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!
Choral Area Fund
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
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
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.
Dr. Elizabeth Schauer (she/her/hers), Director of Choral Activities, has served on the University of Arizona faculty since 2004. An award-winning educator, Dr. Schauer directs Symphonic Choir and Arizona Choir, and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in conducting, literature and methods. She is in demand as an adjudicator, clinician, presenter and conductor throughout the United States, including for performances at Carnegie Hall and with all-state choirs including Maine, Connecticut, New Mexico and Georgia.
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 and the UA Wind Ensemble. 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 country, 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.
Alyssa Cossey (she/her/hers) is Assistant Professor of Choral Music and Music Education at the University of Arizona where she conducts the University Community Chorus, Coro, and the Wildcat Choir, teaches undergraduate Methods and Techniques for Secondary Vocal Music Education and Introduction to Music Education as well as graduate seminars: Techniques for the Choral Teacher-Conductor, Historical Research in Music Education, and Teaching Music in Higher Education. Dr. Cossey is also responsible for overseeing student teachers and advising Conducting and Music Education graduate students. In addition to her teaching responsibilities she is in high demand as an adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor and presenter and has presented at state and regional conferences in Alaska, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, New Mexico, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina, and Texas. In 2018 she presented her session, “Adopt, Adapt, Improve: Utilizing Effective Choral Techniques in the Wind Band Rehearsal” at the Midwest Clinic: International Band & Orchestra Conference, in Chicago, Illinois.
Dr. Cossey holds a DMA in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University, an MM in Conducting from California State University, Fullerton, and a BA from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
As a Los Angeles native, she sang in the premiere women’s chorus, Vox Femina Los Angeles, under the direction of Dr. Iris Levine, and has been invited to sing at venues including the Hollywood Bowl, the Pantages Theatre, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall with renowned conductors and composers including John Williams, Grant Gershon, and James Conlon. She is also an inaugural member of the professional-level women's choir mirabai, which sings and tours under the direction of Dr. Sandra Snow, and can be heard on their debut CD “Ecstatic Songs,” released in March 2018.
In addition to conducting and teaching, Dr. Cossey has a passion for investigative historical research. Her article on Haydn’s secular canons, “Adding Canons to the Canon: Franz Joseph Haydn’s Die Weltlichen Kanons,” was featured in the August 2018 issue of the Choral Journal. Previous research areas have included unpublished documents on the commission and premiere performance of Randall Thompson’s Frostiana, and in 2018 she visited the Britten-Pears Foundation in Aldeburgh, Suffolk to review his original manuscripts and complete her comparative study of Britten’s written scores to his conducted performances.
Dr. Cossey holds memberships with the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, the College Music Society, and the National Association for Music Education. She currently serves as the Arizona ACDA Collegiate Repertoire and Resources Coordinator and is a member of the Western Region American Choral Directors Association Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee.
Previously, Dr. Cossey taught middle and high school choir in the L.A. area for nearly a decade. During her tenure her choirs consistently received Superior ratings at festival, with invitations to perform at the state and national level, and enrollment in her programs more than doubled in size under her leadership.
Dr. Jeff Vanderlee 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, 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). Jeff is also an active conductor representing the University of Arizona in the greater Tucson community and further. He recently conducted a screening of Buster Keaton’s 1924 silent film Sherlock Jr. with live music as part of the Loft Cinema Film Festival, and will be presenting on little-known sacred German motets of the 17th-century at the upcoming ACDA convention in Long Beach, CA. He also serves as the Director of Music at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Oro Valley, AZ.