Choral Studies


As part of the Fred Fox School of Music, the choral area carries on a seventy-year tradition of joyful excellence in performance, education and scholarship. We intentionally promote and celebrate inclusivity and diversity in our student population as well as in our concert programming and in our innovative curriculum.  

Eight choral ensembles provide enriching and gratifying musical experiences for students, faculty, staff and community members of all ability and experience levels.  Graduates of our programs enjoy rewarding careers – in higher education, with professional and community choirs, at religious institutions and in K-12 programs throughout the country and abroad. 

Both undergraduate and graduate students are afforded a variety of leadership opportunities as part of their studies and in the greater Tucson community, including with university and community ensembles, and also through financially supported participation in international master classes, workshops and the ACDA national conducting competition. 

University of Arizona choral ensembles have achieved distinction through collaborations with Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, True Concord Voices and Orchestra, City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Tucson Desert Song Festival, and also through invited performances at Carnegie Hall as well as for the professional conferences of American Choral Directors Association, College Music Society, and Arizona Music Educators Association. 

Come join us and make the University of Arizona your musical home – we have a place for you!

DEI Choral Literature Intensive
June 15-17, 2023

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Choral Area Fund

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Gifts to this fund support the broad work of the University of Arizona Choirs.  Gifts support scholarships, music purchase, recordings, instrumentalists, etc.,  Gifts are unrestricted and are spent directly.

Bruce Chamberlain Choral Endowment

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Proceeds from this endowment support scholarships for graduate students in University of Arizona’s renowned choral conducting program.  The fund is named for Dr. Bruce Chamberlain, Director of Choral Activities from 2000-2018.

Dr. Chamberlain was a tireless advocate for his conducting students and they carry on his legacy today, working as professors and conductors throughout the world.  Gifts to this fund remain in perpetuity and only interest is spent.

University Community Chorus Endowment

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Proceeds from this endowment support scholarships for music education students with a choral emphasis.  This endowment was begun with funds donated by members of University Community Chorus in 2017.  Gifts to this fund remain in perpetuity and only interest is spent.


Elizabeth Schauer

Elizabeth Schauer (she/hers) serves as Director of Choral Activities at the University of Arizona, where she is recognized for her innovative and inclusive curricular approach. An award-winning educator, Dr. Schauer conducts Symphonic Choir and Arizona Choir, and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in conducting, literature and methods with a student-centered focus to an international population of learners. She is in demand as an adjudicator, clinician, presenter and conductor throughout the United States, including for performances at Carnegie Hall and with numerous all-state and honor choirs. 

Choirs under her direction have been selected by audition and invited to perform on local, state and regional conferences of American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), College Music Society (CMS) and American Guild of Organists. In addition, her choirs have been featured on the ACDA National YouTube Channel and the Community Concerts Series of KUAT-FM Classical Radio, and are regularly invited to collaborate, notably with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Arizona Symphony Orchestra and the UA Philharmonic Orchestra. Repertoire embraces choral and choral-orchestral works from the Middle Ages through the present, up to and including new works dedicated to and commissioned for her ensembles, as well as the music of our time and from a variety of cultures.

She has presented sessions at the national conferences of ACDA, Presbyterian Association of Musicians and CMS; regional conferences of ACDA, and state conferences of ACDA and NAfME. Former students are active as music educators at public and private schools, churches, colleges and universities throughout the world, and have been accepted into respected graduate schools and programs for continued study. Dr. Schauer holds degrees from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Westminster Choir College and University of Michigan.

Dr. Jeff Vanderlee (he/his) recently joined the choral faculty at the Fred Fox School of Music in the fall of 2021. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Arizona. He is the conductor of Collegium Musicum, a choral ensemble dedicated to the performance of music pre-1750, and his research is centered on 17th-century Thuringian motets, especially those of Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703). He also teaches private graduate conducting lessons, as well as the second semester of the undergraduate choral conducting sequence.

Jeff is also an active conductor, clinician, and accompanist who represents the University of Arizona in the greater Tucson community and further, in such recent projects as conducting the pit ensemble for a showing of Buster Keaton’s 1924 silent film Sherlock Jr., as part of the 2021 Loft Cinema Film Festival; Jeff also conducted a middle-school choir clinic on the University of Arizona campus in the spring of 2022. Additionally in the same semester, he co-led a repertoire session at the American Choral Conductors Association Convention in Long Beach, CA, that centered around little-performed German Baroque motets.

Jeff also serves as the Director of Music at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, where he conducts the Adult Parish Choir in weekly mass, as well as larger concert events at Christmas and Holy Week. He is also active as an accompanist for private voice students as well as middle and high school choirs throughout the Tucson metro area.

Jeff Vanderlee

Assistant Professor of Practice

Nicky Manlove

Nicky Manlove (they/them pronouns) is the founding artistic director of THEM Youth Ensemble, an LGBTQ+ and allied youth chorus, is the director of music at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, and is an accompanist and associate conductor at Tucson Girls Chorus, where they accompany 5 choirs from grades k-12 and conduct the Estrella singers at Title I schools in Tucson. In their work with THEM Youth Ensemble, Nicky has organized THEMposium, an annual performing arts festival for LGBTQ+ youth, and co-produced two national collaborative virtual concert events in observance of Trans Day of Resilience in 2020 and 2021 titled “ROSES: The Past, Present, and Future of Trans Resilience,” and “Sacred Resilience”. Under their leadership, THEM Youth Ensemble has received recognition and awards from the University of Arizona Institute for LGBT Studies and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona LGBTQ+ Alliance Fund. 

Nicky is a committed advocate of equity-centered and liberatory choral practice, and supports a number of justice-focused choral initiatives nationally. They are on the leadership team of The Choral Commons, a media platform that provides a space for singing communities to realize the liberatory potential of the ensemble as a site of radical imagining. As a part of The Choral Commons’ second season, Nicky co-produced the series “engender: singing and the wisdom of gender diversity,” and appeared as a guest with the series “surge: cultural strategy, organizing, and activism for choirs.” Nicky has served on the ACDA National Diversity Initiative Committee's Task Force for Transgender Justice, and serves on DEI committees for AzACDA (chair), ACDA Western Region, and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. 

Nicky holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts with an emphasis in Music from Seattle University, and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona, where they studied with Alyssa Cossey and Elizabeth Schauer.