Choral Program Director and Organist, Notre Dame Celebration and Handbell Choir Director, Notre Dame Folk Choir Interim Director
Karen Schneider-Kirner serves as the Interim Director of the Notre Dame Folk Choir, Director of the Handbell and Celebration Choirs and as an Assistant Organist at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. She also serves as a resource for pianists while assisting with choral development for chapel dorm musicians.
Karen received her bachelor’s degree in organ performance from Ball State University before moving to New Haven to earn her master’s degree in sacred music with an organ concentration from the Yale School of Music. At Yale, she also received her master’s in arts and religion through the Institute of Sacred Music. Following graduate school, she worked for three years in Long Island, NY as a full time Director of Music, which led to a year of intensive applied study in Vienna, Austria at the Hochschüle für Musik und Darstellende Kunst. There, her focus was choral conducting, organ, piano, voice lessons and harpsichord/continuo playing.
Following a year of immersion in European music, life and culture, Karen accepted a position as Director of Music at St. Albert the Great in Kettering, Ohio. After three years of music ministry at the parish, she moved on to Notre Dame in 1997. She and her husband Scott have twin 11-year-old daughters, Emma and Claire, and a 7-year-old son, Joseph. Karen is a published composer of choral and handbell music with World Library Publications of Chicago, and recently co-wrote Mass for Our Lady with colleague Steve Warner. In addition to doing all things musical, she loves spending time with her family, attending artistic/cultural events and studying the violin. Students are always welcome to stop by her office for conversation. Be prepared, however, to undoubtedly be asked to sign up and participate in a CM musical ensemble!