After serving 39 years as a music educator, Natalie Wilson retired in 2023 from the Camas, Washington school district. Following her first 18 years teaching choir/vocal jazz at the secondary level 6-12, she taught preK-5 General Music and vocal jazz at Grass Valley Elementary. Revered as a veteran elementary vocal jazz educator for 21 years, she continues to serve as an active conference presenter, composer/arranger, clinician, and author.
Natalie’s elementary (grades 3-5) ensemble “Grass Valley VOCAL JAZZ” (GVVJ) is recognized with 13 DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards in the junior high division. Her elementary ensembles also performed at the 2006 IAJE NY and 2012 WMEA conferences. Natalie composes and arranges many of the pieces they perform. As a clinician, Natalie has presented sessions on elementary vocal jazz concepts for university student organizations and at state, regional, and national conferences of ACDA, NAfME, WMEA, and JEN where she also serves on the K-8 Education Committee for General Music and Vocal Jazz.
Natalie is honored in the WMEA 2020 Hall of Fame and as a semi-finalist for the 2019 Give a Note Foundation “Innovator” Award. She is also a contributing author in Rehearsing the Vocal Jazz Ensemble by Daniel Gregerman which was released in 2023. Natalie received a 2018 “Tenuto Award” from the Friends of Frank DeMiero Jazz Festival, a 2014 and 2012 Regional Outstanding Music Educator Award, and “The Innovator” Camas School District 2013 Employee of the Year Award. Natalie holds an undergraduate degree from Western Washington University and a master’s degree from Portland State University. She continues to compose, arrange, and present conference sessions. She thoroughly enjoys sharing jazz as America’s cultural music.