Published in the January 3 -16, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Karen Crane

In a time where preservation of our country’s history is in question and where the derivatives of diversity and division are melting into a state of blurred confusion, we have within our community a true leader and breath of fresh air. Karen Crane’s mission in life is to keep the songs of our great country’s history alive.

As an executive coach and leadership trainer, I believe the core of all development points to one’s purpose and vision and when fueled by passion magic happens. Magic that I witnessed sparkling from Karen’s captivating blue eyes as I watched her lead a group of elementary students as they sang their hearts out during the Veteran’s Day Celebration.

Now, I love my country and often am taken by emotion when hearing a well sung “God Bless America,” but to witness Karen’s love and passion is a magic I wish for everyone to experience.

It all started after serving as a Cal Poly student teacher, when Karen moved to San Jose in 1970. Karen was an elementary school music teacher and she asked her students to sing “God Bless America” and discovered they didn’t know the words. She asked them to sing “This Land is Your Land,” again finding they didn’t know the song. This is all that was needed to lock in her life purpose and mission to do everything to ensure every student leaves her class knowing the songs that were birthed to inspire men and women to live in peace and harmony. Karen passionately states the bottom-line fact: “If we don’t sing them they will die.” Take a moment with me and speak this last statement out loud: “If we don’t sing them they will die.”


In 1989, Karen was asked to lead the Patriotic Sing, one of six events that takes place as part of the Freedom Fest two-day celebration July 3 and 4. For the past 28 years Karen has led the Patriotic Sing, our celebration kick-off event comprised of elementary students from Barrett, Walsh and El Toro elementary schools. I could hear the joy in Karen’s heart when she shared with me that the children of the children she taught in 1989 are now in her classes learning the same songs their parents did.

I am giggling a bit as I type this as it’s just after Thanksgiving. Traditionally, this is the time when we break out our Christmas albums, make our lists to Santa, and plan time with family during, and here I am writing about the Patriotic Sing. Here’s the tie in, the holiday gift I would like to give each and every person is the gift to take into contemplative reflection that freedom and patriotism are gifts. We can gift at will, all year round, to our service men and women and to the families of those who have given their lives so that we may sing our Christmas songs, make our Santa lists, follow our religion/beliefs of choice, and lay our heads down on our pillows in our comfy homes each and every night.

As I reflect on Karen’s statement, “If we don’t sing them they will die,” I feel a pull in my heart that this too ties into our freedom and patriotism. If we don’t take time to be intentionally grateful for them . . . they will die. Leadership goes the way and shows the way. Karen, my hat is off to you.

Thank you for exposing my heart and actions to a real-life model of what passion and relentless commitment looks like. Thank you for your exemplary example of leadership. I am forever grateful.