Kathy Larsen: dedicated music department volunteer

Dan Roberts

Dan RobertsReporter

When The Pride of The Dakotas Marching Band takes the field at halftime a lot of work goes into making sure they not only sound their best, but look their best as well.

For the last 13 years, Kathy Larsen has made sure every member of The Pride has a full uniform that fits properly. If someone looses a button, needs a snap replaced, rips their pants or needs to lengthen or shorten their uniform, they turn to Larsen.

Originally from Yankton, Larsen has lived in Brookings for 32 years. She was 10-years-old when she learned to sew from her mother and neighbor. She said her neighbor is the one who made her the seamstress she is today.

“It was just something that interested me and I had a lot of people around me that were very good that took me under their wing,” Larsen said.

It was Larsen’s upbringing that led her to volunteer for her job with The Pride.

“I really enjoy working with the students. I really believe it keeps me young,” Larsen said. “I was raised in a family where if you have a talent, share it with others.”

Larsen’s role is year round. In addition to doing repairs, she also orders all of The Pride’s uniforms and sizes the students in the summer. After the band season, she makes sure all uniforms are collected and accounted for and then sends them off to be cleaned. Larsen then sorts them all into correct sizes to start the year over again.

Jim Coull, the director of The Pride, said he has always valued the service that Larsen provides for SDSU.

“It’s a ton of work and she does an absolute super job,” Coull said. “We wouldn’t be able to get the Pride on the field looking so good without the help of her.”

In addition to helping with The Pride, Larsen also helps with the 120-voice Concert Choir and Women’s Choir.

Laura Diddle, director of the Women’s Choir, said she does not think the music department would be able to survive without Larsen.

“We have an entire department of paid professionals to get the vocal aspect of the show right,” Diddle said. “Kathy Larsen is one person working tirelessly and unpaid to have our entire music departments looking its best.”

Diddle said when former director of The Pride, Jim McKinney, was honored with a distinguished alumni honor he mentioned the work of Larsen and how it made his job easy. Also, during The Pride’s trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl in 2007, Kathy was allowed to take formation with The Pride while wearing a director’s jacket for her dedicated work.

She is also an honorary member of the Concert Choir where she serves as a choir mom and helps Laura Diddle with coaching all the other women.

“There is no award or recognition out there she does not deserve,” Diddle said. “I try to thank her on stage or bring her flowers but she is too humble. She needs more then an article in the paper, she deserves a presidential medal from David Chicoine or even President Obama.”

#1.1743580:1657618080.png:Kathy Larsen 11-03-2010 69:Larsen works behind the scenes as a seamstress for the SDSU Pride and choirs.:Submitted Photo#1.1743579:627917936.png:Kathy Larsen 11-03-2010 68:Kathy Larsen adds a gold star with Spc. Gregory Tull?s name to a banner outside the Administration Building Dec. 5, 2005 during a special service honoring Tull.:File Photo