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Manuscripts by Subject - Art / Architecture - #11138

Title: Merton Utgaard Papers

Dates: 1904-1989

Collection Number:  11138

Quantity: 1.5 feet  

Abstract: Consists of a program from the North Dakota Centennial Concert Band concert (1989), photographs, medal from the ND State Fair in Grand Forks (1938), and a scrapbook (photographs, clippings, ribbons, notes, reviews, programs, ticket stubs, contest reviews and ratings, broadsides and printed material) compiled by Merton P. Utgaard, music director, teacher, and founder of the International Music Camp at the International Peace Gardens.

Provenance: The papers were donated to the State Historical Society of North Dakota by Utgaard’s children, Karen Rolston and Michael Utgaard on September 11, 2012.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.
Copyrights: Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code or an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.                         
Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Citation:  Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.       


From Utgaard’s obituary in the Bottineau Courant, December 29, 1998, p. 6A

Dr. Merton Utgaard passed away in the early hours of Saturday, Dec. 19, 1998 in Mesa, Arizona at the age of 84. Utgaard died at Valley Lutheran Hospital following a brief illness.

He was born at Maddock, North Dakota, On Nov. 2, 1914 to Peter and Agnus Utgaard. He was preceded in death by his mother and father and brothers Pernell and Alton.

Utgaard was the founder and, for 28 years, director of the International Music Camp located at the International Peace Gardens on the border between the United States and Canada in the state of North Dakota and the province of Manitoba.

The International Music Camp was founded in 1956 as a part of a dream to create a place where young students from both Canada’s prairie provinces and the United States northern plains states could come to study music and other arts with their peers and to help cement a bond of shared experiences between the students of different nations. By the end of the 1998 session of the International Music Camp more than 90,000 students from more than 63 countries and 55 states and provinces had attended the International Music Camp.

Utgaard received his teaching certificate from Valley City State Teachers College in Valley City, ND in 1935, and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate in Music Education. He was a teacher and director of bands at the University of Minnesota, the University of South Dakota, Ball State University, Northern Illinois University, the University of Manitoba-Brandon, and part time as a music instructor at Souris Public School in the 1960s before beginning work full time with the Music camp in the mid 1960s.

He was an active member of the National Band Association , the American Bandmasters Association, the World Association for Symphonic bands and Ensembles and the Music Educators National Conference and received numerous awards including the Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association, the Governor’s Award for his contribution to the Enrichment of the Arts in North Dakota and the prestigious A. Austin Harding Award in 1984 from the American School Band Directors Association for his service to the school bands of America.

Following his retirement from the International Music Camp in 1983, Utgaard, along with his wife, created the International Ambassadors of Music, a non-profit organization which promoted cross cultural music exchanges through promotion of scholarships for young music students to study in foreign countries and the support of foreign youth music organization tours.

He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and continued to serve his country in the U.S. Air Force Reserve for 20 years following the conclusion of the war. He entered the service as a private and retired from the reserves as a major.

He was a member of First Lutheran Church of Bottineau, North Dakota.

Utgaard is survived by his wife, Noella, of 58 years; three children, son, Michael and wife Elisabeth and their son Peter of Campbell River, British Columbia; daughter, Karen Ralston and husband, Ernest of Mesa, Arizona and children, Jeff Kain and Kristen Forst; and son Mark and wife Amanda Cristancho of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and one brother, Shirley “Lee” and his wife Delores of Spokane, Washington.

A memorial service was held in Mesa, Arizona on December 22, 1998.

The family has requested that memorial donation be made to the International Music Camp in Minot, North Dakota.


Box 1:
1 Band contest rating sheet and program from the North Dakota Centennial Concert Band concert, ca. 1937-1989
2 Photographs, 1904-1989:
11138-01 Aneta School band, ca. 1937
11138-02 Carrington High School band, 1941       
11138-03 Aneta School band portrait, 1938
11138-04 Queen City Band (Aneta Community Band), ca. 1904 – COPY PHOTOGRAPH FOR REFERENCE USE ONLY
11138-05 ND Centennial Band, 1989
11138-06 ND Centennial Band, 1989
11138-07 Merton Utgaard, Director, speaking with a member of the ND Centennial Band 1989
11138-08 ND Centennial Band, 1989
Loose    Scrapbook (photographs, clippings, ribbons, notes, reviews, programs, ticket stubs, contest reviews and ratings, broadsides and printed material) compiled by Merton P. Utgaard, 1935-1938

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