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Dr. Bret Amundson is the Director of Choral Activities and Director of General Education at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Saint John's University, MN, a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from Saint Cloud State University, MN, and a Doctorate of Music in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington.
At The College of St. Scholastica, Bret directs the Concert Choir, Bella Voce, and Women's Choir, teaches courses in music education and conducting, and is the Director of the College's Dignitas program. Bret is the Artistic Director of the Lake Superior Youth Chorus, the Artistic Director of the Twin Ports Choral Project, and the Choir Director at Pilgrim Congregational Church.
Previously, Bret served three years as Vocal Music Director at Cathedral High School/John XXIII Middle School in St. Cloud, MN where he conducted five curricular choirs, two co-curricular choirs, and taught individual voice lessons. In 2007, the Cathedral High School Concert Choir was invited to perform at the Minnesota Music Educator Association's Mid-Winter Clinic. That same year, Bret was awarded the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota's Outstanding Young Conductor Award. From 2005-2008, Bret was the Associate Artistic Director of The St. John's Boys Choir, where he conducted the Junior Varsity Choir and led the recorder and theory programs.
Bret currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Choral Director's Association of Minnesota where he is the editor of its Star of the North publication. He also sits on the Board of Directors for The St. John's Boys Choir and is a member-at-large for the NAfME Choral Education Council. Bret currently sings with the Twin Ports Choral Project, and has previously sung with the UW Chamber Singers, and the Twin-Cities based choral ensemble, Kantorei. He is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, The College Music Society, Chorus America, and the VoiceCare Network.
A music educator for more than twenty-five years, Dr. Michael Buck has taught band, orchestra, classroom music, church choir and adult community choir. Currently, Dr. Buck serves as Associate Professor of Music and Director of Bands at The College of St. Scholastica. Previously he taught at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. His K-12 teaching experience includes elementary, middle and high school positions in suburban Minneapolis and at two overseas American international schools, located in Pakistan and Oman. He holds degrees from St. Olaf College, VanderCook College and The University of Southern Mississippi.
A lifelong learner, Dr. Buck especially enjoys conducting, research, and teaching future teachers. He is in demand as a clinician and frequently presents music education workshops locally, nationally and internationally. He loves to travel and has participated in musical activities throughout Finland, Norway, Italy, Poland and the Virgin Islands as well as New Orleans, Washington DC, Berlin, Rostock, New Delhi, Bombay, Singapore, Doha, Karachi, Islamabad, Dhaka and Kathmandu.
Dr. Buck and his wife – an occupational therapist and professional singer – nurture two aspiring musicians and fondly remember our recently departed venerable canine, J. "Sebastian" Buck.
Dr. Jeremy Craycraft is Assistant Professor of Percussion at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota. In addition to his classroom responsibilities, he directs the college's World Drumming Ensemble, Drumline, and Steel Band. Prior to his arrival at St. Scholastica, Dr. Craycraft was the Percussion Instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
Dr. Craycraft performs regularly with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, and has served as both substitute Principal Percussionist and Principal Timpanist. He frequently performs with other regional arts organizations including the Northern Lights Music Festival, Lyric Opera of the North, and the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra. As a recipient of grants from the Beim Foundation and the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Dr. Craycraft has provided drumming instruction to underprivileged youth in the Duluth community. He is also a frequent visitor to local/regional schools to serve as clinician and to provide outreach opportunities for his own students. An active educator, he is the percussion director for the Duluth Superior Symphony Youth Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble. His compositions are published by Bachovich Publications, and his scholarship has resulted in a first of its kind Percussion Research Bibliography--an online publication available to all Percussive Arts Society members.
Dr. Craycraft has studied with and performed alongside members of the internationally acclaimed percussion trio Percussion Group Cincinnati with members Russell Burge, James Culley, and Allen Otte at the College Conservatory of Music, Un. of Cincinnati where he received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the Baldwin-Wallace University and Conservatory where he studied with George Kiteley.
Dr. Sarah Ludwig is Assistant Director of Choral Activities and Vocal Music Education at The College of St. Scholastica. She holds a BA in Vocal Music Education from the University of St. Thomas, MA in Music Education with a Choral Conducting concentration from the same institution, and DMA in Choral Conducting from Texas Tech University.
At St. Scholastica, Dr. Ludwig directs the Women’s and Men’s choirs and co-directs the Concert Choir. She teaches courses in conducting, music education, freshman first-year common course (Dignitas), and supervises vocal music education student teachers. In the Duluth community, she is the Assistant Chorus Master of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Associate Artistic Director and Prelude Program Director of the Lake Superior Youth Chorus, and sings with the Twin Ports Choral Project.
Prior to her appointment at CSS, Dr. Ludwig taught public school in Minnesota, specializing in changing adolescent voices, and was Artistic Director of the St. Cloud State University Cantabile Girls’ Choir. Choirs under her direction have performed nationally at the Organization of American Kodály Educators conference (2011), regionally in Chicago Symphony Hall (2014), and locally at the Minnesota Music Educators Association Mid-Winter Clinic (2013). Dr. Ludwig is an active clinician throughout the state and currently serves ACDA-MN as R&R Chair for SSAA choirs in Minnesota, sits on the 20/20 in 2020 Task Force, and collaboratively serves with her LSYC colleagues as the Youth Choir Coordinator and R&S Chair for the North-Central Division of ACDA. She holds memberships in ACDA, NAfME, NCCO, and The VoiceCare Network.
Penny Schwarze is Professor of Music at the College of St. Scholastica, where she teaches stringed instruments and music history. She has an M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.A. degree is from Whitman College. Additional studies include a year of violin study in Angers, France, and summer workshops in early instruments. Research interests include violin performance practice of the Baroque and Classic periods. Her articles on Baroque violin techniques appear in the Journal of the Violin Society of America. She also writes program notes for the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra. She performs on Baroque violin and viola da gamba with the Center for Early Music Orchestra and with St. Scholastica early music ensembles. She also performs as a violinist with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra