Summer 2023 MECA
Continuing Education Courses
Vocal Jazz Extravaganza!
This class will deal with the many elements involved in rehearsing a vocal jazz ensemble. Ability levels will range from beginning, with little or no knowledge to advanced. Topics to be included, but not limited to, will be getting started, style, literature, rehearsal techniques, improvisation, sound systems, jazz piano skills, communications, public relations, and much more. Each student will also be given several free digital resources from different vendors and publishers.
Andrew Dahan (Niles North High School, Skokie IL):
Andrew Dahan, originally from Skokie, IL, is the Director of Choirs at Niles North High School (Skokie, IL), where he directs all of the curricular choirs, and is also the head Vocal Jazz Director, and directs the award-winning vocal jazz ensemble Take One. From 2014-2018, he was Head of Music Education at Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, IL), where he taught courses in in the Music Education program, and also founded and directed the IWU vocal jazz ensembles – Unlicensed Syncopation and Vocal Jazz Lab – during his tenure there.
Dahan has served as an adjudicator at the Tiffin University ProMusic Festival (Tiffin, OH) and ChoralFest Manitoba (Winnipeg, MB), and has also served as a clinician for the JENerations Jazz Festival. He presented a session at the 2019 JEN conference (Reno, NV) about effective assessment for vocal jazz ensembles, and will present a session at the 2023 Illinois Music Education Conference about improvisation in different jazz styles. Most recently, he was an adjudicator at the 2022 Iowa Vocal Jazz Championships (Des Moines, IA).
Dahan has also had the privilege of singing the National Anthem for the Miami Heat, and has sung as a background vocalist for notable performers such as George Benson, Gloria Estefan, Ben Folds, Raul Midón, and Steve Miller. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL), and a Master of Music degree in Jazz Pedagogy from the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL)
Roger Emerson (Professional Composer, Arranger and Educator):
Roger Emerson is a professional composer and arranger with over 900 choral titles in print and over 30 million copies in circulation. He is the most widely performed composer/arranger of popular choral music and vocal jazz in the world today. His works include the choral arrangements of Josh Groban’s, You Raise Me Up, Seasons of Love, from RENT, Defying Gravity from WICKED, Joyful, Joyful from SISTER ACT, Don’t Stop Believin’ from GLEE, and most recently, My Shot from HAMILTON. In addition, his vocal jazz arrangements of Over The Rainbow, Vincent, Blue Skies and I Wish are some of the most performed of all-time. Mr. Emerson has been the recipient of ASCAP’s Standard Award for 30 years running and his works have been performed at the White House, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. He is in constant demand as a lecturer on pop music, vocal jazz and the changing voice and has appeared at numerous MENC, ACDA and JEN conferences.
Greg Jasperse (Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI):
Greg Jasperse is the Director of Vocal Jazz at Western Michigan University and also the director of Gold Company, WMU’s award-winning vocal jazz ensemble. He also serves as the director of the annual WMU New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camp. No stranger to the stage or recording studio, his voice can be heard on numerous movie soundtracks including “Jurassic World”, “Epic”, “Oz, The Great and Powerful”, “The Campaign”, “Star Trek” and “Star Trek 2”, Disney’s “Sofia the First” as well as the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Monarchy of Roses” and “The 2nd Law” from Muse. Greg is a member of Vertical Voices has also been honored to tour with the New York Voices. He has performed with Adele, Imogen Heap, Jennifer Holiday, Joe Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Dianne Reeves and Bobby McFerrin among others. His compositions and arrangements are performed around the world by many of today’s premier vocal ensembles including Chanticleer, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Chicago Children’s Choir and the St. Olaf Choir. His conducting credits include all-state vocal jazz ensembles in Washington, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, North Dakota, New York, California, Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, New Hampshire, Illinois, Iowa as well as the British Columbia Honors Jazz Choir and Musicfest Canada’s Ellison Honour Choir. He is a graduate of University of Miami and Western Michigan University.
Connaitre Miller (Howard University, Washington, D.C.):
Connaitre Miller is currently Professor of Music and Jazz Voice Coordinator at Howard University, in Washington, D.C. Ms. Miller is the founder and director of the award-winning vocal jazz ensemble “Afro Blue,” teaches vocal jazz improvisation, vocal jazz arranging, and studio jazz voice. Preceding her tenure at HU, Connaitre built a well-respected jazz voice program at the Elder Conservatorium of Music in Adelaide, South Australia, and taught at CSU Long Beach and Cypress Community College in California. Connaitre conducts clinics and workshops throughout the country and abroad on jazz vocal improvisation, and jazz choir techniques. She has appeared as guest artist and clinician for multiple university jazz festivals throughout the U.S. and has served as the conductor for several All-State Jazz Choirs. Connaitre has received the Jazz Education Achievement Award by Downbeat Magazine, and was recently honored by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra as one of the leading women in jazz. Connaitre received her Bachelors and Master’s degrees from Kansas State University in Vocal Music Education (BME) and Piano Performance (MM), and pursued post-graduate study at the University of Northern Colorado in Choral Conducting and Jazz Pedagogy.
Natalie Wilson (Grass Valley Elementary School, Camas, WA):
Natalie Wilson has served 35+ years as a music educator in the Camas, Washington school district. Following her first 18 years teaching choir/vocal jazz at the secondary level, she currently teaches K-5 General Music and vocal jazz at Grass Valley Elementary. She is an active conference presenter, composer/arranger, clinician, and author.
Natalie’s elementary (grades 3-5) ensemble “Grass Valley VOCAL JAZZ” (GVVJ) has earned several DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards for Outstanding Performance in the junior high division and were a 2019 co-winner of the 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 leads the K-8 Education Committee for General Music and Vocal Jazz.
Natalie is recognized in the WMEA 2020 Hall of Fame and as a semi-finalist for the 2019 Give a Note Foundation “Innovator” Award. She has 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, present, and thoroughly enjoys sharing jazz as America’s cultural music.
Rehearsing the Vocal Jazz Ensemble
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