What makes GVVJ so Unique?

  • Non-audition ensemble
  • Young age of the members (8-11)
  • Student rhythm section members
  • Performing with stylistic integrity
  • Vocal and instrumental improvisation
  • Dedicated and excited to try new ideas
  • Willing to explore jazz concepts/forms/styles
  • Learning/performing jazz standards
  • Composing/arranging songs together
  • Interacting frequently with jazz professionals
  • Inspirational performances on/off the stage
  • Appreciating America's music - jazz!

Professional Conferences

GVVJ has performed in concert and as a demonstration group for these professional organization conferences:


Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA)

American Choral Directors Association (ACDA)

Lower Columbia River Music Educators Association (LCRMEA)

International Association of Jazz Education (IAJE)

Note: In 2001"JDZ JAZZ!!"  emerged as one of the first elementary vocal jazz ensembles with students in grades 5-6.  When Grass Valley Elementary opened in 2009 as a K-5 building, all JDZ students and more moved there.  Thus, "Grass Valley Vocal Jazz" began as a grade 3-5 vocal jazz ensemble.

Grass Valley VOCAL JAZZ


Contact Natalie to schedule a local GVVJ performance!

Jazz Artist Collaborations

Grass Valley VOCAL JAZZ has shared the stage with many professional jazz musicians.  In-class workshops, clinics and rehearsals have prepared the students for performances with:

  • Patrick Lamb
  • Kevin Mahogany
  • Kristin Korb
  • Todd Johnson
  • Steve Zegree
  • John Hollenbeck
  • Pamela York
  • Louise Rose
  • Terry Blaine
  • Lorraine Feather


GVVJ has been fortunate to be recognized in the music world for their contributions to jazz music.  The concept and existence of an elementary vocal jazz ensemble is rare.  That said, it has not stopped GVVJ from participating in jazz festivals/award applications and winning awards in the junior high division.

2014 Downbeat Award 

2013 Downbeat Award

2012 Downbeat Award

2006 Downbeat Award

2012 Winner MS/JH Division NW Vocal Jazz Festival

2011 Winner MS/JH Division NW Vocal Jazz Festival

2010 2nd Place MS/JH Division NW Vocal Jazz Festival 

Grass Valley VOCAL JAZZ (GVVJ) 

is an ensemble of public school students in grades

3-4-5, complete with a student rhythm section (piano/bass/drums).  Under the direction of Natalie Wilson, these 8-11 year-olds attend Grass Valley Elementary in Camas, Washington and rehearse 2-3 mornings for 45 minutes each week before school. 


No audition is necessary to participate in GVVJ and students possess a wide range of abilities.  With personal, academic, social, racial and economic diversity, these students demonstrate a passion for America's music with confidence!  Their dedication to each other and to the music is highly commendable.  Their performance ability is exceptional as evidenced by the many accolades they have achieved.


GVVJ proudly performs in numerous school concerts, community events and jazz festivals annually.  Their schedule is always changing!