Our Music Director

A lifelong UU and native of Greater Cleveland, UUCC’s Music Director Mike Carney has been a passionate and dedicated performer, director, and music educator for over 25 years. He has degrees in vocal music education from Baldwin Wallace University, where he studied with Stuart Raleigh, Mel Hakola and Charlie Smith among others, and in choral conducting from Kent State University, where he studied with C. M. Shearer. Mike spent the first two decades of his career developing award-winning high school choral programs, and now teaches Classical and Rock Music History courses at Walsh University and directs Good Company, A Vocal Ensemble – a select community chorus based in Lakewood. At UUCC, Mike directs the Chancel Choir, Women’s Ensemble, Men’s Singers and Multigen Choirs, as well as performing as a vocalist and pianist/organist for services. Mike organizes and coordinates all congregational music for services and special events, including vocal and instrumental guest musicians from within the congregation and elsewhere. As a director and performer, Michael has performed nationally and internationally and has shared the stage with thousands of musicians, working collaboratively with Ola Gjeilo, David Conte, Joan Szymko, Jim Scott, Moises Borges, and many others. Michael lives in Lakewood with his wife Lucy, and they enjoy traveling, making music together, and spending time with their two adult children.  

UUCC Pianist Karin Tooley plays in our services 2-3 times each month. Karin holds a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has accompanied ballet and modern dance at Mather Dance Center at Case, the Cecchetti Council of America Summer Dance Intensive, Cleveland City Dance, Cleveland School of Dance, Cleveland School of the Arts, Cleveland-San Jose Ballet, Verb Ballets, Dancing Wheels, Cleveland Inner City Ballet, CSU Dance, and Fairmount Fine Arts Center. Karin also accompanies Windsong, Cleveland’s Feminist Chorus. In 2012, Karin performed with CityMusic Cleveland in the children’s opera Brundibar. That same year she joined the Chagrin Falls Studio Orchestra and began branching out into musical theatre, pops, film music, and American classics. Most weekends she plays Great American Songbook charts with the Don Disantis Orchestra at restaurants and clubs. 

Guest Musicians. Adult and youth members of the congregation are often featured as guest musicians within our services, as are visiting professional musicians of all types. If you are interested in playing or singing in an upcoming service or have a suggestion for an outside musician or group, contact UUCC Music Director Mike Carney.