Carl O. Thompson

1980 F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award
Carl O. Thompson (1906-1983)

Carl O. Thompson came to Bemidji State in 1937 as an instructor in vocal music. For many years, his name was synonymous with choral music in the region. His efforts led to the formation of the A Cappella Choir, the Bemidji Civic Oratorio Society, and the Lutheran Campus Center. He was president of the Minnesota Music Educators Association during the year of 1948-49. He lectured each summer for twenty years at the Paul Christiansen Choral Schools throughout the United States and directed numerous high school music clinics and festivals. He served as director of the First Lutheran Church Choir for 25 years. He is well known for editing a collection used by voice teachers all over the United States, "55 Art Songs."

As chairman of the department of music at Bemidji State University, Thompson did much to establish the university as a leader in quality education and the cultural life of northern Minnesota. The scholarship which carries his name rewards students who reflect this concern for excellence and commitment.

For those who knew Carl, his life was more than just a series of accomplishments. He was an instant and lasting friend to all he met. He was rooted in the past, but had a pioneering spirit which rejoiced in the shared dreams of the future.