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 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.
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.
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