Katy McNiff 
Founder and Co-Director
M.M. Choral Conducting, M.Ed. Music Education

A highly distinguished educator, Katy McNiff is a conductor based in Tucson, Arizona. She is a Choir Director and General Music Teacher at the Leman Academy of Excellence in Tucson. She is also a local guest conductor, lecturer and adjudicator.  Mrs. McNiff has lead Audivi Vocem Summer Institutes in both Tucson and Tempe and is thrilled to be returning to lead in 2022. 


Mrs McNiff has held the position of Director of Music for Christ Presbyterian Church, Director of Music at Mountain Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Tucson Unified Public Schools  Arts Integration Specialist and Teaching Artist,  Assistant Director for the Tucson Masterworks Chorale, Artistic Director for the Bisbee Community Chorus, Chorus Master for the University of Arizona Opera Productions, Instructor for the University of Arizona Opera Scenes, and Conductor for four undergraduate ensembles at the University of Arizona. Katy 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.


Mrs McNiff has conducted with the Arizona Rose Opera Company in Tucson, AZ and with the Thompson Street Opera Company in Louisville, Kentucky.  She 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 based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has been inspired by mentors such as Jerry Blackstone, Paul Rardin, Eugene Rogers, and Mike Mitchell, as well as master educators such as Sandra Stauffer and Margaret Schmidt. 


Katy 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. For more information, visit


Kim Waigwa


B.M Music Education


Kimberly Waigwa, is thrilled to be joining Audivi Vocem as Co-Director after successfully completing two years as an active student participant.  As a conductor and music educator, they have gained a reputation both in Tucson and Phoenix as a high caliber, high energy, and multifaceted educator, conductor, and community builder. They are a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music, holding a Bachelor of Music in Choral Music Education as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. 

Kimberly began their GALA Choruses journey when they first joined Desert Voices in 2010. Since then, Kimberly has made their conducting debut at the 2016 GALA Choruses Festival and worked as assistant and small ensemble director with Desert Voices, began as Artistic Director of the Phoenix Women’s Chorus, and is now Interim Artistic Director with Desert Voices. 

​Kimberly has previously worked in a multitude of different positions such as Interim Director of the St. Nicholas and After School Music Program Choirs, guest conductor in the Helios Ensemble, music director of Mountain Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and private vocal instructor. Additionally, in 2017 Kimberly was selected as 1 of 8 in the nation to participate in the Inaugural Undergraduate Masterclass at the American Choral Directors Association’s National Conference, worked with Dr. Ann Howard Jones and the Luther College Collegiate Chorale, and has taken private lessons and participated in masterclasses with preeminent conductors such as Dr. James Jordan, Dr. Jerry Blackstone, Dr. Arian Khaefi, Dr. Jaclyn Johnson, and Dr. Jason Harris. 

As a proud member of the LGBTQIA community and advocate for social justice, Kimberly continues to build and collaborate with sibling choruses throughout the state, and continuing to strengthen the numbers and visibility of all Arizona’s GALA Choruses.

Summer 2022 Assistant Directors and Faculty Pianists will be announced in January, 2022. 

Previous Assistant Directors

     Korie Birkholz

     BM-Music Education

     Helios and University of Arizona Community Choir Board Member, Tucson Arizona

    Emily Duncan

    MM-Music Education

    Choir Director, Highland Utah

Previous Faculty Pianists

    Russell Ronnebaum

    MM-Piano Performance

    St Mark's Catholic Church, Tucson Masterworks Chorale, Tucson Arizona

    Paul Kohler

    DMA-Piano Performance

    Church of the Painted Hills, Tucson Arizona

Previous Additional Staff

    Immanuel Abraham

    DMA-Violin Performance

    Concertmaster and Orchestral Conducting Coach


    Anna Ahrens


    Choral Intern and Administrative Assistant

    Andrea Yamamoto

    BM-Voice Performance

    Administrative Assistant

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