Karen Schneider-Kirner has been associated with the Notre Dame Folk Choir since 1997, working closely alongside the founder of the ensemble, Steve Warner. As Associate Director, she collaborated with Steve in composing and arranging a lot of the music of the choir over the years, including the Mass for Our Lady, published through World Library Publications. She has also been a part of the extensive touring and recording aspects of the choir. She also founded the Notre Dame Celebration Choir and directed that group from 1997 through the Spring semester of 2016. At the University of Notre Dame, Karen also directs the five-octave Handbell Choir and serves as one of four full-time organists serving the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, under the auspices of Campus Ministry. She has also served as a music director for churches in Connecticut, New York, and Ohio.
An Indiana native, Ms. Schneider-Kirner is also a concert organist and has played solo recitals in cathedrals across the U.S. and in Europe. From Yale University she holds a Masters of Music degree and a Masters in Art and Religion, through the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Her Bachelor of Music degree is from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She has pursued further studies in organ and church music through the Hochschüle für Musik in Vienna, Austria.
Karen and her husband Scott, who supports the Folk Choir as guitarist, have three children—14-year-old twin daughters Claire and Emma along with their 11-year-old son Joseph.
Christian is a native of Boston and graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2007 with majors in Accountancy and Sacred Music. While on campus he sang in the Liturgical Choir and was an organ student of both Craig Cramer and Gail Walton. After graduating from Notre Dame, Christian joined the real estate assurance practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston, where he was a senior associate on the audit of one of the largest owners, managers, and developers of first-class office properties in the United States. Prior to returning to Notre Dame full time, Christian was an associate at AEW Capital Management, with responsibility for the portfolio accounting of both value-added and senior housing real estate investment assets.
Additionally, during his time in Boston, Christian served as the organist at Holy Name Parish in West Roxbury. Christian currently works on the Investment Office operations team, with particular focus on the valuation, compliance and reporting aspects of the University's public equities and multi-strategy portfolios. In addition to his Investment Office responsibilities, Christian helps oversee the Notre Dame Liturgical Choir Scholars Program which he co-founded along with Gail Walton and Andrew McShane. Outside of Notre Dame, Christian serves the community as a trustee and member of the Investment Committee of the Tommy Fuss Fund in Boston, which promotes medical research in the area of mental illness.
Steven C. Warner
Steven Warner received his B.A. in Religious Studies from St. Michael's College in Winooski Park, Vermont, where he then served as Director of Liturgy for two years. He moved to the University of Notre Dame and earned a Master's degree in theology and liturgy in 1980.
Mr. Warner joined the Office of Campus Ministry staff at Notre Dame in 1979. Since that time he has continued to build up programs and enhance the integrity of sacred music at the University. With his assistance, the tradition of worship on campus continues to grow, influenced by the presence of the folk choir and the liturgical planning aids published through his office. A new hymnal supplement, planning and celebration of campus-wide liturgical events, and coordination of musical resources for more than three dozen residence communities all take shape under the guidance of his office.
The Notre Dame Folk Choir was founded by Steve in 1980. Then a group of eight vocalists with no musical library, the group has now grown to more than sixty singers, instrumentalists, an associate director, and several student assistants. The choir began a regular schedule of national and international tours in 1988, made its seventh tour to the Republic of Ireland in 2003, and celebrated its 25-year silver anniversary on the Notre Dame campus the first weekend of May in 2005.
The repertoire of the choir is published exclusively through World Library Publications outside Chicago, Illinois. "Songs of the Notre Dame Folk Choir" first appeared as an octavo series in 1995 and now comprises nearly a hundred pieces. Collaborators to the series include Rev. Chrysogonous Waddell, O.S.C.O., former choirmaster of the Abbey of Gethsemani. Some of the compositions have become parochial standards in just a few years—"Set Your Hearts on the Higher Gifts," "All Will Be Well," "The Lord's Prayer," and "Rosa Mystica" are several expamples.