Julie Anne Karpenko Reid
Julie Anne Reid, a mezzo-soprano, conductor, and music educator, has taught music at the grade school level and is active as a church musician. She is presently an adjunct voice teacher at Andrews University.
Julie was born in Riverside, New Jersey, the older of two children of Larry Dean and Donna J. Karpenko. She grew up in a home where music was a way of life, her father being a music teacher at Blue Mountain Academy in her earliest years and an active singer throughout his life, and her mother an excellent pianist and organist.
She started piano lessons with Nancy Edison, piano teacher at the academy, in second grade, learned to play the clarinet and handbells in grade school, and played in both the band and handbell choir. Although she sang in her father’s choirs at the academy, she did not take voice lessons until the summer between her junior and senior years, when she attended a vocal workshop at Westminster Choir College. She recently talked about that workshop, how it led to her going to WCC, and the experience she had while there:
During that workshop I took a voice class for alto and mezzo singers as well as some private lessons. At the end of my two weeks there they held auditions for the school, and since it was my dad’s alma mater, I auditioned. I was really shocked when I got in. My dad told me, “You got in and that’s really great. Why don’t you go there for a year and see what the experience is like. At the end of that time you can go to whatever school you want.”
After graduating from academy in 1992, I spent six weeks at the Adventist school in Spain that summer and enrolled at Westminster for the fall. I really got hooked. At the end of my sophomore year I attended Southern Adventist University for a half-year, but then returned to Westminster at the beginning of the second semester. I was not certain I would be able to rejoin the primary choir conducted by [Joseph] Flummerfelt, which I had joined at the beginning of my sophomore year, but he allowed me to continue as a member.
Singing in that choir was a wonderful experience. It was the choir that performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra when they performed choral works. It was exciting to sing choral masterworks with these orchestras under noted conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, Zdenek Macal, and others, as well as with Flummerfelt. In 1996 we toured and sang in Korea and Taiwan, followed by a summer tour at the Colmar Music Festival in Colmar, France.
Following the school year of 1997-98, I left the choir to join another ensemble on campus called the Westminster Singers, a rare move that shocked my friends. They did madrigals and lighter pop music, including music from Broadway, and I enjoyed being in that group during my final year at Westminster. I also particularly enjoyed my study in voice with Laura Brooks Rice during four of the years I was at Westminster.
In Julie’s first year at WCC, the college had merged with Rider University, enabling Rider to establish full university status. It was a time of experimental programs, and she pursued one that combined her classes at WCC with those at RU to earn two degrees, a B.Mus. in music education from WCC, and a BA in elementary education and fine arts from Rider. She has since taken additional graduate studies in music education at Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford.
In 1996 Julie and some of her friends from Westminster were singing in the chorus at the Spoleto Festival U.S.A., when she met Charles Reid, a soloist. They were attracted to each other through their shared interest in music and became friends. Both were also impressed with the other’s interest in spiritual matters and began to discuss their religious beliefs, his from a Southern Baptist perspective and hers as a Seventh-day Adventist.
Although he had had an earlier brief encounter with the Adventist church as a performer, he now learned more about them. He attended the Pennsylvania camp meeting with Julie that summer, where he met her family and was invited to sing. She recalls,
My family was concerned that he wasn’t an Adventist, and I was too. Even so, I was impressed that he was so spiritually minded and wasn’t so sure how it would all work out. I invited him to camp meeting because if he was going to know who I was, this was part of my life. I had not dated at Westminster because I did not want to be “unequally yoked.” That was a real concern to me.
Right after we met, Charles was asked to sing at the oldest Baptist church in the country, located in Charleston, South Carolina. As he prepared for that, he asked me if I would like to sing some duets with him. A little earlier we discovered that we both grew up singing Hale and Wilder arrangements, his Baptist family using them in their family concerts and my dad and I using them when we would sing duets.
When he came with me to the Pennsylvania camp meeting, my dad arranged for him to sing the introit for the main meeting on Sabbath morning. Several members of my larger family were there and an aunt, later called “the prophet,” observed without my knowing it, “That is who Julie is going to marry, so be ready.”
The courtship continued, and after considerable study, Charles did indeed join the SDA church. They married in August 1997.
Following Julie’s graduation from Westminster, she taught in the New Jersey public school system, K-5 music in Summit ISD for three years and K-3 in Rumson ISD for two years, at which time she took a leave of absence for a year when their first child, Samuel Charles, was born.
Between 1999 and 2001, Julie used her summers to begin graduate studies at the Hartt School of Music, with a specialized focus in the methods of Kodaly. She obtained level three certification.
While studying and teaching, Julie served as organist and choirmaster at Christ Lutheran Church in Union, New Jersey, from 1993 to 1999. Following this, she served as Director of Children’s Choirs at Community Congregational Church in Short Hills, New Jersey.
In 2004 Charles accepted a full-time singing job at the Nationaltheater Mannheim, and the family moved to Germany at that time. While there, Julie and Charles sang often for their local Adventist congregation, Advent Gemeinde STA Mannheim, and were known in the city of Mannheim for their annual Christmas concerts. In addition, Julie and Charles joined Mark Finley and the SDA Chaplaincy division, providing music for a military camp meeting in Garmisch-Partenkirche, Germany.
The Reid family relocated to the U.S. in 2010, living in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, near Blue Mountain Academy, where Julie taught K-8 music in the grade school on a part-time basis, and Charles continued his performance career in the U.S. and Germany. When the voice teaching position opened at Andrews University in 2012, Charles accepted an offer to be an associate professor, Artist-in-Residence, and Director of Vocal Studies.
Beginning in January 2013, The School of Music at Andrews University was in need of an additional adjunct voice teacher. After considering and interviewing several candidates, the music faculty invited Julie, who now serves the voice students alongside her husband.
Sources: Interview with Julie Karpenko Reid, January 2013 and additional information, February 2013.