Eeva Savolainen has worked as The Singers Operation Manager since 2011. Before joining The Singers staff, she worked for Music in the Park Series in St. Paul and FinnFest USA as festival coordinator. A graduate of Sibelius Academy, Finland – Eeva, is a soprano having sung with The Dale Warland Singers, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Chorus and Bach Society. She’s also performed as a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, Oratorio Society, and toured as recitalist in USA and Canada. Eeva conducts a church choir in East Bethel, MN and when not working, likes to weave and spend time with Oreo the Cat and Lewis the Dog.
Founding Artistic Director and Conductor
Matthew Culloton (b. 1976) is the Founding Artistic Director and Conductor of The Singers – Minnesota Choral Artists. He holds degrees from Concordia College, Moorhead (B.M. in Music Education) and the University of Minnesota (M.M. in Choral Conducting, D.M.A. in Conducting). In August 2010, Matthew became Choirmaster at The House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul, teaching a graduate music course, Choral Repertoire for Mature Adolescent Voices. Matthew has studied conducting with René Clausen, Kathy Romey, Craig Kirchhoff, Paul Nesheim, Matthew Mehaffey, Mark Russell Smith, and Bruce Houglum.
As a composer, Matthew has been commissioned by The Singers, the Dale Warland Singers, Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester (MN), Ames Chamber Artists, Chanson, the Minnesota MMEA All-State Choir, and numerous high school, collegiate, and church choirs. He is co-editor of the Matthew and Michael Culloton Choral Series with Santa Barbara Publishing Company. He is also the editor of the Christmas with The Singers Choral Series published by MorningStar Music Publishers.His music is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Hinshaw Music, Mark Foster Music (Shawnee),Kjos Music, and Graphite Publishing.
Matthew is a contributing writer to Teaching Music Performance through Literature, Vols. 2 & 3, for which he writes repertoire resource guides in a collection alongside some of America’s most respected choral conductors. He has also been published in the Choral Journal, co-authoring a collection of interviews with some of today’s leading conductors.
An experienced and celebrated music educator, Matthew began his teaching career in the Long Prairie – Grey Eagle School District. From 2000-2006, he was Director of Choral Activities at Hopkins High School, overseeing a choral program of six performing ensembles. His Hopkins Concert Choir performed at the 2002 and 2004 MN ACDA Fall Conventions and the 2005 MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic. In November 2004, Matthew was presented with the MN ACDA Outstanding Young Choral Conductor of the Year Award. In the fall of 2003, he was the recipient of the VocalEssence/ACDA of Minnesota Creative Programming Award for his work at Hopkins High School. From 2008-2011, he was conductor of the University of Minnesota Women’s Chorus.
From 1999-2004, Matthew was a member of The Dale Warland Singers, having served as Music Adviser to Dale Warland, Assistant Conductor, and Bass Section Leader. As Warland’s Music Adviser, the two worked closely together on artistic programming and recording projects, including the editing preparation for that organization’s final four recordings.
Matthew and his wife, Melissa Culloton (D.M.A.) reside in Minneapolis with Charlie the Beagle.
Matthew is founding artistic director of Oratory and enjoys an ever-diversifying career as a conductor, composer, church musician, educator, singer, and arts administrator. His studies of J.S. Bach began under Helmuth Rilling – first as a chorister, then as a conducting student at the Oregon Bach Festival. He completed his doctorate under Kathy Romey, known widely for her work preparing professional choruses.
As an educator, he has conducted and taught at the University of Wisconsin – Superior, The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, North Hennepin Community College, and Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI. His academic writings explore the relationship between educational philosophy, theology, psychology, and the art of heuristics within music education methods. As a chorister, Matthew has performed and recorded with The St. Olaf Choir, The Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus, The Detroit Symphony, The Minnesota Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and The Orchestra of St. Lukes. This is his second season singing in The Singers, and his first season serving as Assistant Conductor.
Ruth Palmer, Collaborative Pianist
Ruth Palmer has a distinguished career as an ensemble pianist, vocal coach and choral conductor. She spent 15 years as pianist for national and international recitals with Glenda Maurice, mezzo-soprano, and has played for masterclasses of Elly Ameling and Gerard Souzay, among other stars of the world of art song recital. She has served as Associate Conductor/Pianist of the Dale Warland Singers and pianist for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Chorale. She was chosen by national audition to be a pianist for the Rosa Ponselle International vocal competition and was coach and pianist for national winners in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award and Metropolitan Opera Auditions among other noted competitions. Ms. Palmer is Director of Music Ministries at Unity Church-Unitarian in Saint Paul MN where she has both commissioned and premiered distinguished choral works. Unity Singers, a 16-voice chamber choir from Unity Church, was chosen to perform at the 2009 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association.
Bryan Blessing, baritone and Music Adviser, is a founding member of The Singers and is the vocal music teacher at Oak Grove Middle School in Bloomington. Bryan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Saint John’s University, his Master’s in Music Education from the University of St. Thomas, and is pursuing National Board Certification in Adolescent Music. Additionally, Bryan is an amateur composer and guitarist who has instructed classical guitar at Crown College. Currently, Bryan is on the advisory board of the ChoralQuest series through the American Composers Forum and is the Chair of the Commissioning Task Force for ACDA-MN.