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A World of Music at the Carl O. Thompson Memorial Concert

by Dakota Drobnicki

Director Scott Guidry (r) conducts the Blue Ice Jazz Band at the 2018 Carl O. Thompson Memorial Concert.

BEMIDJI – The groups at the Carl O. Thompson Memorial Concert this Sunday rocked yet another performance at Bangsberg Hall—with a packed house to boot.

The Chamber Singers and the Bemidji Choir began the festivities with sets under the direction of Dr. Dwight Jilek. The audience switched theaters afterwards to watch the Wind Ensemble and the Blue Ice Jazz Band do their thing with Scott Guidry at the helm.

The vocal groups arranged a “world music” focus for their half of the proceedings—their selections included songs from Italy (“Il Bianco e Dolce Cigno”), Venezuela (“Mata del Anima Sola”) and Indonesia (“Hela Rotan”).

The Carl O. Thompson Vocal Scholarship awardee, Kari Norheim, performed with the Chamber Singers.

The most rousing performances during the latter two sets came from bass trombonist Levi Espeseth, who was recently awarded the Carl O. Thompson Instrumental Scholarship. Both sets provided him time for solo performances, which the crowds applauded.

Espeseth offered advice to students striving for what he achieved tonight. “You just have to work hard,” he said. “Listen to what your teachers tell you and what your classmates say.”

The concert is named in the memory of Professor Carl O. Thompson (1906-1983), who arrived at BSU in 1937 to teach vocal music. Over the following decades, he took charge of the music department and made BSU renowned for musical excellence in northern Minnesota.

Carl O. Thompson Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate the excellence that Thompson strove for during his tenure. Two scholarships are awarded each year—one vocal and one instrumental.