Musician Spotlight—Meet Karen Perone, Principal Flute
Librarian by day, flutist by night, principal flutist Karen Perone grew up in the small town of Delevan, NY. After a failed attempt at playing the piano, she took up the flute and piccolo in the sixth grade. Growing up in this rural community meant you either played in the band or were on the wrestling team. Music won out.
She attended SUNY at Buffalo and studied with Robert Mols. During college she played with ensembles at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C., and in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. She joined the American Legion Band of the Tonawandas and traveled to Australia to perform in the Sydney Opera House.
The year between college and graduate school was tough. “School budgets in New York were bad, and music programs were being slashed," she said. "To pay my bills, I took a seamstress job at Ethan Allen Galleries and learned to sew draperies. That was when I decided to return to graduate school and earn my Master of Library Science degree.”
After college, Karen formed a woodwind trio consisting of flute, clarinet, and bassoon. The group was quite active, performing in strange venues like dry fountains and a meditation room in someone’s home along with the typical weddings and receptions. But clarinetists were hard to keep engaged with the group. Faced with the prospect of no clarinetist for an upcoming gig, she was told of a new graduate student in town who “was pretty good.” One day, while working at the UB Music Library, she saw him at the card catalog and approached him. He seemed interested and agreed to join the trio. He liked it so much, he proposed to keep on playing with them. And now, 35 years later, Karen and Jim Perone are still making beautiful music together in the Tuscarawas Philharmonic. “Picking him up at the card catalog was the best thing I ever did!” remarked Karen.
Karen started out as a cataloger in the early days of computerized cataloging and fell into the systems field while working at Canisius College in Buffalo. It was this skill that landed her the job at Rodman Public Library in Alliance when they moved to Ohio in 1994.
Local history has become her passion. Karen began AllianceMemory.org and is Past President of the Alliance Historical Society. She is responsible for the installation of three state historic markers in Alliance and has produced three local history books for the Society.
The future? Karen is looking forward to retiring from her “day” job in a few years so she can do more with that “night” playing and working her FluteBrarian Web Design enterprise.
Note: Karen's husband, Jim, is the principal clarinetist for the Philharmonic.