In most cases, please use the last 4 digits of the listed phone numbers when calling from any campus.A B C K L O S V
Assistant Professor/Director, Choirs
Office: T 4606
Bret Amundson, DMA
Dr. Bret Amundson is the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN where he also directs Bella Voce, the college's select treble ensemble. In addition to his work at CSS, Bret is the Artistic Director for the Lake Superior Youth Chorus and the Artistic Director of the Twin Ports Choral Project. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Saint John’s University, MN, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Saint Cloud State University, MN, a Doctorate of Music in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington, and an MBA in Change and Leadership from The College of St. Scholastica.
Prior to his appointment as Dean, Bret was the Director of Choral Activities and Director of General Education where he led the College’s General Education program, including the first-year program, Dignitas, and directed the College’s auditioned ensembles, Concert Choir and Bella Voce. Under Bret’s direction, The College of St. Scholastica Choirs have performed regionally, nationally, and internationally. In 2014, Bret was awarded the College’s Benedictine Professorship in General Education and in 2015, Bret was named one of Duluth’s 20 Under 40.
Choirs under Bret’s direction have performed at state and regional conventions. 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 (ACDA) of Minnesota’s Outstanding Young Conductor Award. In 2015, Twin Ports Choral Project was invited to perform at the ACDA-MN State Conference and, in 2016, the North Central ACDA Regional Conference. In 2017, Bella Voce was invited to perform at the ACDA-MN State Conference and in 2018, the Lake Superior Youth Chorus' Cantemus was invited to perform at that same conference. In 2020, Bella Voce performed at the North Central ACDA Regional Conference.
Maintaining an active schedule as clinician, adjudicator, presenter, and guest conductor for choral festivals and conferences around the country, Bret most recently conducted the 2020-2021 Minnesota All-State SSAA and North Dakota All-State SSAA Choirs.
Bret is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, The College Music Society, Chorus America, and the VoiceCare Network, and currently serves as the North Central ACDA Repertoire and Resources Coordinator for Children’s and Community Youth Choirs.
Richard Carrick, DMA
Richard Carrick is a conductor, clinician, singer, and educator committed to innovative concert programming and engaging, collaborative rehearsals. Richard is the Director of Choral Activities at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. Carrick holds a D.M.A. in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington where he studied with Geoffrey Boers and Giselle Wyers. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. While at Cal Poly, he studied conducting with Tom Davies and voice with Jackie Bauer Kreitzer. Richard continued his education at the University of Oregon where he earned a M.M. in Choral Conducting under the tutelage of Sharon Paul and continued his vocal training with Eric Mentzel.
Following his time in Oregon, Richard worked with the San Francisco Boys Chorus as the Apprentice Choir Director. From 2012 until 2018 Richard lived in the Twin Cities where he taught music at Burroughs Community School in Minneapolis. In addition to his public-school teaching, Richard served as the Artistic Director of the South Metro Chorale and Calliope Women's Chorus. From 2014-2015, Richard was fortunate to serve as the Assistant Conductor of the Oratorio Society of Minnesota (Matthew Mehaffey, conductor). An active church musician, Richard has served various churches around the country, including Music Director at Hamline Church in St. Paul, MN.
Richard has sung professionally with the Minnesota Chorale, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Chorale, and professional chamber choirs including Solaris Vocal Ensemble, Pacific MusicWorks, Magpies and Ravens, and IMPLS. Richard has participated in the Oregon Bach Festival, both as a singer and student-conductor, where he worked with Helmuth Rilling, Jeffrey Kahane, Matthew Halls, and Kathy Romey.
Jeremy Craycraft, DMA
Dr. Jeremy Craycraft, Associate Professor of Music, is currently serving as Chair of the Fine Arts Department. He teaches in the College's Dignitas program, music theory courses, and guides the College's percussion program.
Dr. Craycraft performs regularly with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, and in various regional ensembles such as the Northern Lights Music Festival, and the Lyric Opera of the North.
In the community, he continues to be a frequent visitor to local/regional schools, serving as clinician and providing outreach opportunities for CSS students. He is the percussion director for the Duluth Superior Symphony Youth Orchestra/Percussion Ensemble, and he received grants from the Beim Foundation and Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation to provided musical education to k-12 youth in the Duluth community.
His compositions are published by Bachovich Publications, and his scholarship has been presented by the Percussive Arts Society in their research arena. Dr. Craycraft has performed at several PASIC events, most recently the 2018 Focus Day percussion ensemble performance with CSS students, and the 2017 PASIC All-Star Steel Band Repertoire Showcase.
Dr. Craycraft studied with and performed alongside members of the internationally acclaimed percussion trio Percussion Group Cincinnati at the College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati where he received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the Baldwin-Wallace University and Conservatory.
C Jennifer Lien, DMA
Soprano Jennifer Lien, lauded for her “sonorous, clear voice” and her dramatic range, has been seen on opera and concert stages in California, Florida, New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Singapore. She is a keen collaborator in chamber music, a proponent of contemporary music, and is known for her innovative recital programming. The 2023–2024 season will see Lien on tour with two projects: the world premiere and tour of Wendy Durrwachter’s Surface Displacements song cycle in Minnesota, and the recital Juxtapositions: European Orientalism, Asian America, & Asia in North Carolina with pianist Douglas Jurs.
Lien is a fiscal year 2024 recipient of a Creative Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to co-commission three song cycles from three Asian American composers set to Asian American texts, and to embark on a recital tour in Minnesota.
In August 2022, Lien was featured in Messiaen’s Harawi with the Sing Song Club in Singapore. In June 2022, Lien made her Lyric Opera of the North debut as the Mother in Hansel and Gretel. In November 2021, Lien was featured in a virtual concert of French Orientalist music for the San Francisco International Piano Festival with pianist Gwendolyn Mok. In February 2020, Lien appeared as soprano soloist with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra in Joe Hisaishi’s East Land Symphony. During the pandemic season, her performance in Poulenc’s one-woman opera La Voix Humaine, originally performed in 2018 to wide acclaim with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s chamber series, was streamed internationally.
Lien has appeared in operatic roles with companies including New Opera Singapore, Mission City Opera, West Bay Opera, Oakland Opera Theater, West Marin Music Festival, Berkeley Opera, Solo Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, and Central Florida Lyric Opera. Oratorio engagements include Haydn’s The Creation and The Seasons; Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio; Handel’s Messiah; Vivaldi’s Gloria; Haydn’s Mass in Time of War; and Mozart’s Requiem. She has premiered numerous works by contemporary composers, and has performed in recital series in Minnesota, New York, California, and New Hampshire, and at the prestigious Esplanade arts center in Singapore.
Lien made her operatic debut in the role of Papagena (The Magic Flute) with Singapore Lyric Opera, where she also appeared as Princess Stephanie in The Student Prince. She received further operatic training as a resident artist with Central Florida Lyric Opera, a young artist with the Seagle Festival, an apprentice artist with Bel Canto at Caramoor, and as a member of the OperaWorks Advanced Accelerated Singer program. Since the pandemic, Lien has been an active member of Bel Canto Boot Camp. Outside of music, Lien is a co-founder of the Twin Ports APIDA Collective, an organization to advocate for and raise awareness of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American community in the Duluth-Superior region.
Returning to music after an early career as a newspaper journalist, Lien first began her vocal studies at Dartmouth College, where she was an English major. Under the guidance of soprano Erie Mills, she later received her Master of Arts in Music at San José State University. Lien holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice and an M.A. in Historical Musicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A seasoned vocal educator, Lien has taught voice to majors and non-majors at UW-Madison and at Beloit College. She currently teaches at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN.
Emily Valine is Staff Accompanist and Fine Arts Department Administrative Assistant at the College of St. Scholastica, where she enjoys working both onstage and behind the scenes as she collaborates with the CSS Choral Ensembles, accompanies vocal and instrumental music majors, and organizes the inner workings of the department. Emily holds a BA in Music (Piano Performance and Pedagogy) from St. Scholastica.
Emily also teaches piano lessons to pre-college students in her private studio in Duluth. She is recognized by Music Teachers National Association as a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) and is involved with Minnesota Music Teachers Association as a site administrator and frequent adjudicator for piano and theory exams and as treasurer of the local Arrowhead Music Teachers Association. She is also an accompanist for the Lake Superior Youth Chorus and the Twin Ports Choral Project.