Culloton Honored with Paul J. and Eleanor Christiansen Chair of Choral Music

Culloton is the second person to hold this honor.

Dr. Michael Culloton, associate professor of music, was presented with the Paul J. and Eleanor Christiansen Chair of Choral Music Medallion at a ceremony this spring.

Culloton, director of choral activities and conductor of The Concordia Choir, also teaches vocal music education and church music courses, serves as a campus supervisor for student teachers, and advises the student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).

In her remarks, Dr. Susan Larson, dean of the college, said, “One of our greatest strengths at Concordia College is our faculty. We recognize their accomplishments in many ways and today we honor Dr. Michael Culloton.”

During the event, President William Craft presented a bit of history about Christiansen. He noted that Christiansen composed more than 200 works for choir and his orchestra compositions have been performed across the nation. Christiansen is also credited with establishing the Concordia Christmas Concert. The award, established in 1992, has previously been held by only one other person, Dr. René Clausen, who retired in 2020 after more than 33 years at the college.

Dr. Nat Dickey, chair and professor of music, said he was honored to be a part of the ceremony on behalf of Culloton and to share some thoughts from Clausen.

Clausen wrote, “One of the primary characteristics that is immediately recognized by anyone who has worked with Culloton as a student or colleague is his infectious energy and passion for his work and students.”

Clausen also stated that, under Culloton’s guidance, the Concordia ACDA organization has grown into one of the largest and most active student chapters in the country.

“I look forward to watching him continue to grow and expand upon his enviable gifts as a leader and conductor in his watch as conductor of The Concordia Choir,” Clausen added. “A man of strong convictions, Culloton has been and will continue to be an articulate, intelligent, and thoughtful colleague among his faculty peers in the music department as well as the wider college faculty.”

Culloton expressed his gratitude after receiving the medallion from Craft.

“It has been my great pleasure to work at Concordia College for what is now my ninth year,” Culloton said. “And to work with my mentor; I had eight very special years with Dr. Clausen as a faculty member.”

He added, “I remember as a freshman and sophomore here at Concordia, I’d be at The Concordia Choir concerts and I would see Paul J. and Eleanor Christiansen sitting in the chairs. The thing of legend, both of them. And Eleanor earned her place on all of the places it says Paul J. and Eleanor Christiansen.”

“It’s my great honor to continue the traditions that have made The Concordia Choir what it is and to build upon the traditions as Dr. Clausen did when he followed Paul J. Christiansen,” Culloton said.

After the ceremony, Culloton conducted The Concordia Choir in “Day by Day,” arranged by Christiansen.

“I’m so very glad our event could take place today and to have The Concordia Choir sing for us one of Paul J.’s arrangements. I can think of no better way to honor and recognize his legacy,” Larson said. “And it is a very meaningful way to mark the occasion of the bestowing upon Dr. Michael Culloton the Paul J. and Eleanor Christiansen Chair of Choral Music.”