Dr. Michael Culloton, assistant professor of music, not only teaches his students how to be better singers, but also how to build community and explore other cultures through their music.
What is your current position at Concordia College and how long you have been in that role?
I am an assistant professor of choral music in my sixth year on faculty. My work at Concordia includes the conducting of three choirs, the teaching of a music education course, the supervision of student teachers, the advising of our student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and the mentoring of several student vocal ensembles. I also work hard recruiting students to come and sing at Concordia!
How can music shape students’ worldview?
Students need to find ways to connect with other parts of the world, and they need to be organic ways. Sitting on the computer, phone, or iPad doesn’t cut it. Singing music from a variety of places will make the connection real and, ideally, increase one’s awareness and sharpen one’s perception of what life is like for others.
What sets music apart at Concordia?
There are a lot of schools that offer great musical educations to their students, but I think that the personal connection we can have with each of our students is real and tangible. We work hard to bring music to the lives of majors and non-majors in a way that will enhance their studies here and their lives, especially when they leave campus.
What opportunities open when a student takes on music either as a major, minor or an extracurricular?
When students participate in music at Concordia, they are building stronger relationships with a large community of students that share their love and passion for musical participation. The students in choir get to “find their voice” while surrounded by young men and women who will be their peers and colleagues on this campus for all four years. Opportunities to travel on tours, sing in some of the greatest concert venues in the world, and collaborate on music from the last five or six centuries (including brand new music) are just icing on the cake!
What advice would you give to a first-year student who is considering participating in choir in college but is still on the fence about it?
A lot of students erroneously believe that music at Concordia takes up all of your time. This is simply untrue, and besides that, there is rarely any homework. Commit to one full semester and see if the experience is everything you want it to be. My guess is that you will greatly enjoy the experiences that we can provide you, and you’ll become part of one of the most special communities on campus. For the record, choir is four hours a week for most first-year students. The week of Christmas Concerts is more intense but worth every minute!
Danyel Moe '17 is a content specialist at Concordia.