UNI Children's Choir


Children's Choir Spring 2023 ~ 2024 Information Coming Soon!






The University of Northern Iowa Children’s Choir (UNICC) is a choral ensemble for students in grades 3 through 9. 

UNICC provides a program of music education and choral performance that seeks to fulfill each child's potential, while striving to create a model of artistic excellence and diversity that represents, enriches, and gives back to the community.  Singers will receive training in healthy vocal technique and music literacy, and have the opportunity to foster friendships while making music together with their peers.

Members of UNICC rehearse weekly on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa, and hold performances throughout the year. Collaborative highlights for UNICC include performances with the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra, the UNI Chamber Orchestra, and the UNI Varsity Glee Club.


Questions contact the UNI Community Music School at childrenschoir@uni.edu or by calling 273-2142.





Meet the UNI Children's Choir Artistic Director


Ryan Occeña is the Artistic Director of both the UNI Children’s Choir and the Metropolitan Chorale, and serves as the chorus instructor at Central Middle School in Waterloo, IA. In his first decadeRyan Occeña as a music educator and choral conductor, he taught and directed students in preK through college at public, private, and parochial programs in Kansas, New York, and Iowa. Some highlights of his early career include conducting the Roslyn High School Choir at Carnegie Hall and directing the Webb Family Singers at the Webb Institute of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in Glen Cove, NY. 

As an educator and conductor, Occeña works to cultivate in his singers the skills, tools, and passion they need to pursue a lifetime of singing. Through a Fulbright grant, Occeña attended the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute in Hungary, where he studied conducting and pedagogy. He also obtained national certification in Kodály Pedagogy through Seattle Pacific University and the University of Central Missouri. Drawing on skills he learned in those courses, Occeña incorporates music literacy training through quality repertoire into his curriculum and concert programming. 

Occeña maintains an active schedule as a baritone as well as a conductor. He previously held professional chorister positions in Kansas City and New York City and sang with choirs comprised of fellow music educators in the Kansas City metro and on Long Island. In the Cedar Valley, he has sung with Bel Canto Cedar Valley and the Metropolitan Chorale, where he performed solos in the Fauré Requiem and Handel’s Messiah. Occeña also enjoys musical theatre and has served as vocal music director for several productions, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Chicago, Xanadu, and Seussical. 

A native of Columbia, MO, Occeña holds a Bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, a post-baccalaureate diploma in choral conducting from the Zoltán Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary, and a Master’s degree in choral conducting from Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, PA. His conducting teachers include Peter Erdei, Charles Robinson, Ryan Board, Rachel Cornacchio, and Michelle Adams. 

When not performing and teaching, Occeña and his wife, Hannah, a professional flutist and university professor, enjoy spending time with their three young daughters, training for endurance races, and traveling to visit family and friends. 


2022-2023 Schedule


Fall rehearsals start September 13, 2022

  • Rehearsals will meet weekly, 6:30-7:45pm, on Tuesdays at Jebe Hall in the Gallagher Bluedorn.
    • There will be no rehearsal on November 22, 2022
  • Fall Concert: December 13, 2022 at 7:30pm (Great Hall, Gallagher Bluedorn)


Spring rehearsals start January 31, 2023

  • Rehearsals will meet weekly, 6:30-7:45pm, on Tuesdays at Jebe Hall in the Gallagher Bluedorn.
  • Spring Concert: May 9, 2023 at 7:30pm (Great Hall, Gallagher Bluedorn)


All members are expected to attend weekly rehearsals and participate in the end of semester concerts.  Rehearsal absences should be reported to childrenschoir@uni.edu.

Here's what you will need to bring:

  • Black 3-ring binder (1/2") - Put your name on the inside cover of your binder.
  • Pencil with eraser that you can leave in your binder.