Mark Bilyeu - Artistic Director
Mark Bilyeu enters his 6th season with the South Metro Chorale, with the 2018-'19 season marking
his new role as Artistic Director. Previously the Assistant Director/Pianist for SMC, Bilyeu is
thrilled with this new opportunity to grow and develop SMC in meaningful ways for both members
and community. As a conductor, he has had the privilege to work on fully-staged opera productions
(University of Northern Iowa Opera, Chicago Folks Operetta, Ensemble113), workshops of opera premieres
(Chicago Opera Vanguard), as well as numerous musical theatre and choral organizations. In
addition to his work with the South Metro Chorale, he is the Assistant Conductor of the Calliope
Women’s Chorus (St. Paul, MN), and is the Director of Music at Calvin Presbyterian Church in Long
Lake, MN. As a pianist, he has been described as a “superb partner,” who passionately engages
in music as a committed performer, inspiring teacher and enterprising curator. He has taught at
Viterbo University (LaCrosse, WI) and the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls). He is also
the Co-Founding Artistic Director of the Source Song Festival. Held in Minneapolis, Minnesota,
Source is a week-long celebration of words and music which includes public concerts and
masterclasses by international artists for pianists and singers, as well as a composer institute
led by Libby Larsen. Whether playing or conducting, Bilyeu is recognized for his commitment
to creative programming and his support of local music. The Star Tribune has said: “…Bilyeu…[is]
to the Minnesota classical music scene what craft brewers are to the beer industry - purveyor
of a distinctive local product, at a period when corporate brands and entities seem increasingly
distant and distrusted.” Mark holds degrees from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and the
University of Minnesota, studying with Timothy Lovelace and Chicago Symphony Orchestra pianist
Mary Sauer. He has studied at the Aspen Summer Music Festival, Britten-Pears, Vancouver
International Song Institute and l’Academie Françis Poulenc. Additional studies with Malcolm
Martineau, Roger Vignoles and Susan Manoff. He is heard on the Bridge, Navonna and Leaf labels.
Loren Squires - Founding Director Emeritus
Loren retired from active directing in December 2010 after leading SMC for 13 years.
Loren received his B.M.E. from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and his M.M.E.
at MacPhail College of Music. He taught public school music education for 39 years,
the last 35 at Burnsville High School. He was formerly Assistant Director of the Bach
Society Chorus and a member of the Minnesota Chorale. Loren has also directed choirs
at five area churches and was a professor of music at North Central University.