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Watchdog Hall of Fame--Fine Arts
Watchdog Hall of Fame--Fine Arts
Brian Field
Thursday, September 05, 2019

Mr. Dennis Hegg graduated from Dell Rapids High School in 1964, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Augustana College in 1968, and his Master of Music degree from the University of South Dakota in 1976.

Mr. Hegg taught for 33 years in public schools at Baltic, Beresford, Dell Rapids, and Madison.  He elevated the Beresford High School Band to excellence during his eight years as the band director from 1971-79.  During his time at Beresford, Mr. Hegg had 29 students selected to the South Dakota All-State Band and Orchestra.  His Beresford High School bands won numerous awards and honors while he instilled a love of music in hundreds of students.  This success continued throughout his entire career.  Mr. Hegg had a zest for directing marching band for which he composed drum cadences.

In his first year as the band director at Beresford High School in 1971-72, his marching band won both the field and street competition at the Band Days in Brookings, SD.  That same year, he also had five seniors and one junior selected to All-State Band, including Paul Runyan who was chosen as the section principal of the tubas.  Paul was one of 101 high school students in the United States selected to the McDonald’s All-American Marching Band and marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and the New Years’ Day Parade at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  Mr. Hegg’s BHS Concert Band received superior ratings at the Region Large Group Contest and his concert band was selected as one of two bands to play at the annual SD Bandmasters Convention.

During Mr. Hegg’s second year in 1972-73, the BHS Marching Band and Concert Band traveled to Winnipeg, Canada for the Manitoba Manisphere and they came home with the Class “A” Concert and Class “A” Marching Band first place trophies.  The BHS Marching Band also won the Dakota Wesleyan University Blue and White Days Marching Band competition.  Once again, Mr. Hegg’s BHS Concert Band received superior ratings at the Region Large Group Contest.

During the summer of 1973, Mr. Hegg’s BHS Marching Band traveled to the Indianapolis 500.  During the 1973-74 school year, the BHS Marching Band won the American Legion Convention Marching Contest in Sioux Falls.  He had five students that were selected to All-State Band.  His small groups and ensembles competed at Mitchell and came home with first place.

During the 1974-75 school year, the BHS Marching Band received first place in both the field and street marching competitions at the Luverne Tri-State Festival.  Once again, five students were selected to the All-State Band and one student to All-State Orchestra.  In June, the band traveled to Illinois for the Midwest National Band Competition.

During the 1975-76 school year, six students were selected to All-State Band. 

During the 1976-77 school year, the BHS Marching Band won the field competition at the Tri-State Band Festival in Luverne.  They also won the field competition at Sioux Falls College Band Festival.  One student was selected into the All-State Orchestra and one student was selected into All-State Band.  BHS band students received eleven superior ratings at the Region Solo and Ensemble Contest.

During the 1977-78 school year, the BHS Band raised enough money to go on a band trip to Canada.  Their annual beef dinner, paper drives, and picking up corn in farmers’ fields helped raise the needed funds.  Four students were selected to All-State Band.

The 1978-79 school year was Mr. Hegg’s last year as the director of the BHS Band.  One student was selected into the All-State Band.  From the 1979 annual, “We would like to acknowledge the people who received special awards and say a special thanks to Mr. Hegg for a job well done.  This is the last year that the ‘Beresford High School Band’ will be under the ‘Direction of Mr. Dennis Hegg.’  Under his guidance and firm hand, the band was able to win many trophies and feel a special pride for being a part of such a fine group.  He will leave in everyone’s mind, memories that can never be replaced.” 

In 1995, Mr. Hegg served as Master of Ceremonies for the Sioux Falls Municipal Band and became their director in 1996 and 1997.  In 1997, the Spirit of Madison Marching Band performed in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California.  Mr. Hegg was the director of bands at Dakota State University from 2001 until his retirement in 2009.  Prior to that, he was a former president and secretary-treasurer of the South Dakota Bandmasters Association.  In 2003, he was awarded the National Citation for Music by the National Federation of High Schools.  In March of 2012, Mr. Hegg was inducted into the South Dakota Band Masters Hall of Fame.

Mr. Hegg was very active in the communities of the schools that he taught.  He directed church choirs, dozens of plays and musicals, and organized a gospel group in Beresford for which he sang, wrote songs, and played guitar.  Mr. Hegg was a charter member of the Optimist Club in Dell Rapids and held the office of District Lieutenant Governor.  He served on the Madison School Board and was president of the St. John Lutheran Church congregation in Madison. 

Mr. Hegg passed away on June 23, 2012.  He is survived by his wife, Barbara of Sioux Falls and his three sons, Jeremy, Jason (daughter Allison), and Jonathon of Sioux Falls.  His legacy and passion for the love of music lives on through his sons (the Hegg Brothers) and all of the students, schools, and communities that he influenced throughout his life.

Congratulations to the family of Mr. Dennis Hegg, our Watchdog Hall of Fame Fine Arts inductee!