Twin Ports Choral Project is comprised of Duluth musicians, committed to inspiring, engaging, and educating audiences by sharing innovative and informed choral music performances.
Ryan Deignan is Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Choral Activities at the University of Minnesota Duluth where he conducts the UMD Concert Chorale, leads vocal jazz ensembles Lake Effect and Chill Factor, and teaches voice lessons, ear training, and vocal pedagogy. Deignan is the Artistic Director of theTwin Ports Choral Project and was a fellow at the 2022 Baylor International Choral Conducting Masterclass.
In addition to teaching and conducting, Deignan performs as a professional vocalist. He sang with the new Baton Rouge choir Red Shift in their 2020 Southern ACDA performance, where he also served as tenor soloist. Deignan sang with Dallas’ Orpheus Chamber Singers and Dallas Bach Society, and community choir Denton Bach Society as tenor soloist for their performance of Rossini's Petit Messe Solennelle. He was tenor soloist for the University of Iowa Choirs and Orchestra's performance of Schubert's Mass in Ab in 2017. Deignan performed with the Cedar Rapids Chorale and Iowa Orchestra as tenor soloist and Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre as tenor soloist and young artist. In 2011, he was chorus-master of CROT's production of The Merry Widow.
At the high school level, Deignan was Director of Choirs for the West Des Moines Valley High School choral program of 350 students, seven traditional choirs, two show choirs, and four jazz choirs. Under his direction, Valley Singers performed at the 2016 NC-ACDA Convention in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Prior to West Des Moines, Deignan was Associate Director of Vocal Music at Cedar Rapids Washington High School where he led a Slice of Jazz to the 2012 Iowa Vocal Jazz Championship.
Deignan studied music education with Jeremy Manternach and Jessica Nápoles, voice with Edwin Andereck and Stephen Swanson, vocal pedagogy with Jeremy Manternach and Stephen F. Austin, and conducting with Craig Arnold, Timothy Stalter, and Allen Hightower.
Deignan holds a BA in Vocal Performance from Luther College, an MA in Music Education from the University of Iowa and DMA in Choral Studies with a cognate field in Vocal Pedagogy from the University of North Texas. He is a member of ACDA, NAFME, NATS, JEN, and the Voice Foundation.
Emily Valine serves as Staff Accompanist and Fine Arts Department Administrative Assistant at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN, where she collaborates with the CSS Choral Ensembles, accompanies vocal and instrumental music majors, and manages the Music Library. She also accompanies the Twin Ports Choral Project and the Lake Superior Youth Chorus. Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music (Piano Performance and Pedagogy) from The College of St. Scholastica. As a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM), she maintains a private piano studio in Duluth and is an active member of Minnesota Music Teachers Association on the state and local levels. Emily received the Advocate for Choral Excellence Award from the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) of Minnesota in 2015, and she is blessed to be surrounded by beautiful choral music nearly every day.
Alto, Section Leader
Rylee Newton is the Junior Academy choir director at DECS North Star Academy in Duluth, Minnesota where she directs five ensembles and teaches Music Appreciation courses. Rylee also works with the Lake Superior Youth Chorus as the Outreach Program Coordinator. She graduated magna cum laude from The College of St. Scholastica in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education.
Rylee is an active member of both the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education, and recently served as a section coach for the 2021 MN All-State SSAA choir. She first performed with Twin Ports Choral Project in 2020 for their encore performance of Considering Matthew Shepard. This is her first full season with the group.
Bass, Section Leader
Dr. Richard Carrick is the Director of Choral Activities at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth Minnesota. He recently completed his DMA in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington in Seattle where he studied with Geoffrey Boers and Giselle Wyers. Richard has sung professionally with the the Oregon Bach Festival, Solaris Vocal Ensemble, Pacific MusicWorks, SoundCity, the Minnesota Chorale, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Chorale. When not singing, teaching, or conducting, Richard can be found outdoors or spending time with his family!
Soprano, Section Leader
Jennifer Campbell is a versatile performer and music educator dedicated to promoting vocal music excellence in Northern Minnesota. She appears frequently as a soloist with academic institutions and arts organizations around the region and has received accolades from the Minnesota State High School League, National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Schubert Club, and the American Choral Directors’ Association of Minnesota. Jennifer graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Luther College and received her Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is the Director of Music at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth. She is a founding member of the Twin Ports Choral Project and enjoys adventures at home and around the world with her husband Jeff and their two busy little boys, Benjamin and Theodore.
Dr. Bret Amundson is the Dean of the School of Arts and Letters 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 past 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.
Emilie Bowman began her choral singing career in the 4th grade. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Healthcare Management and Scandinavian Studies from Concordia College, where she sang in The Concordia Choir. Since moving to Duluth, she has sung in Twin Ports Choral Project, the Arrowhead Chorale, and First Lutheran Church worship band. In addition to music, Emilie is passionate about helping non-profit organizations serve our community. She works as a Business Analyst for Essentia Health and serves on numerous non-profit boards.
Anneliese Braaten is currently a middle school reading teacher at Cloquet Middle School. She graduated from Luther College in Decorah, IA completing majors in music with an emphasis in horn, and elementary education. Anneliese recently completed her Master in Education at The College of St. Scholastica. At Luther, she sang with Aurora and Collegiate Chorale. Anneliese has played horn with Luther College Symphony Orchestra, Luther College Chamber Orchestra, and South Dakota State Symphony Orchestra. She has performed horn on several recordings including John Cord’s “Beyond Borders," Pablo Gomez Estevez's "Sola Fide," and Luther College Jazz Orchestra’s “Sketches of Sound.” She is very excited to be singing with Twin Ports Choral Project!
Derek Bromme is a former graduate of UMD and currently works in the music department as an adjunct trombone instructor. He attended Indiana University after leaving Duluth, and obtained his Masters degree in trombone performance, under the instruction of Peter Ellefson. Along with his teaching responsibilities at the University, he also performs often with the DSSO and travels/records as the solo trombonist for Lorie Line.
Patrick Colvin is an active performer and educator. As Director of Music at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Duluth, he directs the choir and plays regularly for services, including the harpsichord every chance he gets. He maintains a teaching studio where he specializes in audition coaching, and regularly accompanies for soloists, cabarets, and choirs. He is a founding member of the Twin Ports Choral Project.
Patrick is an active theater artist in the Duluth area as a music director, pianist, and actor. Recent shows include Oklahoma!, Sister Act, She Loves Me, Assassins, Guys and Dolls, Next to Normal, and Company. Children's theater: Once Upon a Mattress, Shrek, Cats, Grease, West Side Story, Working, and Fiddler on the Roof Jr. As an actor: Iolanthe, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Les Misérables, and The Taming of the Shrew. As composer: Humpty Dumpty: The Musical (Rubber Chicken Theater) with collaborator Chani Ninneman.
Andrew Dillenburg is a native of central Wisconsin and graduated from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI in 2013 with a Bachelor's degree in Music Education. Andrew formerly taught K-6 music, served on the Board of Directors at the LuCille Tack Center for the Arts, and was Music Director of their church in Central WI. He and his wife Emily moved to Duluth in 2018.
Andrew is a teacher at Marshall School in Duluth, where he teaches 4th-6th Grade general music, directs the Concert Band, 7th & 8th Grade Choir, Chamber Singers, and Concert Choir. When not singing or teaching, Andrew is an avid angler, golfer, and fan of the Green Bay Packers.
Courtney Ellian is a pianist, singer/songwriter, and educator in the Twin Ports, where she was born and raised. She holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and English from the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she graduated with honors in 2014. Courtney is currently working towards a graduate degree in Teaching at the College of Saint Scholastica, with an emphasis in Secondary Language Arts. In her professional experience of over a decade, Courtney has performed, directed, and taught in ensembles and institutions in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. She teaches piano at her studio with Encore Music Studios in Duluth, and sings backup and plays keys in local band AfroGeode and the Gemstones. She has been proudly singing as an Alto in Twin Ports Choral Project since 2015! In her spare time, Courtney loves thrifting fashion, hiking the North Shore and tending to her vegetable garden and many houseplants.
Ben Ellison is a middle school choir teacher in Duluth, sharing his love of singing and music with students at both Lincoln Park and Ordean East. In addition to singing in the Twin Ports Choral Project’s Bass Section, Ben regularly performs with Lyric Opera of the North and the Duluth Superior-Symphony Orchestra Chorus. When not performing, Ben enjoys attending and supporting concerts of arts organizations and bands in the Twin Ports’ local music scene, as well as spending time in the beauty of the Northland’s natural outdoor areas.
Jen Fuchs sings in choir for the magical moments - joining her voice on a sea of sound, and being completely present with the music and her fellow musicians. She hopes TPCP audiences are inspired to bring justice to the world, and believes art and action work together to make transformational change. Jen has enjoyed performing as an amateur and professional chorister around the country. Past ensembles include The Concordia Choir (Moorhead, MN), Master Chorale of Washington (DC), Princeton Pro Musica (NJ), and Grace Episcopal choir (Newark, NJ), as well as church choirs in New Mexico, Virginia, and Ohio. By day, Jen is a social worker for Duluth Public Schools and enjoys hiking, camping and visiting National Parks with her husband and two daughters.
Hannah Gottschald is a graduate of The College of St. Scholastica where she sang with the treble ensemble, Bella Voce, under the direction of Dr. Bret Amundson. While singing with Bella Voce, she had the opportunity to perform at the 2017 American Choral Directors’ Association of Minnesota’s State Conference as well as the 2020 American Choral Directors’ Association Central-North Regional Conference. Hannah holds a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Nursing, working as a maternal-child public health nurse with St. Louis County. She is eager to contribute to the meaningful stories, values, and mission that the Twin Ports Choral Project extends to its listeners.
According to his Mom, Jack Gunderson began singing before he could talk, and he hasn’t stopped yet. His professional career as a singer/bassist/trombonist/actor and arranger has taken him across the US, Canada, the Caribbean, and several foreign countries. He enjoys many styles of music and has performed in a wide variety of venues, groups, clubs, concert halls, and theaters. He has a bachelor’s degree in vocal music education from the University of Minnesota, and sang with Robert Shaw at the Meadowbrook School of Music, where he also studied with John Wustman and Blake Stern. He studied for several years with Barbara Kierig, who urged him to audition for the MN Opera Chorus, and they hired him for seven productions. Wearing a kilt and sword, and singing right next to James Morris in “MacBeth” was a unforgettable experience! He’s done a lot of studio recording, including three of his own albums, several albums with David Haas, radio and television commercials, and many live concert recordings. Jack is a founding musician and performer of Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua and still performs there. He is also an accomplished goldsmith, silversmith, and does fine jewelry repairs. His current, most favorite gig is singing his second season with Twin Ports Choral Project!
Mark Hakes earned their Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with minors in History and German from Stetson University in DeLand, FL, their Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and their Master of Science in Teaching from The College of St. Scholastica. Mark currently works as the Assistant Director of Campus Ministry at The College of St. Scholastica where their work is focused on helping students delve into spirituality, participate in service and justice work, and engage in discernment of identity, values, and vocation. In addition to their paid work, Mark is active at the intersection of faith and queerness and engaged in justice and liberation work. They enjoy brewing beer, cider, and mead, baking, knitting and crocheting, building Legos, and gardening. Mark is also an avid runner and cross-country skier, activities they often do with their yellow lab, Anja. Mark continues to love music; teaching voice as an adjunct at The College of St. Scholastica, singing with Twin Ports Choral Project and Lyric Opera of the North, serving as a cantor at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, and performing as a soloist on occasion.
One of the most enjoyable aspects about Kim’s life in Duluth is singing with the TPCP, which she joined in February of 2017. She started singing professionally with the Schola Cantorum in San Francisco in the last part of the the 1990s and has been been blessed to be singing with a variety of professional and community choral groups since then. One highlight was singing with The Minnesota Beethoven Festival under the direction of Dale Warland for eight seasons.
Before moving to Duluth in 2008, Kim received her Minnesota K-12 Teaching Licence from Bemidji State University, where she taught choir at Voyageurs Expeditionary High School and sang in choral groups there. She earned her Masters degree in Vocal Music Education at University of Minnesota Duluth. In Duluth, she has worked as a substitute teacher, organist and choir director, and has enjoyed singing with other choral groups, including the DSSO Chorus periodically.
Regan Hjelle graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2015 with a Bachelors in Music Education where she served as President and Vice President of University Singers, performed at State ACDA 2014, and completed part of her student teaching experience at an international school in Slovenia. She has since performed in Mary Poppins with the Duluth Playhouse, has sung with the Twin Ports Choral Project for four seasons, and hopes to continue in being a part of Duluth's vast music scene. Regan has been working in the Duluth Public Schools as an elementary music specialist for the past 6 years. She is currently working at Laura MacArthur and Myers-Wilkins Elementary Schools and is pursuing a Master of Arts Degree in Music Education: Kodaly Concentration from the University of St. Thomas.
Rachel Holte has been singing in the Duluth area her entire life. She graduated from The University of Wisconsin Superior in 2016 with a Bachelors of Music Education Degree. During college, Rachel enjoyed singing with the UWS Acapella and Chamber choirs as well as being involved with the campus operas. She has also had the great pleasure of singing with the Duluth Superior Symphony Chorus and has been a chorus member in Lyric Opera of the North productions. Rachel currently works as an Elementary Music Educator in Cloquet, MN. When not teaching, she spends her time with friends, family, and her many pets.
Brian Kapp is the owner and operator of Encore Music Studios, and an instructor of Voice, Piano, and Organ. He is a native of central and southern Illinois, holding a Bachelor of Music degree in Keyboard Performance from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a Master of Arts degree in Liturgical Music with an emphasis in Voice Performance from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN. As a musician, Brian has served in many capacities across Southern Illinois and throughout Minnesota. He is Director of Music at St. Michael's Church in Duluth, accompanist of the dementia-friendly community choir, The Victory Chorus, sings in the Twin Ports Choral Project and serves as Dean of the Arrowhead Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Tasha Kapp, a Minnesota native, received her Bachelor's in Vocal Performance from the University of MN-Duluth, and has been singing with TPCP since their 2nd concert. She has been part of many musical groups in the area, most recently joining Strikepoint Handbell Ensemble. When not making music, Tasha works as a Senior Administrative Assistant at RSM, and spends her free time crafting, trying not to kill her houseplants, and hanging out with her beloved husband and cats.
Randy Lee is a long time music teacher and freelance musician/band leader across the state and region. He holds, and has held regional, state, and national offices in music education organizations (including President of the American School Band Directors’ Assoc). He has a Bachelor of Music-Education degree from UMD and a Master’s degree (MSEI) from UWS. He is the Founder, Artistic Director, and a featured woodwind soloist of the Big Time Jazz Orchestra, a 501©3, tax exempt, non-profit organization made up of the finest big band jazz musicians in the region. He was named a Promethean Award winner (outstanding alum) by UMD in 2019 and one of the Music Educators of the Year by the MN Music Educators’ Assoc. in 2018. He has conducted many honor band and honor jazz events in the state and region and has presented on instrumental music teaching topics at national and state conferences. He has served as section coach (saxophone/clar) for various honors events including the MN High School All-State Band and Jazz Band, adjudicated for the Eau Claire and UMD Jazz Festivals and Iowa High Sch Jazz Championships, and served as the Jazz Education Chair for the MN Music Educators’ Board of Directors. Randy is currently failing retirement with 5 part time jobs - active musician, teaching for three area music programs, and part time for Schmitt Music. He and his musical wife, Mary, raised four wonderful sons.
Singing has always been an important part of Taj Munson’s life. Previously, Taj performed with a wide variety of ensembles, from chamber and symphonic choruses to pop a capella groups, from street corners to Boston’s Symphony Hall. In addition to singing, Taj enjoys playing a variety of instruments in kitchen bands and pick-up sessions, especially when he can rope his wife and two sons to join in. Recently returned to his hometown of Duluth, he is delighted to once again be involved in choral music.
Dawson Ness is a 2020 graduate of the College of Saint Scholastica and recently took a position as the Business Teacher at Duluth East High School. He has been singing with Twin Ports Choral Project since Fall of 2019. Singing with TPCP has given him a fantastic opportunity to challenge himself and further explore his passion for singing. In his free time, Dawson enjoys taking walks with his cat, spending time with friends, trying new things, visiting new places, and singing sea shanties in the Duluth Armory Parking Lot.
Al Odean has been singing in various groups in the Twin Ports for the past three decades including Twin Ports Choral Project since 2012 and more than fifteen years with the Arrowhead Chorale. The son of a choral music director, his interest in choral music has always been at the forefront of leisure activities and he enjoys singing with this professional organization.
Kristin Paschen is in her first year with TPCP and is thrilled to be singing again after a rather long hiatus. She is a choir director at Ordean East Middle School, and formerly taught elementary music at Lester Park and Homecroft Elementary schools. Before taking a break to start a family, Kristin served as the soprano soloist with the State College Choral Society and taught middle school choir and general music at Mount Nittany Middle School in State College, PA. She would like to thank her family for giving her the time to make music again!
Madilyn Roeser is a lifelong lover of choral music. She graduated from The College of St. Scholastica with a degree in Elementary Education in 2021 and is now a fifth grade teacher at DECS North Star Academy. While at The College of St. Scholastica, Madilyn sang in Concert Choir and Bella Voce. As a young singer, she performed with the Lake Superior Youth Chorus and was a member of the A'Cappella choir and the Choralaires chamber ensemble at Duluth East High School. Madilyn is delighted to be a part of a group so dedicated to high quality music making.
Patrick Sheedy is an IT Professional for Minnesota Power and a Duluth native. He graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from UMN. Pat has consistently been involved in choral ensembles, spanning the Duluth Marshall choral program, the UMN University SIngers, the Oratorio Society, and now TPCP. Through this experience, he has picked up the niche skill of having near-perfect diction in a variety of languages he can't speak at all.
Dr. Darren Sheldon is the husband of a beautiful second Alto with the same last name who may actually sing lower than he does! Darren is a principal by day and referee by night as he is currently principal of Lakewood Elementary and is also Federal Programs Coordinator for ISD709. He officiates football, basketball, and volleyball at the high school and collegiate levels. Although singing for the Concordia College Choirs (Moorhead), most of his musical ambitions have come through musical theatre working with Crimson Creek (Grand Forks), Frostfire Theatre (Pembina, ND), Fort Totten Little Theatre / Lake Region Playmakers (Devils Lake), Park River Community Theatre, Maddock Opera House Association, and Grand Rapids Players. Some of his favorite roles are from Les Mis, Forever Plaid, West Side Story, Zombie Prom, and Candide. Darren and Rebecca have three children (Reese, Katrina, and JoeRon). Darren is honored to be singing with TPCP and states, "Every person I've had the pleasure of hearing in this group has an amazing voice!"
Rebecca Sheldon is a native to the Northland, finding a love for singing in choirs throughout her education in early educational years growing up in Grand Rapids. The love for singing continued as she went on to Concordia College Moorhead where she sang in the Freshman choir, Chapel choir and The Concordia Choir. After graduating from two undergraduate programs Rebecca moved on to study her second love of language and culture by moving herself and her son to Mexico and immersing herself in Mexican culture and solidifying her love of teaching. Upon return to the States she began teaching with little extra time for music (between raising a child, getting married and having more babies). However, she continued singing, if not to a young and mighty audience, to her early elementary students. Rebecca is currently a Kindergarten Spanish immersion teacher for Duluth public schools where you will find her singing Spanish children’s song throughout the day, helping to instill a love for language, culture and, hopefully, music into the minds of some of our youngest little learners.
James Williams graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Minnesota State University Mankato. He has performed in Minnesota Valley Chorale, Musicorum, and MSU-M Concert Choir. He has traveled both domestically and internationally with choral ensembles. He directed the adult choir at Centenary United Methodist Church in Mankato MN for seven years. He is currently an accountant and enjoys spending time with his wife and children.
Zach Wood was born and raised in Duluth and feels incredibly lucky to call this city his home! An outdoor enthusiast, winter is easily his favorite season. He sang throughout his time in the Duluth Public Schools system from Ordean East Middle School, Duluth East High School and The University of Minnesota Duluth, as well as two years singing with the choirs at St. Olaf University in Northfield, Minnesota. He credits his successful singing experiences to the wonderful direction and encouragement from previous choir directors; Sheila Schusterich, Jerome Upton, Tina Thielen-Gaffey, and Christopher Aspaas (respectively).
It took some convincing for Brianna Stolan to audition for choir in 10th grade, but little did she know this decision would mark the beginning of a wonderful journey of musical exploration that has spanned nearly 15 years. Her choral career includes performances and collaborations with the Minnesota State University Moorhead Concert Choir, Fargo Symphony Orchestra, and Univesity of Wisconsin Superior A'Capella Choir, Chamber Ensemble, and Opera Workshop. She is a current member of the DSSO Chorus, and a cantor for mass celebrations at Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior. Brianna has also appeared on stage with Lyric Opera of the North, and the Duluth Playhouse. She is also enjoys singing karaoke, especially with her dad. Brianna is incredibly excited to be part of TPCP, and is looking forward to sharing beautiful music with her fellow chorus members and audiences.