Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021) was a renowned composer and lyricist for many well-known musical theater works of the 20th century. Commonly referred to as "the Shakespeare of musical theater," his works are recognized for their thematic complexity both compositionally and lyrically. Some of the shows he is best known for are Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, Company, A Little Night Music, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. In this class, students will become familiar with Sondheim, his style, and his legacy. They will also dive into the themes and composition of his most popular works. Most importantly, students will be vocally pushed by the challenging nature of his songs, growing in the skills of rhythm, diction, and expression.
Karen Archbold received a Bachelor of Music Performance from Southwestern College in Winfield, KS. Karen continued her studies in Bremen, Germany at the Hochschule fur Kunste. In 2017, Karen won first prize in the Fox Valley Rising Stars Competition. In 2016, she was the Sinfonietta Bel Canto's Voice Competition First Place Winner. She was a 2014 and 2015 finalist in the American Prize Vocal Division and runner-up for the American Prize Chicago Music Theatre Award. She has appeared as Flora in La Traviata, Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw, Buttercup in HMS Pinafore, Abuela in La Vida Breve, Katisha in the Mikado and Berthe in Barber of Seville. She has recently performed with the Grant Park Music Festival Chorus, the Belle Ensemble and Duo Striata. Karen is currently pursuing certification with Total Vocal Freedom, a holistic approach to singing incorporating the discoveries of F.M.Alexander. Karen is the mother of three girls and maintains a private voice studio in Wheaton. She loves teaching and helping students to discover their unique and special voices.