Karen Nevins, M.A. in Performance
Karen (Long) Nevins is a teacher of voice, choral director and vocal/choral clinician and adjudicator. She founded and serves as Artistic and Executive Director of Carillon Women's Chorale. For her years of service to each organization, Karen holds Emeritus memberships for Michigan School Vocal Music Association (2015) and National Association of Teachers of Singing (2021).
Karen retired from teaching public school choral music in August, 2013 after 18 years of service to the Lincoln High School Choirs (Ypsilanti) and 2 previous years teaching K-12 vocal music in Grass Lake Public Schools. She acquired Bachelor of Music Education (Voice/Piano) and a Masters of Arts in Choral Performance degrees from Eastern Michigan University with further study at the University of Michigan, VanderCook School of Music (Chicago) and the Rene Clausen Choral School (MN).
In 1993, Karen began teaching in Grass Lake Public Schools, where she taught K-12 Vocal Music. In 1995, she moved to Lincoln Consolidated Schools (Ypsilanti) teaching K-2 General Music and three high school choirs (General Choir, Concert Choir and Lincoln Choral Jazz. By 1996, Karen expanded the high school program to five choirs in four classes, to include entry level choirs: Women's Chorus, Men of Lincoln and select choirs: Concert Choir Women, Lincoln Concert Choir and Split Dimensions (Advanced Women) and Piano/Theory. She directed seventeen musical theater productions to include such as: Oliver, Music Man, The King and I, Cinderella, Scrooge, Sound of Music, State Fair, Annie, Calamity Jane, Seussical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Guys and Dolls, Funny Girl. In 2010, a highly select co-curricular mixed ensemble was auditioned from Men of Lincoln and Split Dimensions to form Lincoln's Vocal Essence.
Under Karen's direction, Lincoln choirs were consistently recognized with Superior and First Division ratings at both District and State Festivals. Individual singers achieved positions in the Michigan School Vocal Musical Association's Regional, State and All-State Honors Choirs, and in M.E.N.C. National Honors Choirs. Based upon their State Solo and Ensemble Festival performances, Lincoln advanced ensembles were selected by their adjudicators for consideration to perform at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. Through blind auditions, Split Dimensions performed in the 2012 Michigan Music Conference M.S.V.M.A. Choral Hour and Lincoln Vocal Essence performed as Distinguished Scholars at the 2012 Michigan Youth Arts Festival State Solo and Ensemble Hour. By blind audition, Split Dimensions was selected to perform in the 2012 A.C.D.A.-Michigan Fall State Conference. In 2010, Michigan's Governor Granholm invited Lincoln Split Dimensions to perform Holiday selections in her Lansing residence for the annual Holiday Employee gathering.
Karen has taught voice and piano in her studio since 1984. Since her retirement, Karen continues teaching voice privately in her home studio and in Dearborn High School and (summers) at Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church. In 2001, Karen served as adjunct instructor of Applied Voice at Adrian College. She taught at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in 2001. Her voice students have consistently been recognized with superior ratings at M.S.V.M.A. Solo and Ensemble Festivals and at National Association of Teachers of Singing (N.A.T.S.) State and Regional competitions.
Throughout her teaching, Karen was recognized in several publications of "Who's Who of America's Teachers" and "Who's Who of America's Professional Women."
A mezzo-soprano/alto soloist since 1985, Karen soloed with church, community, and university choirs. Karen performed in the Ann Arbor Symphony Chorus for performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, concert performance of Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutti" and in a 2014 performance of Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms." In her own collegiate solo performances, Karen has won recognition in both State and Great Lakes Regional N.A.T.S. competitions. She served four years as Treasure of N.A.T.S.-Michigan. As an undergrad and graduate student at E.M.U., she soloed regularly with E.M.U. ensembles and Opera Workshops and she won the 1992 Voice Area Concerto Competition. In 1997, she soloed in Carnegie Hall under the direction of Dr. Leonard Riccinto and Sir David Willcocks. In later years she performed oratorio and opera throughout southeast Michigan and performed for family life events.
In 2001, Karen became the founding director of the adult auditioned Carillon Women's Chorale. With an aversion for the vast array of wonderful treble choir literature composed for women. Karen's extensive research pertaining to the young virtuoso female musicians of the Venetian Ospedali, inspired her to perform her 2002 EMU Masters Degree recital with Carillon women's Chorale and Lincoln's Split Dimensions, providing an antiphonal setting of Nicholai Porpora's Magnificat with orchestra.
Karen has been active in the M.S.V.M.A. since her induction as adjudicator/clinician in 1992. In her retirement, Carillon has continued performing seasonal performances and most recently, some of her Lincoln Men of Lincoln alums have reached out to request she align singers for the formation of The Corona Men's Ensemble.
In her 2013 retirement, Karen took the position of Music Director at Light of Christ Catholic Parish in Blissfield (St. Peter) and Deerfield (St. Alphonsus) and also serves as clinician for school choirs, churches and choral events. Since becoming an M.S.V.M.A. Adjudicator/Clinician in 1992, Karen continues adjudicating M.S.V.M.A. District and State Festivals and Regional and State Honors Choir auditions. During her teaching years, in service to M.S.V.M.A., she served two years as District 12 Manager and four years as Treasurer. She and her students have hosted numerous M.S.V.M.A. festivals, Regional Honors Choir auditions, and SSAA State Honors Choir rehearsals. She has also hosted invitational choral festivals. In 1999, she was awarded the prestigious M.S.V.M.A. Carolyn Leep Scholarship for her M.A. degree studies. She was greatly honored in 2013 when voted by her M.S.V.M.A. colleagues to the final ballot for Teacher of the Year. Karen's colleagues elected her to conduct the 2007 M.S.V.M.A. Regional Honors Choir and the 2008 State SSAA Honors Choir in Grand Rapids DeVos Auditorium. Locally, Karen also served as guest conductor of the 2008 and 2014 Lenawee Fine Arts High School Honors Choirs and in 2012 she was invited to conduct the University of Toledo High School Honors Choir.
Karen has served the A.C.D.A.-Michigan board from 1999-present, filling such positions as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Women's Choirs, Secretary (8 years), Newsletter Editor, Website Chair and Historian. She had several articles published in the A.C.D.A. Bella Voce newsletter. She was awarded the 2016 Maynard Klein Award in recognition for her service to A.C.D.A.-Michigan and for her service to Choral Music in Michigan. A native of Blissfield, Karen and her husband, Ken, raised their three grown children, Christopher, Dana Patrick, and Heather. Today, precious moments are spent making memories with their married children and ten lovely and most gifted grandchildren.