RICK BJELLA was hired in September 2009 as full professor and Director of Choral Studies at Texas Tech University. The highly acclaimed University Choir made its Carnegie performance debut on May 2, 2010 to rave reviews. They performed as the only college choir to sing at the 2012 TMEA Convention in San Antonio to two standing ovations and also appeared at the National ACDA Convention in Dallas in 2013 as well. Recent doctoral students are now teaching at The Ohio State University, UW-Platteville, University of Oregon, Wayne State University, and Texas A & M.
Previous to 2009, Bjella was the Director of Choral Studies at Lawrence University, Conservatory of Music. The Concert Choir most recently performed for the 2009 National American Choral Directors Association Convention in Oklahoma City. Bjella has conducted outside the United States in Prague, Paris, Lucerne, Vilnius, Seoul, and London and has guest conducted over 350 festivals and workshops in 30 states. Most recently he was honored to conduct the Tennessee Men’s All-State, Alaska All-State, Arizona All-State, the Connecticut All-State, the Collegiate All-State Choir - Wisconsin, the National OAKE HS Choir , Mozart Requiem in Lincoln Center, and presented sessions in Tennessee, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Washington for music educators. His choral arrangements have received national recognition and have been performed in 24 states. Bjella is honored to present workshops or have had guest conducting opportunities at Westminster Choir College, Iowa State University, Michigan MSVMA Summer Workshop, UW Wisconsin- Oshkosh, Cobb County School District – Atlanta, Georgia, Summer All-State Camp (Bass Hall) -Dallas, Wisconsin Middle level All-State, Minnesota Church Choir Festival, Mississippi State University Festival, countless Region Festival in Texas, and at the National ACDA Convention between 2013-14.
Bjella served as President of the Wisconsin Choral Directors’ Association, has been a part of the Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance leadership team for Wisconsin Music Educators Association, and various state and regional leadership positions with ACDA and WMEA as well. He has been inducted into the Washington High School Fine Arts Hall of Fame, listed in the World Concert Artist Directory of Conductors, and Biltmore’s “Who’s, Who in America”. He was recently awarded the Hanns Kretzchmar Award for Excellence in the Arts (2006), received the ‘Lawrence Excellence in Teaching Award’ (2007) and, The Morris Hayes, ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ (2013) from the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association.