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 currently directs the UNT Camerata and assists Dr. Kristina MacMullen with the UNT University Singers. Prior teaching appointments include Music Fundamentals and serving as a teaching associate for Undergraduate Conducting and Vox Aquilae, the university's flagship early music ensemble. She sang with the A cappella choir under the direction of Dr. Allen Hightower and participated 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 served 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 the United States. Upcoming engagements include directing the Kansas Treble All-State Honor Choir in 2023. She has served in state leadership roles as well as presenting sessions at state and regional conferences. Stenson was nationally recognized as a Country Music Award Foundation Music Teacher of Excellence for 2020. Most recently she was named third-place winner of the 2021 American Prize Conducting Competition and a finalist for the 2022 South-Western American Choral Association Graduate Conducting Masterclass.
In Texas, she currently serves as the Assistant Director for Children’s and Youth choir at Christ United Methodist Church where she is thrilled to be collaborating with her husband, Bryan. In her free time, she enjoys running, singing, and interviewing female conductors on her new podcast conduct(her).