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A native Nebraskan, Karlene has spent a decade in New York City working as a vocalist, voice instructor, and teaching artist dedicated to student growth and committed to encouraging artistic expression in students of all ages.
While in Nebraska, Karlene earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater from Nebraska Wesleyan University. She has trained in a variety of vocal styles including opera, art song, musical theatre, pop/rock, and folk music. Karlene has over 12 years of choral experience, including her time spent traveling nationally and internationally with the Nebraska Choral Arts Society’s Bel Canto ensemble under the direction of Z. Randall Stroope. With the choir, she toured in Japan, China, and across Europe, presenting traditional folk songs on the Great Wall of China and competing in the International Music Festival in Llangollen, Wales.
In New York, she performed throughout the city in different venues, including Feinstein’s/54 Below, Don’t Tell Mama, The Duplex, The Broadway Comedy Club, and Room 53. As a semi-finalist in The Brooklyn X Factor Vocal Competition, Karlene was invited to perform a selection of jazz hits for Gloria Carter, Jay-Z’s mother, at Diamondz N Da Ruff Cafe & Lounge. Along with her performance experience, Karlene has worked in professional recording studios, including her work at Soundtrack Studios as a vocalist for Pulitzer Prize nominated composer, Stephen Melillo, in his grammy-nominated opera, Son of the Storm.
As a vocal instructor, Karlene has experience in both classical and contemporary vocal styles (with an emphasis on Contemporary Commercial Music technique). She has trained in vocal pedagogy foundations, body work, resonant voice strategies, improvisation, and the Estill Voice Training method. Each lesson with Karlene is individually crafted, based on each student’s vocal goals. Applying evidence-based voice teaching, Karlene focuses on curating vocal strategies and exercises to explore a student’s most resonant voice. These strategies allow a student to reach a new level of confidence and self expression.
As a singer-songwriter, herself, Karlene is thrilled to be a part of the creative community at Eastside Music School and to encourage students to find the beauty in their own unique voices.