Musikanten is the Bemidji State men’s chorus directed by Dr. Dwight Jilek, and assisted by Joshua Sorenson. It is open to students of all majors across campus, and no prior singing experience is necessary.
Musikanten was founded in 2000 by section leaders Tim Campbell (Director 2000-2001) and Eric Barnum (Director 2000-2002), but was not given the name till May of 2005 when they went on their first concert tour.
Musikanten was recently the featured university group at the Real Men Sing festival in October of 2016 at Staples-Motley High School, and again this year in October of 2017.
Dwight Jilek is the Director of Choral Activities at Bemidji State University, and conducts the Bemidji Choir, Chamber Singers, Damenstimmen Women’s Chorus, and Musikanten Men’s Chorus. He also teaches conducting, choral literature, and choral arranging.
Dr. Jilek recently completed his doctoral studies in Choral Conducting at the University of North Texas with a related field in Vocal Pedagogy. He conducted the UNT Concert Choir and received the Outstanding Graduate Conductor award in 2016. Dr. Jilek attended Michigan State University where he earned a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting, was the assistant conductor to the Men’s Glee Club and State Singers, the Chorus Master for the Opera Theatre Program, and director of the Young Men’s Chorus for the Community Music School. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Music Education from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.
Dr. Jilek was the Assistant Conductor to the Dallas Symphony Chorus from 2013-2016, and was Chorus Master for the Christmas with the Dallas Symphony series. He worked with Director, Joshua Habermann, to prepare choruses for Jaap van Zweden, Jacques Lacombe, Simone Young, Nick Carter, Larry Loh, and Tomáš Netopil.
Before pursuing his graduate degrees, Dr. Jilek was vocal music director for six years (2005-2011) in Minnesota at Northfield High School where he oversaw five curricular and four extracurricular choirs, along with the curricular vocal lesson program. Under his direction, the Northfield Concert Choir was accepted by audition to perform in the inaugural Minnesota ACDA Choral Arts Finale (2006), the Minnesota State ACDA Convention (2007), the Minnesota MEA Convention (2008), and was a featured choir at the Luther College Choral Invitational (2007), and St. Olaf Choral Festival (2009).
Dr. Jilek has been active as a singer, performing in the UNT A Capella Choir, UNT Collegium Early Music Singers, the Michigan State University Chorale, Westminster Chamber Choir, and Magnum Chorum. He has over ten years of church music experience, most recently as the Traditional Choir and Adult Handbell Choir director at St. Andrew Catholic Parish in Fort Worth, TX. Dr. Jilek now serves as the Minnesota ACDA Repertoire and Resources Coordinator at the Collegiate level. He lives in Bemidji with his wife Alyssa and three children.
Dr. Sarah Cohen is Assistant Director of Choral Activities and Vocal Music Education at the College of St. Scholastica. She holds a BA in Vocal Music Education from the University of St. Thomas, an MA in Music Education with a Choral Conducting emphasis from the same institution, and a DMA in Choral Conducting from Texas Tech University.
At CSS, Dr. Cohen directs the Women’s Choir, Men’s Choir, and Concert Choir, as well as teaches courses in vocal music education and conducting, supervises vocal music education student teachers, and teaches a freshman Dignitas course. In the Duluth community, she is the Assistant Chorus Master of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra Choir, Assistant Artistic Director of the Lake Superior Youth Chorus, Director of the LSYC Prelude Program, and sings with the Twin Ports Choral Project.
Prior to her appointment at CSS, Dr. Cohen taught middle school choir in Minnesota and was Artistic Director of the St. Cloud State University Cantabile Girls’ Choir. Under her direction, the Cantabile Concert Choir performed nationally at the Organization of American Kodály Educators conference (2011) and locally at the Minnesota Music Educators Association convention (2013). She is a member of ACDA, NAfME, NCCO, and The VoiceCare Network.
Dr. Bret Amundson is the Director of Choral Activities and Director of General Education at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Saint John's University, MN, a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from Saint Cloud State University, MN, and a Doctorate of Music in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington.
At The College of St. Scholastica, Bret directs the Concert Choir, Bella Voce, and Women's Choir, teaches courses in music education and conducting, and is the Director of the College's Dignitas program. Bret is the Artistic Director of the Lake Superior Youth Chorus, the Artistic Director of the Twin Ports Choral Project, and the Choir Director at Pilgrim Congregational Church.
Previously, Bret served three years as Vocal Music Director at Cathedral High School/John XXIII Middle School in St. Cloud, MN where he conducted five curricular choirs, two co-curricular choirs, and taught individual voice lessons. 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 of Minnesota's Outstanding Young Conductor Award. From 2005-2008, Bret was the Associate Artistic Director of The St. John's Boys Choir, where he conducted the Junior Varsity Choir and led the recorder and theory programs.
Bret currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Choral Director's Association of Minnesota where he is the editor of its Star of the North publication. He also sits on the Board of Directors for The St. John's Boys Choir and is a member-at-large for the NAfME Choral Education Council. Bret currently sings with the Twin Ports Choral Project, and has previously sung with the UW Chamber Singers, and the Twin-Cities based choral ensemble, Kantorei. He is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, The College Music Society, Chorus America, and the VoiceCare Network.