Karen Melander-Magoon

Born in Dubuque, Iowa, Karen Melander graduated from Indiana University in Music and received her Masters Degree from Boston University. She spent two decades in Europe singing on the major stages of Germany and Austria. Her children, Aaron and Bridget, were born in the Loire Valley of France and in Berlin, Germany. In October, 2008, she received her Doctor of Ministry from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, through San Francisco Theological Seminary and Starr King School for the Ministry.

Karen married Orville Magoon in August, 1988. As a vintner in Guenoc Valley, Karen was responsible for bringing carmenère into California after years of quarantine in Canada and Geneva, New York. In 1994 it was certified for Guenoc Valley, and in 1996, after cloning sufficient budwood in Oregon, the Magoons had it planted on the Tephra Ridge, the hillside vineyards of the Guenoc estate. The carmenère clone planted in the USA is known as the Guenoc-Melander clone.

Karen has written wine songs and romantic songs as well as songs devoted to the culinary arts, songs for peace and songs about travel. As an advocate for children and human rights, she has created songs for teaching English as a foreign language, songs about the coastline and songs specifically for children. Her musicals, Lillie, a Musical, Georgia, Portrait of the Artist Georgia O'Keeffe and Clara, Angel of the Battlefield, have been performed in Hawaii, Vancouver, BC, Raleigh, NC, and other venues including numerous performances in Northern California. She has also written a work, Eve II, which she performed for the Fringe Festival in San Francisco. Her musical about Colette she plans to weave into a musical discourse on theater, poetry and France of the early Twentieth Century.

Karen has performed Marguerite in Faust, Olympia in The Tales of Hoffman, Blonde in The Abduction from the Seraglio, Nanetta in Falstaff, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Norina in Don Pasquale, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Carolina in The Secret Marriage, and Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, as well as many other major roles of the opera stage. She continues to sing opera and concert repertoire as well as Lieder and French art songs in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has recorded not only her musicals, but also two albums of art songs: Songs of Innocence and Footsteps in the Sands of Time.

In addition to occasional jazz performances, Karen offers piano vocal afternoons regularly to retirement communities. She weaves song into her sermons as a Unitarian Universalist minister. She is also still available to teach or coach, particularly German song repertoire. Karen will be inaugurated as President of North Beach Neighbors, a vibrantly active community organization in North Beach, on April 13, 2009. She has been active as Chairman of Unitarian Universalist Forum for two years, engaging diverse speakers to address issues of social justice, human rights and ecological responsibility. She is guest minister at Unitarian Universalist communities throughout northern California and beyond, often weaving her songs and poetry into sermons on forgiveness, peace, renewal and hope.

Karen’s publications include I Love Wine and other songs, Songs of Sea and Shore, Lillie, A Musical, Wiggly’s Adventures with English, Willie and Wilhelmina, Achatinella, A Snail Story, and A Culinary Voyage with Lillie Langtry. Her compact disc recordings include: Songs of Innocence (Dr. Lynn Wheeler, Pacific Union College, at the piano), including Benjamin Britten’s Charm of Lullabies, Poulenc’s La courte paille, and Mussorgsky’s Nursery; Footsteps in the Sands of Time (Frank Fanning at the piano) including selected Brahms Lieder, Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben, selections from the Italienisches Liederbuch by Hugo Wolf, and Debussy’s Chansons de Bilitis as well as selections from the Ariettes oubliées; Lillie, a Musical (piano arrangements and accompaniment by Frank Fanning), her musical about Lillie Langtry; and Georgia,(piano arrangements and accompaniment by Frank Fanning), her musical portrait of Georgia O'Keeffe.

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