Janette Davis, Executive Director
Kajsa Jones-Higgins, Director of Operations
Kajsa Jones-Higgins, Director of Operations, is a multi-hyphenate arts professional and works as a theater director, arts administrator, and educator in the Twin Cities. She is an innovative fundraising and communications professional with a proven ability to implement structures that support growth. Previous positions include Managing Director at Merrill Arts Center and Development Associate at Hennepin Theatre Trust. She’s passionate about working with young artists and is the resident Musical Director at East Ridge and Robbinsdale Armstrong High School. As a director she has also worked with Artistry, Merrill Arts Center, Ashland Productions, and the Black Hills Playhouse. Kajsa received her B.A in Management from Luther College.
Founder & Artistic Director
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. 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 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.
Bryon Wilson, beginning his first season with The Singers, is a freelance pianist, teacher, and coach based in Minneapolis. He has appeared with numerous artistic organizations including Schubert Club, Source Song Festival, Thursday Musical, NATS, Mill City Opera, Out of the Box Opera, and River Sounds in Ft. Lauderdale. In 2015 Bryon performed in the world premiere of Minnesota Concert Opera’s La Divina, a one-woman play about Maria Callas. Bryon also studies and performs music composed by holocaust prisoners in Theresienstadt and recently presented a lecture recital on the topic as part of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas series on Holocaust survivors in Minnesota.
Bryon maintains an active piano studio, and his students have entered music programs at Indiana University, New York University, Boston University, and Interlochen Arts Camp. During his Masters and Doctoral studies in Collaborative Piano at the University of Minnesota Bryon studied with Timothy Lovelace, Noriko Kawai, Debra Bakland, and Margo Garrett. Bryon is on the faculty of Macphail Center for Music and is organist at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina, MN. Bryon also spends two months every summer commercial salmon fishing in Bristol Bay, AK.
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.