM. Funeral celebration will be at First Baptist Church on Saturday at 1:00 PM. Memorial contributions may be made to the USF Madrigal Singers and can be directed to the USF Development Office (605)331-6590, or the Singing Boys of Sioux Falls.