Six individuals with Yankton School District ties who have been instrumental in the arts will be inducted into the Yankton High School Fine Arts Hall of Fame Thursday, April 30.
This year’s inductees include Kato Buss, Ph.D.; Carolyn Becker; Kathryn Reimler; Christina Madsen; and Cheryl and Terry Winter.
A Fine Arts Hall of Fame Social is set for 6:30 p.m. April 30 in the YHS Commons, followed by the induction ceremony in the YHS/Summit Activities Center theatre at 7:30 p.m.
Kato Buss, Ph.D.
Kato Buss is an assistant professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Central Oklahoma. He has more than 20 years experience as an actor, director, playwright and teacher.
Dr. Buss holds a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Oregon. His book, “Crockett, Cody and the Cowboy: Staging the American Frontier Hero” (University of Oklahoma Press, peer-review 2015) explores a landscape of blood-and-thunder frontier melodrama in late-19th century American theatre.
His work has been published in the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Texas Theatre Journal, Western States Theatre Review and the North-Northwest Anthology of New Plays.
Buss is a proud recipient of the Vanderford Distinguished Teacher Award (2014). His teaching career began as an Artist-in-Residence in the Lakota tribal schools of South Dakota. At UCO, he teaches acting, directing, theatre history, and dramatic literature. Kato is Assistant Chair of the Theatre Arts Department and Head of the BFA Performance Program.
Buss earned his B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from the University of South Dakota in 1995; his M.A. in Theatre Performance from Humboldt State University in 2007 and his Ph.D. in Theatre Studies from the University of Oregon in 2012.
Carolyn Becker is from Yankton and a graduate of Yankton High School. She has a Corporate Communications degree from Buena Vista University along with a minor in Music and Spanish. Her goal in high school was to own radio stations. In 2004 Riverfront Broadcasting LLC was created and she and her husband, Doyle Becker, are the only two members. They purchased their first radio stations in 2004 and currently, the company owns nine radio stations in South Dakota including KYNT, KK93, and “The Dam,” as well as six in Iowa.
Last year was an exciting year as KYNT received a Crystal Award for their community involvement and Carolyn and Doyle were chosen as South Dakota Broadcasters of the Year.
Carolyn has been married to Doyle for 18 years. He is her partner in life, business and tennis. They have four children: Brenna is 15, Gage is 11, Iyana is 6, and Zane is 4. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, tennis, golf, walking, biking, spending time with family and watching her kids in all their activities.
Growing up Carolyn took violin and dance lessons starting at 3 years old. She also started piano lessons in first grade. She was a part of the YHS choir and the swing choir where she was the choreographer for the mixed choir and the girl’s choir. She was involved in numerous theater productions both at YHS and the Lewis and Clark Theater. Her highlight was playing the role of Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady.” She attended All-State Orchestra three years and All-State Choir 1 year. She participated in Oral Interp competitions, and numerous choir and orchestra competitions. Since she was born, she also enjoyed attending the symphony to watch her dad play violin in Sioux Falls and Sioux City, Iowa. Thanks to her parents, she was born into the fine arts and is honored to follow in their footsteps.
Now it is a joy to support her children in the arts as her parents supported her. Her daughter Brenna was in the Yankton Children’s Choir for six years and danced on stage for the Lewis and Clark Theater production of “The King and I.” Brenna plays the piano, the violin, rings bells for the church bell choir, sings in the church choir and takes ballet and modern dance classes. She is part of the YHS orchestra, Choraleers and Performing Choir. Her son Gage plays the string bass in the Elementary Orchestra, Percussion in the Elementary Band, plays bells for the church, sings in youth choir at church, takes guitar and piano lessons plus has been seen on stage for Yankton Children’s Theater and Lewis and Clark Theater productions. Iyana takes ballet lessons, sings in the pilgrim choir at church, takes violin lessons, and will start piano lessons in the fall. Zane sings in the pilgrim choir at church and is a great audience member as he looks forward to becoming more involved.
Carolyn is currently involved in a variety of organizations including the small market committee for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, along with being part of the faculty for NABEF for their Broadcast Leadership Training program, which focuses on teaching the radio business to females and minorities. She is also a part of the South Dakota Broadcasters Association, a board member on the South Dakota Humanities Council, the allocations chair and board member for the United Way in Yankton, a teacher for junior achievement, a board member for the Yankton Tennis Association, a board member for the Yankton Children’s Choir, and on the United Church of Christ Growth Committee.
Kathryn Rose Reimler is from Yankton and graduated from Yankton High School in 1995. She has a B.A. in Dance, with a minor in Spanish, from the University of Iowa. She is currently a mom, dancer, and choreographer. For the last 15 years she has been teaching at the Academy of Dance and creating choreography for theaters in Yankton and the surrounding area.
Kathryn grew up in the arts and knew she wanted to continue learning and living in the arts. She started at an early age with dance classes and violin lessons. She later switched to the cello, and added piano lessons, calligraphy, and theater. In high school she was involved in orchestra, chorus, plays, musicals, oral interp, community theater, and taking and teaching many dance classes. She attended All-State Chorus and All-State Orchestra, as well as Honors Choir. Her senior year she choreographed the YHS Spring Musical.
Before she was old enough to take lessons, she attended musicals, plays and symphonies with her family. This was such a normal part of their lives that she was surprised to learn that not every kid grew up spending time at theaters and around musicians and actors. She is so thankful for her parents, David and Lelia Elder, who exposed her to many different forms of art and allowed her to participate in the arts. And ultimately, supported her in choosing a major and a career in the arts.
Moving back to Yankton and getting married right after college were not part of Kathryn’s plans. But after meeting her husband, Jim Reimler, while doing community theater together, the plans changed. Jim and Kathryn area great team-whether they are singing and dancing, directing together, or parenting. At the Lewis and Clark Theater Company, they have both directed shows together and performed together. Their first time on stage together was 3 months after their wedding for the musical, “ I Do, I Do!” This summer they will celebrate their 16th anniversary.
Kathryn and Jim have two daughters, Willa Kathryn (7) and Margaret Rose (4). They are very creative and very dramatic! They both take dance classes and art classes, and sing in choirs at church. Willa plays in the church bell choir and takes piano lessons. They have been in a number of musicals and dance performances and enjoy being on stage. And like their mother, have been raised attending musical and theatrical performances since they were born.
Most recently, Kathryn has worked for LCTC, YHS, Vermillion Community Theatre, Schmeckfest in Freeman, Freeman Academy, Mount Marty College and the University of South Dakota. She loves the variety of teaching dance classes and choreographing musicals, getting to work with different ages, levels, and experiences. She also feels blessed to be able to work with other people in this area who have a passion for the arts and being able to create with them. It is wonderful for her girls to be around all of the creativity and to have the opportunity to participate as a family.
Kathryn is also the Chair of the Lucy Palermo Weed String Competition. This is a role that her dad passed on to her, and that she continues in his memory, and in memory of Lucy and J. Laiten Weed.
Kathryn has sung in the choir at the Yankton United Church of Christ (Congregational) and provides liturgical dance for her church. Kathryn also enjoys reading, knitting, and travelling with her family.
Kathryn knew she had a passion for dance and the arts. She was blessed to have supportive, artistic parents, and to be able to obtain a great education and training. Her husband supports her and together they share in raising their kids in the arts. She loves teaching and sharing what she knows about dance, and loves that there are so many opportunities for her and her family in the Yankton area.
Christina (Elder) Madsen
Christina (Elder) Madsen currently resides in Conway, Arkansas, but was born and raised in Yankton, South Dakota and graduated from Yankton High School. She is the Associate Vice President of Communications, Public Relations, and Marketing at the University of Central Arkansas. Christina spent 12 years in the television news broadcast industry including nine years as the main anchor of the number one rated news channel in Little Rock, Arkansas, KATV Channel 7.
Christina credits her parents for her involvement in the arts at a young age. She played the violin and began taking dance classes at the young age of 3. She also performed in many shows at the Lewis and Clark Theater Company. Her favorite role was Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” She was involved in many high school plays, and also choreographed for YHS musicals and show choir. She also taught dance classes and/or assisted other dance teachers since the age of 11.
When Christina was 16, she was hired by the University of South Dakota in Vermillion to choreograph shows such as “Carnival!” and “Zorro.” She was hired by Gateway 2000 (now Gateway) to create a dance team with customer service and sales account representatives. The dance troupe travelled and performed at various sales meetings and events throughout the Midwest.
Christina originally planned to pursue a dance/theater degree, and was accepted at New York University, but she chose to attend the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis where she started down the path as a musical theater major. In Minneapolis and the surrounding area, she performed professionally at various theaters, including her dream job at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. Christina danced and sang in all 302 performances of “Can Can!” in 1999/2000. She also taught several classes at a dance studio in Prior Lake, Minnesota.
Christina graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism, and a minor in Spanish. Even as she pursued a career in broadcast news, her love for and participation in the arts continued. While as a reporter for KDLH, the CBS affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota, she took classes with Minnesota Ballet and helped promote their performances on TV. Then Christina became a reporter at KATV, the ABC affiliate in Little Rock, Arkansas, and almost immediately became involved with Ballet Arkansas. She took classes with the dancers and was a board member for two years before becoming president of the board for two years.
Christina continued to perform on stage in Ballet Arkansas’s annual production of the “Nutcracker” as Clara’s mom. She also created and produced a weekly segment called “Arkansas Arts” on KATV, which highlighted various artists and artistic events throughout the state of Arkansas. In 2013, Christina was asked to join the touring Broadway cast of “100 Years of Broadway” and sang “Seasons of Love” to three sold-out shows at the Robinson Auditorium in Little Rock. Christina and her husband, Dave, continue to sing and play guitar at various events and fundraisers, and she has recently joined the Praise Band at First United Methodist Church in Conway.
Christina is also a published author. She and her former news director, Randy Dixon, created a book in memory of Anne Pressly, a KATV anchor and reporter who was murdered in her home in 2008. The proceeds of the book sales go to a scholarship in Anne’s name.
Christina and Dave have two children, Sydney Raquel, 6, and Reagan Anne, 3. Both daughters are taking dance classes, and Sydney is also taking an art class. Christina is a member of Conway Kiwanis, is on the advisory board of Ballet Arkansas, and is an honorary member of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Her other hobbies include leading a bible study group, teaching Sunday School and cheering on the Minnesota Twins, the Minnesota Vikings and the UCA Bears.
Cheryl Winter is a December 1977 graduate from the University of South Dakota with a major in English and a minor in theatre. She then began teaching at Wall High School, where she directed the play “Up the Down Staircase.”
She then moved to Springfield High School in 1977-78, where she directed the play “Antigone,” which was a state award-winning one-act play. She also directed the musical “Guys and Dolls.” She was also coach of the state award-winning oral interpretation program.
Winter was at Gayville-Volin High School from 1979-1988, where she directed the state-honored oral interpretation program for nine years. She also served as an assistant director for the Yankton High School Drama Department for five years.
Winter was at the Yankton Middle School from 1989-2011. She directed the Yankton High School oral interpretation program for 22 years and did makeup, costuming and tech work at YHS for 15 years.
She was a member of Dakota Dance for 20 years. She was a costuming assistant for the Dakota Dance’s production of “The Nutcracker,” and she also served in the role of Judge Stahlbaum’s wife for 10 years.
Winter has also been active in the Yankton Area Summer Arts programs and has worked as fundraising co-chairperson for Yankton Area Arts.
Terry Winter came to Yankton High School in 1974 where he worked to rejuvenate the theatre program. He worked to attract all students to theatre arts and to engage them in the excitement and energy of theatre. “I hoped to make theatre as popular as football,” he said.
Winter made it an issue to vary the performances, alternating fall productions between serious and comedic shows with a musical every spring. He worked to make the one-act program one of the most competitive and successful programs in the state. Above all, Winter said he tried to stress worthy literature and respected dramatic works.
“It was and still is my opinion that high school students are capable of doing just about any challenging work on the stage that you ask of them,” he said. “I worked aggressively to initiate progressive new shows, which might challenge my students and public perceptions.”
In his tenure at YHS, he directed 66 plays, including 15 musicals and 33 one-act plays, which resulted in 28 state superior play awards and numerous acting awards.
Non-musicals included “All the Way Home,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Scapino,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Tom Jones,” “Look Homeward Angel,” “Tea House of the August Moon,” “David and Lisa,” “Lou Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander,” “Cinderella,” “Bullshot Crummond” and “Children of a Lesser God.”
Musicals included “Brigadoon,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Mame, “ West Side Story” (twice), “Once Upon a Mattress,” “Anything Goes” (twice), “Oklahoma,” “Music Man,” “Carousel,” “Godspell,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Grease” and “Li’l Abner.”
Contest One-Act Plays included “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “Equus” (twice), “Moonchildren,” “Marat Sade,” “Taming of the Shrew,” “Sly Fox,” “Oedipus Rex,” “Thieves,” “The Conference of the Birds” (assisted with El Grande de Coca Cola), “Indians,” “Noises off,” “Heimskringla,” “Our Country’s Good,” “The Tibetan Book of the Dead,” “Plays for Coarse Actors #1,” Marathon 33,” “The Mysteries: The Passion Plays for Coarse Actors #2,” “Das Barbecu,” “Trojan Women,” “Metamorphosis,” “Coarse Classics,” “Pippin,” “The Arabian Nights” and “The Peoples’ Temple.”
From 1975-1982, Winter was co-director of the Oral Interp program, during which time Yankton was the recipient of the state award for garnering at least two individual superior award performances in each state competition — actually receiving 30 individual superior awards in state competition.
As Play Production teacher, Winter and his students wrote and produced 66 separate children’s plays, based on children’s story books for area elementary schools.
Prior to coming to Yankton, Winter taught in Belview, Minnesota, and Armour where I directed 10 other productions, including three state superior One-Acts.
Winter has also directed six shows for Lewis and Clark Playhouse, including “West Side Story,” “Scapino,” You Can’t Take it with You,” Leading Ladies” and “Arsenic and Old Lace.” he also performed in “To Kill A Mockingbird, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Death of a Salesman.”
Additionally, he directed “Extremities” and “Brigadoon” at USD.
Winter has been a longtime supporter of dance in the community, and he and his wife Cheryl have performed in — and he has directed — 12 productions of the “Nutcracker” for Dakota Dance Association.
Winter has been a member of the Yankton Area Arts board and has been a supporter of the Tour of Homes. He has been a member and past president of the Dakota Theatre Board and the combined Dakota Theatre-Lewis and Clark Playhouse board. He’s directed 10 productions of Yankton’s “David Letterman Show” as a fundraiser for both Yankton Area Arts and Lewis and Clark Theatre.
“I am indebted to many people who helped me in my efforts to cultivate theatre at Yankton High School,” he said. “Specifically, during my early years in Yankton, I enjoyed good counsel and support from my colleague and friend Pat Schultz, and from 1985 until my retirement, I relied on the brilliance and generosity of the most amazing costumer, designer and friend anyone could work with, Pam Kallis. And, saving the best for last, my wife Cheryl has aided me every step of the way, tolerating hours and hours of rehearsal, doing make-up for literally thousands of students, making wigs, beards and mustaches ... chaperoning countless students during state contest, and being my indispensable sounding board for everything I tried to do.”
Winter added, “I believe that arts’ advocacy is an essential part of all education and is especially important for young people who have been the focus of my life. I don’t believe that the arts are somehow the venue for special people, but rather an absolute right for all citizens in all communities.”