Music students build their education, lives together at Minot State

By Emily Schmidt
University Communications Student Assistant

MINOT, N.D. – The Division of Performing Arts at Minot State is known for creating a family-like community.  On the choir trip to Norway in May of 2019, however, two music education students took the first step toward becoming husband and wife.

Arnikka Thompson of Leeds and Anthony Schreier of Grand Forks did not know each other when they first came to Minot State.

“We actually went to a lot of the same music festivals without realizing it throughout high school,” said Schreier, namely the North Dakota All-State Music Festival and NDSU Choral Festival.

While both were avid music festivalgoers, Thompson had a particularly special relationship with them.

“I lived for festivals and contests,” she said. “That’s where I made all my friends. I made networks with teachers. That’s where I met Mr. Young (assistant professor of woodwinds Charlie Young) and Dr. Rolandson (director of bands David Rolandson), at Northwest (music festival at Minot State).  I went to IMC (International Music Camp) since 2012, and I think I went 15 weeks overall, so that was fun.”

This exposure was part of the reason Thompson chose to attend Minot State.

“It was always Minot State,” she said. “I got introduced to Minot State from the symphony. My great aunt and uncle had prime seats: balcony, first row in the middle. We’d get their February concert tickets, the family, and friends. The first year I went, I put my head on the wall that’s in front and said, ‘I'm going to be on that stage one day,’ and my mom was like, life changing moment right there. I also took lessons here starting in seventh grade, drove here twice a month, every month. Then Northwest happened and I went there every year. I got the five-year award senior year and thought, you know what, this is pretty cool. Mr. Young came and I thought he was really cool too.”

Schreier had a similar experience with the music faculty.

“I picked Minot because I liked how it was a small community,” said Schreier. “It seemed like the music department had places to grow, and it felt more like a tightly knit community. The Luminus Trio (comprised of Minot State faculty Jon Rumney, Erik Anderson, and Dianna Anderson) would tour the state, and they would come to my school sometimes. I walked up to them one day and asked if I could get some more information about Minot State. Dr. Rumney, one time he came up and gave me a lesson while they were on tour so I didn’t have to come all the way over here.”

Being in the same graduating class, the two had most of their music classes together when they started at the University.

“I always tell Arnikka the first time I saw her, well theory was the first day of classes, but it was at 8 a.m., so I was still asleep a little bit,” he said. “But then I saw her in aural skills, and I recognized her from DCM (Dakota Chamber Music) that summer and thought, she's pretty cute. I should get to know her a little bit. We started talking because I didn’t have my book yet for FYE (their first-year experience course), so I sent her this dorky little email.”

“It’s still in my inbox,” Thompson added.

The next semester, the choir started preparing for their upcoming trip to Norway that summer.  Having a close relationship with the country, Thompson started saving up from the moment she found out about the tour.

“I have always been very close to my Norwegian heritage,” she said. “My mom started taking me to Sons of Norway meetings in Maddock when I was a baby. I also went to Norway with my mom's side of the family in 2013 for two weeks.”

She also reigned as Miss Norsk Høstfest in 2017.

Schreier knew of Thompson’s love for her heritage and for making music, so he saw the choir trip in 2019 as the perfect opportunity to propose.

“What was going on at that time was all the singers, they had an accordion player, they were all singing these songs, teaching us these songs,” said Thompson. “It was quite magical. At one point they were taking requests. We figured out that our song is “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis Presley; he asked for that and I'm just like, oh no, what’s he doing."

“She didn’t even want to get up,” added Schreier. “She was embarrassed to slow dance in the middle of the boat in front of everybody. She’s like, no that’s so dumb, and I had to force her to, like, ‘Please. Please. Please. Right now.’”

“They were all singing, and once they turned around and saw him on his knee, they screamed,” said Thompson.

“I was prepared to jump off the boat if she said no,” he said.

“We were very far out from shore,” she added.

“And it was very cold,” he added. “Right after that, one of the shanty singers took his sailor hat off and put it on me, and they serenaded us. They wanted to do the wedding right then and there because they’re all officiants. We were like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, not right now. This is just the setup. None of our family is here.”

Life has been largely unchanged for them since the proposal; the couple established a partnership in their schooling well before their engagement.

“We don’t purposefully plan our schedules around each other because she’s going to end up finishing a semester earlier than me, so I end up taking a lot of my gen-eds alone,” said Schreier. “But for all of our music classes, it’s nice because then we can compare and contrast notes.”

“A built-in study buddy,” added Thompson.

While they do both share a passion for music, they have slightly different approaches to their education.

“Arnikka is a planner,” he said. “She does not procrastinate. She gets all of her stuff done. My philosophy is if tomorrow ain’t the due date, today ain’t the ‘do’ date.”

“Eye roll,” Thompson joked.

“And she hates that philosophy. As far as the music aspect of our degree though, I think we’re pretty like-minded,” he said. “We won’t improve if we don’t get into the practice room. We encourage each other to go practice. We encourage each other to take breaks and go eat.”

“I have to do that a lot,” she added.

“He flew through theory and aural skills right away,” she said. “He actually helped me a lot freshman year, studying and staying up late trying to do the scales backwards and everything.”

“So it’s kind of nice having someone in the music department with me,” he said, “because if I'm being lazy, if I'm not getting my practicing down and I'm complaining about how my lesson was terrible, she’ll be like, ‘well you should have practiced more,’ and it goes vice versa too.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 10/19/20   

» More MSU News