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Karen Keene

Organ Music by Karen Keene


As an organist and a composer, Karen Keene's primary interest lies in enabling congregational singing. Her publications with MorningStar Music, Harold Flammer, and Warner Brothers reflect her focus on "the people's song." She holds degrees from The Conservatory of Music at Oberlin and from Union Theological Seminary's School of Sacred Music. Working in Erie, Pennsylvania, Karen Keene is closely associated with two of the city's three contemporary tracker organs.

She spent many years (Don't ask!) as staff musician of the First United Methodist Church where she presided over the installation of Erie's first tracker--a distinguished 58-rank instrument built by Lawrence Phelps. When she eventually hung up her Methodist dancing shoes, the congregation named her Organist Emerita. The title honors her years of service and recognizes “.....her contributions to church music that extend far beyond the local church.....”

In 2004 she joined the faculty of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, as Lecturer in Organ Music and Smith Chapel Organist. The chapel houses Erie's newest mechanical-action instrument--Martin Ott's versatile Opus 100, installed in 2002.

In addition to her post at the College, Karen is Organist and Director of Cantors at Church of Saint John the Baptist, Roman Catholic. The parish has two organs: a noble 1903 Felgemaker (32 ranks) and a clean, bold 1970 Tellers of six ranks. The job offers gobs of opportunities for composition!


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