Remembering Dennis Hegg
Dennis Hegg’s love of music continues to play on through many of the lives that he touched at his time at DSU and surrounding high schools.
“I know he was by far the most influential teacher I’ve had in my life, but he was also someone I aspired to be like, someone I wanted to make proud of me, a true friend,” says Rebecca Bessman, DSU alumnae who was influenced greatly by Hegg from early childhood on through her years at Dakota State.
Hegg taught for almost eight years at the university, from 2001 until 2009 where he was director of bands and instructor of music. He was a Dell Rapid’s native that graduated from Augustana College in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Music Degree from University of South Dakota in 1976. Hegg taught in the public schools in Madison, Baltic, Beresford and Dell Rapids for 33 before teaching at DSU in 2001.
“I grew up in Madison,” says Bessman, “and I was always so jealous of students older than me that had him as a band director. It wasn’t until I got into middle school when he would come down and mentor did I realize how much passion he taught us with.”
In addition to sharing his passion with students, Hegg was former president and secretary-treasurer of South Dakota Band Masters Association and received the National Citation for Music by the National Federation of High Schools. In 2003, Hegg was inducted into the South Dakota Band Masters Hall of Fame.
Although Hegg was deeply passionate about his music, the personal connection he formed with students was something they will never forget.
“He wanted to share life lessons and stories that would inspire us to be the best. The story telling moments are the ones that I truly treasure,” finishes Bessman. “As many students that could fit, would sit crammed in his little office at the high school and listen to the Beatles, the Beach Boys and many other music genres and just talk. Talk about what’s bothering us, about the weather, anything.”
“Looking back now, those are the moments that I cherish the very most about my relationship with Mr. Hegg.”