Albert J. McNeil
Albert John Joseph McNeil is a native Californian, born in Los Angeles. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles, and did doctoral studies at the University of Southern California, the Westminster Choir College of Princeton, and the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He was director of choral activities for 21 years and headed the music education program at UC Davis.
McNeil also taught courses in ethnomusicology at the University of Southern California for 12 years. McNeil began his teaching career as a teacher of music in the elementary, junior and senior high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. His mentors have included distinguished names in choral music: Raymond Moreman, Charles Hirt, J. Finley Williamson, Roger Wagner, Howard Swan, and Jester Hairston.
The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers ensemble is his creation, and he has dedicated himself to upholding a choral tradition of excellence with the presentation of the classical spiritual around the world. Under his direction, the group has performed in 70 countries in addition to several transcontinental tours of the United States, Canada, and Hawaii.
In addition to his work at the university and conducting the Jubilee Singers, McNeil was author and editor of a series of music education textbooks for Silver Burdett-Ginn Publishing Company. He co-authored an educational packet for Bowman Publishing Company as well. He was director of the Sacramento Chorale for ten years and co-founded the Sacramento Symphony Chorus.
He directed the choir of the Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship in Los Angeles. He was in demand as an adjudicator and choral clinician and often invited to conduct “honor choirs.” In 1991 McNeil was honored by his alma mater, UCLA, as Alumnus of the Year in the area of Professional Excellence. In 1994 McNeil was honored with the title of Honorary Life Member in the Puerto Rican Choir Directors Society. He was on the board of directors for the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Chorus America, and the Neighborhood Music School. He served two terms as member of the Choral Panel, the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a Life Member of the American Choir Directors Association, having appeared before that prestigious organization with the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers in 1981, 1985, and 1997.