Karla Rivera Bucklew


As a native of southern New Jersey, Karla was brought up in a musical home, pursuing piano and violin before focusing on vocal studies. She graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Columbia Union College, Takoma Park, MD. And in May 2005, she completed her Masters degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Maryland, College Park as a student of Linda Mabbs.


Most recently, Karla sang in honor of our veterans in a special service held at the Visitor’s Center of the Washington, D.C. Temple of the Mormon Tabernacle. Last September, she performed the role of the 1st Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with the Hub Opera Ensemble in Hagerstown, MD. In May, she performed the National Anthem for the Wounded Warrior Memorial Day Tribute at the Great Meadow Event Center in The Plains, VA. She also had the wonderful opportunity to perform the National Anthem for the Armed Forces Communication & Electronics Association DC Chapter Luncheon in April.   


In December 2011 Karla performed the role of the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors under the direction of Francisco de Araujo. She also performed two concerts at the Hagerstown SDA Church since that time as well as concerts in WV & NJ, and for the Sligo Music Club. In November 2011, Karla was honored to perform for both services that were held in memoriam of Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse, founder and director of the New England Youth Ensemble.


In April of 2010, Karla made her operatic debut as Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the world premiere of Oh My Son, an opera based on the nativity and passion of Christ. The composer is Marcos Galvany, a native of Spain. In April 2009, Karla made her ensemble debut at Carnegie Hall under the baton of renowned composer, John Rutter, singing Monteverdi’s Gloria. In February of 2008, she performed a chamber recital for soprano that included music by Bach, Buxtehude, Mozart, Haydn and Mendelssohn. In June of 2007, she made her Kennedy Center debut singing Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Heitor Villa-Lobos under the baton of Scott McCormick. That same month saw her singing solo under the baton of renowned composer, John Rutter. On the program was the Serenade to Music, Ralph Vaughn-Williams, and Mass of the Children, John Rutter. The Washington Post review for that concert called Karla’s singing, “exquisite.” In May 2006, Karla performed with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society as soprano soloist in the Mozart Requiem, under the direction of Tom Hall. And in 2005, she replaced Faith Esham as soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah. She was also the soprano soloist in the Maryland premiere of The Vision of the Apocalypse, an oratorio written by Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse, director of the New England Symphonic Ensemble at Columbia Union College, January, 2006. Karla’s oratorio experience also includes Haydn Lord Nelson Mass, Bach B Minor Mass and Magnificat, Mozart Requiem and Coronation Mass, Vivaldi Gloria, Samuel Barber Prayers of Kierkegaard, Handel Messiah and Schubert Mass in G, Theodore DuBois’ The Seven Last Words of Christ, the James Bingham Requiem and John Rutter’s Gloria and Magnificat.


In 2005, Karla was a semi-finalist in the Oratorio Society of New York’s Solo Competition. In December of 2004, she was a semi-finalist in the Heida Hermanns Vocal Competition, Westport, CT. And in the summer of 2004, she won the vocal competition given by the Miami Frost School of Music’s summer program in Salzburg, Austria. 


Each year, since May of 2006, Karla has performed with her colleague and close friend, Ingrid Forss, for the Family Aid Fund Benefit Concert in Marmora, NJ. The fund was created by Ingrid in the hopes of aiding a family in need at her church by bringing hope through charity and beautiful music.


Karla has toured throughout the world as soprano soloist with the New England Symphonic Ensemble, Pro Musica and Columbia Collegiate Chorale, all of Washington Adventist University. They have performed in such places as Ely Cathedral and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, South Africa, Russia, Mexico and Puerto Rico, Australia and many European countries. In addition to her solo career, Karla directed the Georgetown Presbyterian Chorale in Washington, D.C. for nine years, and currently sings with the choir of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. All this is in addition to working full time in the office of Adventist Mission for the World Church Headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, MD.

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