Mrs. McNiff is a conductor and highly distinguished educator based in Tucson, Arizona. A sought-after guest-clinician, lecturer and performer, Mrs. McNiff has led ensembles and lecture series in Arizona, Michigan, Oklahoma and California. Currently, she is a Faculty Associate and Student Teacher Supervisor, teaching courses in Elementary Music at Arizona State University.
Previously, Mrs. McNiff has been a Mentor Teacher, Choral Instructor and General Music Teacher in Arizona public and charter schools for both Elementary and Middle School grade levels. She has held the position of Director of Music at Christ Presbyterian Church of Tucson, Mountain Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation. and Church of the Painted Hills United Church of Christ. As a Choral Conductor, she has led as Assistant Director for the Tucson Masterworks Chorale, Artistic Director for the Bisbee Community Chorus, and Chorus Master for the University of Arizona Opera Productions.
She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Audivi Vocem Choral Summer Institute LLC, a summer choral festival with two locations serving Arizona, presenting undergraduate students with the opportunity to conduct in masterclass and performance settings under the guidance of world renown guest clinicians.
In addition, she has conducted with the Thompson Street Opera Company in Louisville, Kentucky and the Arizona Rose Opera Company in Tucson, Arizona. As a classically trained singer, Mrs. McNiff has 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.
She has studied under the direction of Dr. Sandra Stauffer, Dr. Jason Thompson, and Dr. Margaret Schmidt in Music Education. She has worked closely with Dr. Paul Rardin and Dr. Jerry Blackstone in Choral Conducting, and studied under Dr. James Borders, Dr. Henrietta Leyser and Dr. John Brobeck in Musicology and Medieval History.
Mrs. McNiff is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Philosophy in Music Education from Arizona State University. She 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 has also studied Medieval Musicology at St Peters College, Oxford University.
"Not only is Mrs. 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. She is highly respected and appreciated for this dedication."
-Dr. Joan Ashcraft, Director
Departments of Fine and Performing Arts
Tucson Unified School District
"Mrs. McNiff is flexible, and quick to assimilate new ideas. Her fine choral background, allows her to bring strong and creative musical ideas to her musical endeavors. Audivi Vocem, Mrs. McNiff's summer conducting workshop, is truly remarkable. 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. I am highly enthusiastic about her and her abilities."
-Dr. Jerry Blackstone, Professor Emeritus
University of Michigan, SMTD
"Mrs. McNiff possesses an incredibly diverse and dynamic skill set. Perhaps most unique of all is her ability to utilize the lens of a human and an educator, always asking: What is
the best for my student’s experience? Mrs. McNiff seeks to create more diverse and whole human beings who are curious about the world and are empowered to be able to seek answers for themselves and see others both for their similarities and regardless of their differences."
-Mx. Kimberly Waigwa, Director
Phoenix Women's Chorus
Desert Voices GALA Chorus
"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