Mezzo-soprano Karen Carle Irwin grew up in Stockton, California, and graduated from Pacific Union College with a degree in Music Education, and obtained a Master’s Degree from San Francisco Conservatory of Music in Vocal Performance. She comes to St. John’s from St. Denis Parish in Menlo Park, where she was cantor, as well as choir director for St. Denis’ mission church, Our Lady of the Wayside. She loves singing and singers — believing strongly that everyone is a singer — and in the power of music to unify and uplift. As a performer, she has appeared in many oratorios, including Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat, Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s Mass in C-minor, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and Copland’s In The Beginning, singing with the San Francisco City Chorus, Berkeley Community Chorus, Soli Deo Glori, Quire Quodlibet, and the Community Music Center Orchestra and Chorus. Karen has sung leading and supporting roles with many Bay Area opera companies, including West Bay Opera, Sacramento Opera, Pocket Opera, Mendocino Music Festival, and Bear Valley Music Festival. In the fall of 2004 she created the role of Martha, in Alva Henderson’s “Nosferatu” for Rimrock Opera and Idaho Opera. Currently Karen is a professional member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. She teaches privately in her home in San Francisco, where she lives with her husband, Jim, and stepson, Kent.