Directors

Derek White | Director of Instrumental Music | derek.white@kelsosd.org

Originally from Tacoma, Washington, Mr. White is in his first year at Kelso High School where he instructs the Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Athletic Bands.

Prior to Kelso High School, Mr. White earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Education and his Master of Music Education from the University of Oregon School of Music & Dance. At the university, Mr. White was a section leader and staff member in the Oregon Athletic Bands, performing around the country at PAC 12 championships, NCAA March Madness tournaments, and nine different bowl games, including three Rose Bowl appearances. He also performed and conducted with the university's tuba-euphonium ensemble, concert bands, and many chamber ensembles.

Mr. White believes in a multifaceted approach to understanding music and looks forward to working with the Kelso community in developing our students' musicianship on intellectual, emotional, and technical levels. He lives in Longview with his girlfriend Helena, their two cats Sebastian and Finnegan, and their turtle Missy.

Colin Cossi | Director of Choirs | colin.cossi@kelsosd.org

In the Fall of 2016 he began as an Elementary Music Teacher in Kelso, spending time at Catlin, Wallace, and Butler Acres Elementary Schools. In the Spring of 2018, Mr. Cossi transitioned to Coweeman Middle School and Kelso High School as the Director of Choirs.

Before beginning his teaching career in Kelso, he earned a Bachelor of Music in music education from the University of Oregon in 2016. In his time there, Mr. Cossi sang Baritone in University Singers, Chamber Choir, the Collegium Ensemble, and On the Rocks. With these groups he traveled and competed in Oregon, Washington, California, Texas, Germany, and Austria. He guest-conducted the University of Oregon Women's Choir, and student-taught at Awbrey Park Elementary School, Springfield High School, and Clackamas High School.

Since 2018, Mr. Cossi has sung for the Oregon Bach Festival chorus in Eugene, OR, the Collegium Choir at Proto Cathedral of St. James the Greater in Vancouver, WA, the Portland Phoenix Chamber Choir, Portland's In Medio Chamber Choir and Nexus Chamber Choir. He has helped to create and execute the KHS Music Retreat and the KHS Holiday Gala. Additionally, he has organized and hosted the SWWMEA Vocal & Piano Solo Ensemble Contest, the Kelso Elementary Choir Festival, and the Kelso Secondary Choir Showcase. He looks forward to increasing the rigor and joy found in singing by Kelso students in the years to come.

Christopher Wurst | CMS Band Director | KHS Marching Ensemble Instructor | chris.wurst@kelsosd.org

Mr. Wurst is extremely excited to embark on his second year as Director of Bands at Coweeman Middle School. His primary duties include directing the Coweeman Middle School Concert Band, Intermediate Band, Beginning Band, and Beginning Percussion Ensemble. He will also be assisting with the high school marching band, and co-directing the high school basketball band. Mr. Wurst earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and Trumpet Performance from Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska, and his Master of Arts in Trumpet Performance from Washington State University.

As an educator, Mr. Wurst taught for three years at Washington State University as an Assistant Athletic Band Director and Instructor of Music, he was the Brass Caption Head for the Thunder Drum and Bugle Corps for two years, and most recently, he taught for three years in the Portland Public School District. In Portland, Mr. Wurst restarted the band and general music programs at César Chávez K-8 School. He was also a Teaching Artist with the El Sistema inspired program Bravo Youth Orchestras. With Bravo, he was able to transform the lives of underserved youth through intensive music training, inclusion, equity, and social responsibility, all of which continue to be pillars in the way he educates students.

Mr. Wurst currently resides in Portland, OR with his wife Leah and their dog Albi. As a family they enjoy camping, golfing, and attending baseball games and concerts.