A Choral Tradition Continues
In 1998, Sarah Aamot, a Bemidji State University alumnus, established a choir comprised of Bemidji Choir alumni to perform a concert for her masters recital. The music performed was composed and arranged by Dr. Paul Brandvik. Today, that gathering of friends has expanded to the Bemidji Alumni Choir, performing two concerts annually. Members range in graduation years from between 1957 to 2012. Most singers have participated with the choir on regional and national concert tours, including two performances in Carnegie Hall, as well as one or more of the choirs many European or Israel tours. This year the choir is under the direction of Mark Carlson, 1975 BSU alumnus, and Dr. Paul Brandvik.
The Bemidji Alumni Choir is one of Minnesota’s premiere choral organizations located in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The Bemidji Alumni Choir (BAC) singers are virtually all former members of Dr. Paul Brandvik’s and Dr. P. Bradley Logan’s Bemidji State University Choir. Most of the singers sang with the choir on regional and national concert tours, including two performances in Carnegie Hall, as well as one or more of the choir’s 12 European or Israel tours. The choir practices the a cappella choral tradition which emphasizes accurate intonation, unity of tone within each section, and phrasing that captures the deeper meaning of the text.
The Artistic Director and Conductor Emeritus of the Bemidji Alumni Choir, Dr. Paul Brandvik, was director of Choral Activities at Bemidji State University (BSU) from 1967 to 1998. Among the honors awarded to Brandvik are the Burlington Northern Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award and the F. Melius Christianson Award for lifetime achievement in choral music. In addition to his conducting activities, Brandvik has composed, edited, or arranged over sixty published works for choirs.
The Musical Director and Conductor of the choir is Mark Carlson. Mark received his Bachelors degree in music education and studied choral conducting with Dr. Paul Brandvik. He sang in both the Bemidji Concert Choir and Chamber Singers.
Mark's teaching career began at Crosby-Ironton, Minnesota, directing Crosby’s junior and senior high choirs. Mark was at Crosby-Ironton for six years. He also directed the St. Francis Catholic Church Choir in Brainerd for three years. Mark continues to enjoy singing and has sung with the Bemidji Alumni Choir for 13 of its past 16 seasons.
Dr. Paul Brandvik, Conductor & Artistic Director
Mark Carlson, Conductor & Artistic Director
Deb Schlager, Choir Manager
Patrick Slator, Treasurer
Andrew Leshovsky, Marketing/Webmaster
Jean Marie Blair