When she began her teaching career at Lafayette High School in St. Louis, she grew the a cappella choir from an anemic eight members to 40 strong. Later, when she ran her own company, Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc., managing the careers of concert organists and choirs, she offered free career management to winners of the American Guild of Organists’ biennial National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance.
Now, living at Judson Manor, she continues inspiring students as chapter advisor to the collegiate chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon, an international music fraternity at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM).
“Living at Judson Manor in the heart of University Circle makes it extremely convenient to continue doing something I absolutely love-working with young musicians,” says Karen. “Plus we have three CIM students living here at the Manor and others that perform here throughout the school year.”
Under her guidance, CIM’s Mu Phi Epsilon chapter has grown exponentially. In recognition of her efforts, Karen was named 2012-2013 Chapter Advisor of the Year.
“I make sure they do all the things they’re required to do by the international organization,” says Karen. “But I’ve also encouraged them to tackle meaningful community service projects.”
For example, for three consecutive years the chapter received a $5,000 grant from Neighborhood Connections to mentor music students at John Hay High School and the Cleveland School of the Arts. Fraternity members reviewed and awarded limited scholarships to seniors from both schools who planned to study music in college.
“The orchestra director at John Hay was ecstatic about the program,” says Karen. “Even though the grant expired, the CIM students continue to tutor high school students as time permits.”
In addition to guiding the CIM chapter’s service work, Karen has been instrumental in sharing her business savvy with students.
“Having a concert career is about more than singing or playing an instrument well. We discuss the importance of networking. There’s a whole world out there, and Mu Phi Epsilon is a great way for them to stay connected.”
For more information about the independent living lifestyle at Judson Manor, please call (216) 791-2004 or click here.
Miss the other three parts in the series? Check out Judson Manor Residents Give Back – Part 1.