The University of Arizona


Dr. Elizabeth Schauer

Dr. Schauer

Dr. Elizabeth Schauer accepted an appointment as Associate Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Arizona in the fall of 2004. An award-winning educator, Dr. Schauer directs the Symphonic Choir and the University Community Chorus, and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in choral conducting and methods. She currently serves as Chancel Choir director at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Tucson, and on the summer faculty at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. Before coming to Tucson, Dr. Schauer was Director of Choral Activities at Adams State College in Colorado, and also taught at Centenary College in New Jersey.

Dr. Schauer has conducted college, community, church, honor, and public school choirs including singers from ages 5 to 95, and has served as music director of community and university theatrical productions as well. She is in demand as an adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor and presenter throughout the United States. She has presented sessions at the national conventions of American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and College Music Society (CMS) and most recently served as headliner clinician for the Colorado ACDA summer workshop. Her choirs have been featured at local, state and regional events of Music Educators National Conference (MENC), ACDA and CMS.

As a chorister, Dr. Schauer has had the privilege to sing under the direction of Riccardo Muti, Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Sir David Willcocks, James Conlon, and Hugh Wolff, and in opera choruses under the direction of Robert Altman, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Gunter Kramer.

Dr. Schauer has held state and regional leadership positions with ACDA, CMS and MENC and currently serves as Youth and Student Activities Chair for the Western Division of ACDA. She received her DMA in choral conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, her MM in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College, and her BM in music education with distinction from the University of Michigan. She has studied conducting with Patrick Gardner, Thomas Hilbish, Joseph Flummerfelt, Frauke Haasemann, Allen Crowell, Elmer Thomas, Earl Rivers, John Leman, and Dale Warland.


Blair Buffington, Assistant Conductor


Blair Buffington made his international conducting debut in 1995 and has since led choral ensembles in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. He has experience directing choirs at the collegiate, high school, middle school, elementary, church, and community levels.

Buffington served as director of choral activities at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa, from 2004-2011, where he conducted the prestigious Waldorf Choir and St. Christopher Chorale. As assistant professor of music, he taught conducting, choral literature, applied voice, music education, and musical theatre. He served as the artistic director and producer for the annual Christmas with Waldorf festival. Additionally, he was a co-director of the North Iowa Choral Society, a semi-professional vocal ensemble based out of Mason City.

With a strong background in music education, Buffington worked in the public school and community college systems in Iowa where he led ensembles to championships and Division I ratings, with many of his students receiving All-State accolades. He has been co-director of the Overtones Barbershop Chorus and has served as sanctuary choir director for the First Presbyterian Church in Kirksville, Missouri, and interim choir director for the First United Methodist Church in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

A native of Southeast Iowa, Buffington received his undergraduate degree in music education from Wartburg College (ELCA) in Waverly and his master’s degree in choral conducting and voice performance from Truman State University in Kirksville. He is an active soloist and thespian and frequently works as a choral and vocal clinician. He is pursuing a post-graduate degree in choral conducting from the University of Arizona.


Karen Van Sickle, Accompanist

Karen Van Sickle has been an accompanist all of her adult life, performing with elementary, junior high, high school and university choirs, small ensembles, soloists, orchestras and church choirs and worship teams in Seattle, Washington, Salem Oregon and Olathe, Kansas. She has traveled to Costa Rica and Europe with choirs and small vocal ensembles performing in a variety of venues. Before moving to Arizona in 2008, Karen was an adjunct faculty member at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas where she was the staff accompanist, playing for all choirs and many voice students. She also taught piano classes, private piano and theory classes. While living in Kansas, Karen maintained a private piano studio and was active in the Kansas City and Olathe music teacher associations. She served as an adjudicator for several piano festivals in the Kansas City area. She is currently a member of the Tucson Music Teachers Association. Along with accompanying the University Community Chorus, Karen currently accompanies the University of Arizona Symphonic Choir and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Music Theory.