WOODROW WILSON HIGH SCHOOL Alumni
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR FOR OREGON REPERTORY YOUTH CHOIRS
Kris Van Auken (Nelsen) graduated from Wilson in 1968. After Wilson she received a Music Ed. degree from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA.
After college Kris taught elementary music in the Evergreen School District in Vancouver, WA while earning her master's degree at Lewis and Clark College. Kris then taught elementary music in Oregon City and North Clackamas and at Oregon Episcopal School, where she still teaches an after school choir.
Currently she is the Artistic Director of the Oregon Repertory Singers Youth Choirs, where children K-12 grades sing in six choirs. It is a community, tuition-based choir and kids come from all over the Portland metropolitan area to rehearse once a week and sing in several concerts in Portland during the school year. Go to: http://www.orsingers.org to learn more.
When asked about favorite teachers, Kris said that Merle Lotz, her choir teacher, had the biggest influence on her at Wilson. "He and his wife Pat gave me some wonderful opportunities to accompany the choirs on piano, as well as sing some very high quality music during my high school years," states Kris. "This was a huge influence on my choice of career."
We also asked Kris if she had any words of wisdom for Wilson students. "I would advise current Wilson students to pursue their dreams and to look at life with an open mind," she adds. "Don't get stuck with a small, select group of people, as it will narrow your opportunities and your outlook on all that the world has to offer."