As an innovative conductor, teacher and vocalist, McKenna Stenson has built a career inspiring students to sing with confidence and motivating communities to create lasting change through song. Her energetic demeanor permeates positivity throughout the ensemble, creating a community of compassion, trust and resilience.
Stenson is currently a DMA student in Choral Conducting at the University of North Texas (UNT) where she studies under Dr. Allen Hightower, Dr. Kristina MacMullen and Dr. Jessica Nápoles. She directs the SA Chorale and teaches Music Fundamentals. In addition to teaching two courses, Stenson serves as teaching associate for Undergraduate Conducting and Vox Aquilae, the university's flagship early music ensemble. She sings with the A cappella choir under the direction of Dr. Allen Hightower and looks forward to participating in their virtual conference performance at ACDA National 2020.
Prior to studying at UNT, McKenna served as the Choral Director and CFPA Vocal Director at Charles J. Colgan High School. McKenna, who was named “New Faculty Member of the Year” in 2017, directed five choirs during the day and three after school ensembles at Colgan High School. Under the direction of McKenna, the Colgan Choral Ensembles were invited to perform at venues such as the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage and serve as arts ambassadors throughout the Virginia Commonwealth. In 2018, the Colgan High School Chamber Ensemble was selected to perform at the Virginia Music Educators Association conference and received a standing ovation for their performance.
Stenson enjoys serving as a clinician and adjudicator for choirs throughout Virginia, most recently as the District XVI H.S Treble Choir Conductor. She has served as the Senior Honor Choir Audition Chair and District IX Choral Representative. She has presented sessions at the Virginia Music Education Association State Conference, Next Direction Virginia ACDA, Voices United Tri-State conference and The Workshops at All Virginia Chorus. In 2020, she will conduct the Virginia Beach H.S. Treble District Choir.
She holds a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University and dual bachelor’s degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education from The Ohio State University. Throughout her studies she has been honored to receive many scholarships and awards including Choral Fellow at Michigan State, The Ohio State Student Teacher of the Year award in 2014 and most recently was nationally recognized as a Country Music Award Foundation Music Teacher of Excellence for 2020.