Music camp founder Utgaard gets North Dakota’s top honor

July 30, 2022 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — International Music Camp founder Merton Utgaard will receive North Dakota’s highest honor, Gov. Doug Burgum announced Friday.

Utgaard, who died in 1998 at age 84, is the 47th recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award. A ceremony will be scheduled later.

Utgaard, a native of Maddock, founded the music camp in 1956 at the International Peace Garden that sits astride the North Dakota and Canadian border, north of Dunseith. He served as director for 28 years.

At the time of his death, more than 90,000 students from more than 60 countries had attended the summer camp.

Utgaard was a teacher and director of bands at the University of Minnesota, the University of South Dakota, Ball State University, Northern Illinois University and the University of Manitoba-Brandon before he began to work full time on the International Music Camp in the mid-1960s.

Utgaard’s portrait will hang in the North Dakota Capitol with those of the other 46 people who have received the award, established by Gov. William Guy in 1961.

Some others who have received it include bandleader Lawrence Welk, New York Yankees slugger Roger Maris, NBA player and coach Phil Jackson, western author Louis L’Amour, singer and actress Peggy Lee, and newsman Eric Sevareid.