Dr. Michael Culloton ’98 has been named the new director of choral activities at Concordia. As part of this appointment, Culloton will hold the Paul J. and Eleanor Christiansen Endowed Chair of Choral Music, direct The Concordia Choir, and serve as the artistic director of the Concordia Christmas Concerts. Culloton will begin his duties as director of choral activities at the beginning of the 2020 fall semester, succeeding Dr. René Clausen, who is retiring after 34 years of service.
“We are delighted by the artistry, innovation, energy, and love for the Concordia music tradition that Michael Culloton will bring to his leadership of our choral program,” says President William Craft. “And best of all, students present and future will rejoice to sing here under his guidance.”
Since 2012, Culloton has conducted the Chapel Choir, Kantorei, and Cantabile vocal ensembles. An active faculty member, Culloton teaches music education and church music courses and advised the student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. In addition, Culloton is the artistic director and conductor of the Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists, the Minnesota All-State Lutheran Choir, and conducts the Trinity Lutheran Church Cathedral Choir in Moorhead.
Culloton says he has greatly enjoyed his years at the college working side by side with Clausen and is looking forward to many more years of service to the college and dedication to students.
“I am honored and thrilled to be appointed the next director of choral activities at Concordia, an institution that was formative for me as a student many years ago. The Concordia Choir will continue to represent the beloved Lutheran choral tradition while also exploring new paths that will keep the spirit of 'reformation' alive,” Culloton says.
Prior to his time at Concordia, Culloton was the artistic director and conductor of Choral Arts Ensemble and Honors Choirs of Southeast Minnesota, both organizations based in Rochester, for eight years. He taught at Luther College and Winona Senior High School and served as the assistant and interim conductor of the National Lutheran Choir. Culloton has also held church choir positions in Tucson, Ariz., and Decorah, Iowa, and has been music director for nearly a dozen musical theater productions.
Culloton has served as a guest conductor, clinician, and lecturer throughout the Upper Midwest, most recently as conductor of the 2019-20 MMEA All-State TTBB choir and the 2020 National Lutheran Choir Church Choir Tune-Up.
Along with his twin brother, Culloton is the co-editor of the Matthew and Michael Culloton Choral Series with Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Inc. In 2006, he was recognized as the Minnesota ACDA Young Conductor of the Year and also received the ACDA/VocalEssence Creative Programming Award for his work with Choral Arts Ensemble. In 2009, he was a featured conductor in “Never Stop Singing,” a documentary about the history of choral music in Minnesota.
Culloton earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Concordia College, where he studied with Clausen, and his Master of Music degree from the University of Arizona, where he studied with Maurice Skones. Culloton completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at North Dakota State University, where he studied with Jo Ann Miller and Michael Weber. Culloton lives in Moorhead with his wife, Brynn, and their daughters, Eleanor and Miriam.