Karen Brooks | Founder

Karen has spent the last thirty years as an active freelance bassoonist, contrabassoonist and teacher. Currently, Karen is a member of the Duluth-Superior Symphony and is on the faculties of the St. Paul Conservatory of Music and the Mt. Olivet School of Music. Karen has also performed on numerous occasions with the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera and the Florida Orchestra, among others. She is most at home in the opera orchestra pit where she has performed with Sarasota Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Utah Festival Opera and Ash Lawn Opera. She has performed chamber music with Music St. Croix in Stillwater, MN and with Alpha Omega Ensemble in New York City. As a bassoon teacher, she has given master classes at Gustavus Adolphus College and at Edina High School.

Karen took a hiatus from the rigors of musical life to attend law school. Her article on stalking laws was published by the Hamline Journal of Law and Public Policy and won Minnesota Women Lawyers 1993 Equal Justice Award. She clerked in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and for a Washington County Judge before entering private practice.

As a member of the Ash Lawn Opera Company, Karen gained first-hand knowledge of the workings of a small opera company. She learned about the audition process from singers and about other aspects of a summer opera festival such as scheduling, staging and weather emergencies from her four years in the company. She also learned about other approaches to opera operations during her participation in three other larger opera companies.




Karen Brooks



Genna Carlson

Account Director, Catapult Marketing


Kingston Fletcher

Retired Executive, Proctor & Gamble


Heather Johnson

Mezzo Soprano, Metropolitan Opera


 Rachael Scherer

 Vice President of Global Strategy, Cardiac Rhythm & Heart Failure, Medtronic Inc.

Merete Wells

Digital Media Director, Target


C. Ryan Shipley

Education Program Director


Lea Johnson

Fundraiser & Organizational Growth Strategist

Cleary Consulting