Williston graduate earns top music award

Hunter Webster, center, a 2016 graduate of Williston High School is pictured with his Minnesota State University Moorhead Professor Jenny Dufault, left, and his accompanist Olga Donner, right. Dufault is a 1986 WHS graduate.

Making music is something students of Williston High School have long been known for.

Over the years we have penned numerous columns touting the accomplishments of former students.

Some names that we quickly recall include Quie, Knudsvig, Krenz, Johnson and Lindstrom, to name but a few.

Today we add another local student to that long list.

Enter 2016 WHS graduate Hunter Webster.

We learned Hunter is going to be a Senior Vocal Music Education major at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

That report indicated this past spring Hunter auditioned and competed against all the other music majors at school.

For his efforts Hunter was given the top scholarship that the music department can award, the Theodore Pressure Award.

In addition he earned two other scholarships, including a voice scholarship, along with an honor’s scholarship.

The combined total for his awards proved to be $7,000.

Those funds will come in handy as he has plans to go to graduate school after graduating next spring and become a Music Therapist.

“I am a candidate to graduate in May of 2020 with a degree in choral music education with hopes to go to graduate school to pursue a master’s in music therapy,” said Hunter.


Currently he is employed at Community Living Services in Fargo, working as a Direct Support Professional providing independent living assistance to those with exceptionalities.”

Hunter tells us he is also pursuing music outside of school through his involvement with his band Naivety, where he interchangeably plays bass, drums, keyboard and vocals.

This fall Hunter will be presenting his student recital where he will be performing works by W. Mozart, R. Hahn, R. Strauss, E. Fitzgerald and more.


When asked who might be influences on his musical career, Hunter pointed to his WHS music teachers Katie and Eric Rooke.

Katie is the choral director and Eric oversees the instrumental instruction at WHS.

Hunter also tabbed his friends Seth Babbitt and Ian Kalil as being among his main musical influences.

Hunter’s family includes his parents Richard Webster and Holly Volk, along with his little sister Capri Volk, and older sister Marie Tillema.

“I am sure this will make my parents proud, which is always an aim of mine,” said Hunter.


Another individual very proud of Hunter is Jenny Dufault, PhD, who serves as the Professor of Vocal Music and Coordinator of the Voice Program at MSUM.

What’s neat about this is, 30 years after graduating from WHS in 1986, Jenny finds herself now in a position to instruct this talented Williston student.

“Hunter is an extremely talented and caring young man. It will be interesting to follow where his life takes him. If he chooses a life as a music therapist, teacher or as a performer, I know he will be successful,” said Jenny.

Success is something Jenny knows a thing or two about.

The daughter of Dr. Jerome and JoAnn Olson of Williston, Jenny indicated there were “too many musical influences, to name them all,” during her time growing up in Williston.


Jenny noted she grew up in Williston singing, playing piano and performing as “a typical music nerd.”

She began her formal voice training in Minnesota at St. Cloud State University before making several moves, with the last stop being Boston University.

She was quoted as saying, “you could say that I spent my twenties traveling around the country teaching, performing and studying music.

The thought of a steady income and a retirement plan lured her to Minnesota State University Moorhead, where she began as a voice instructor.

She indicated, “it feels,” like everything she had done led her to Moorhead.


Dufault has been busy teaching and performing for two decades in the Fargo/Moorhead area.

Throughout, she credits her husband Christopher Dufault as being “my accomplice in mischief, my all in conflict, my greatest fan and my toughest adversary.”

The couple was married in 2003 and have two children, Jaron and Lillian.

We seize this opportunity to send out a Scope Salute to Hunter and Jenny, while looking forward to an opportunity to share more good news in the near future.


Speaking of music, it’s hard to believe it is nearly 20 years since we added the Teddy Talent Trek as a part of the Williston Sports & Recreation Show.

This event has served as a great outlet, offering the winners in vocal and variety divisions an opportunity to perform on the big stage in Medora.

While we got the flame ignited, the reins have been turned over to Vivian Kalmik, who has done a great job carrying the torch.

We learned winners of the 2019 TTT included:


1st Place, and performing in Medora: the Band “A Capital In Ruins”--Drake Flournoy, Gabe Garvin, Dylan Slemin, Zac Zimmerman and Justin Redick.

2nd Place: Dillon Rykard

3rd Place: Madison Lackey

4th Place: Noelia Salcedo


1st place, and performing in Medora, is a Sister dance duo of Kat & Emy Canerdy musical theatre dance to Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.

2nd Place: Crusader Percussion Ensemble

3rd Place: Rita Johnson(Dance)

4th Place: Sadie Olson(Dance)

2020 WILL BE 20

Vivian tells us the committee is very appreciative of the 2019 sponsors. They include the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, Nemont, Cherry Creek Media, Williston Herald and the Williston Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Newer sponsors include Western Cooperative Credit Union, Williston Thursday Musical Club and The Old Armory.

Admission donations received at the door this year will go towards music scholarships to the International Music Camp.

No date has been set yet for the performances in Medora.

At the same time, the 2020 TTT Committee will be trying to find and contact winners from over the past 20 years.

You can contact Vivian at (701) 770-4525 or leave a message at the Williston CVB if you can help.


Here’s something neat we want to share with you.

While Duane Anderson has passed on, his wish was to have a gathering where folks could gather and celebrate his life.

When you talk music or entertainment, Duane was the first one to be front and center.

Over the years he assisted with the music programs, including the Williston Concert Association, while assisting Entertainment, Inc.! whenever he could.

We considered Duane to be a great friend, as he stepped up to help with getting items in place for the Virgil Syverson Performance Center.

His brother Keith notes a gathering will be from 3-5 p.m. on July 20 at his house at 311 6th St. N.E. in Crosby.

This will be in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Divide County Threshing Bee.

Here’s a perfect opportunity to check out the threshing bee, along with taking time to salute a man who made a difference in everything he did.

Thomas A. Kvamme is a former resident and long time sports editor and columnist for the Herald. He can be reached at scopend@yahoo.com.

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