Winnipeg choir teacher, anthem singer a fixture at Jets games
Jets' anthem singer Stacey Nattrass teaches choir, vocal jazz by day at Garden City Collegiate
If you've ever been to a Winnipeg Jets or Manitoba Moose game, the noise in the MTS Centre tends to get pretty loud as Stacey Nattrass belts out the final notes of Canada's national anthem.
Four NHL seasons in, Nattrass is a fixture in the build-up to the opening faceoff at Jets games. It's her dream assignment, but she didn't come by it easily.
Julia Burtnick is regularly inspired by Nattrass at her other job.
"That story in itself is inspiring … don't count yourself out and, whatever it is that you want, if you really want that thing you'll find a way to get there," said Burtnick.
Nattrass moonlights as an anthem singer for the Jets, but her day job has her teaching high school students how to sing.
Nattrass has been the choir and vocal jazz teacher at Garden City Collegiate for more than 15 years — a role she chased with passion, practising and taking small parts before eventually getting into the University of Manitoba School of Music on her second try.
That trademark perseverance has turned her into an MVP at Garden City.
"Much like Dustin Byfuglien is a game changer in a Jets game, Stacey is definitely a game changer in our building — both in the classroom and outside of it," said Tony Kreml, Garden City Collegiate's vice-principal.
Back when she was working to become a teacher, Nattrass started singing anthems at Manitoba Moose games. That would pave the way for her spot with the Jets.
"There was jumping up and down when I heard the Jets were back because of that whole excitement and the hope that I might get to sing a few games here and there," said Nattrass.
Away from the stage at the MTS Centre, her day-to-day duties fuel the hopes and ambitions of the next generation of singers in Winnipeg.
"All the dreams that I had came true but there were stumbling blocks along the way," said Nattrass.
"I didn't ever think that I'd be the Jets' anthem singer and it happened. So you don't know how it happens, but dreams do come true."