Mrs. McNiff is a conductor and educator based in Tucson, Arizona. She is the Choir Director and General Music Teacher at the Leman Academy of Excellence K-8 and the Founder & Director of Audivi Vocem Conductors Choir Summer Institute, an undergraduate symposium with ensembles in Tucson and Tempe, AZ.
Mrs. McNiff has held the position of Director of Music at Christ Presbyterian Church of Tucson and Mountain Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation. She has taught at Tucson Unified Public Schools as an Arts Integration Specialist and Teaching Artist, and was Assistant Director for the Tucson Masterworks Chorale, Artistic Director for the Bisbee Community Chorus, Director of Music for Church of the Painted Hills United Church of Christ in Tucson, Conductor with the Arizona Rose Opera Company, Chorus Master for the University of Arizona Opera Productions, Instructor for the University of Arizona Opera Scenes, Conductor for undergraduate ensembles at the University of Arizona, and has been an Instructor's Assistant for the first semester of the undergraduate Choral Conducting techniques courses. Mrs. McNiff is also the former Director of Music and Drama at Deborah's Stage Door School for the Performing Arts in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and has taught voice and musical theater for the West Bloomfield Public School District in West Bloomfield, MI.
In 2014 she was selected to conduct with the Thompson Street Opera Company in Louisville, Kentucky. Mrs. McNiff has also performed in ensembles with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, the Kings Singers, and was a vocalist for the 2015 Grammy Nominated "Milhaud's Oresteian Trilogy"by the University Musical Society Choral Union based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Mrs. McNiff holds a Masters Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona, a Masters Degree in Music Education from Arizona State University and Bachelor Degrees in Musicology and Voice from the University of Michigan. She enjoys the Arizona sun along with her husband, Brian, her son, William and her cat, Coco Bean.
"Not only is Katy McNiff multi-talented but she has demonstrated high quality standards in music and movement integration, an understanding of primary aged children's physical and mental abilities, thoughtful reflection on her lessons and the interaction with children, diplomacy while engaging in discussions of various issues with the principals and classroom teachers, and abilities to refocus lessons quickly when necessary. She is determined to fulfill her important role within the constructs of TUSD and the OMA model. She is highly respected and appreciated for this dedication."
-Dr. Joan Ashcraft
Departments of Fine and Performing Arts
Tucson Unified School District
"Mrs. McNiff is flexible, hard-working, and quick to assimilate new ideas into her conducting vocabulary. She is always well prepared when she steps onto the podium, and her fine choral background, allows her to bring strong and creative musical ideas to her musical endeavors. She is also a very fine scholar. Audivi Vocem, Mrs. McNiff's summer conducting workshop, is truly remarkable. She founded it in response to the need she perceived for young educators to have actual experience in front of an ensemble while receiving supportive and inspirational feedback. Mrs. McNiff's drive, focus, warm good humor, dedication, and boundless energy was terrific in every way. Audivi Vocem is her dream, and she has done magnificent work to bring it to life. Mrs. McNiff is witty, energetic, outgoing, and creative. She has great potential and I am highly enthusiastic about her and her abilities."
-Dr. Jerry Blackstone
Chair of Conducting
University of Michigan
"Students became composers under her care and were able to shine. I loved her method of hands-on learning and it translated well with a diverse population of students. She was able to target learners with special needs through individualized focus and support. Mrs. McNiff goes the extra mile to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to learn and access the material."
-Mrs. Christine Cassell
1st Grade Teacher
Tucson Unified School District