After 12 years of providing Memphis youth access to high-quality music education, this year’s PRIZM Summer Camp and International Chamber Music Festival hit a high note in a big way. With first-time attendees, a new administration and a concert lineup across a wide range of genres, PRIZM Fest welcomed new traditions to our already fun-filled two weeks!
This year, PRIZM Fest garnered around 40 students from nearly 20 different ZIP codes throughout the Greater Memphis Area. There were no limitations to age and audition, allowing us to welcome several new campers who were eager to learn, participate and progress in their musicianship.
Collaborating with their peers in chamber groups and full orchestras, students were also afforded the opportunity to perform alongside their mentors, a robust group of professional musicians who work year-round as orchestra members, recording artists, professors and private instructors. Students dove into extensive workshops on audience etiquette, audition preparation and music arranging between rehearsing for concert performances.
For their performances, the students collaborated together to select and announce their own performance repertoire, which included an eclectic mix of works, from Baroque composers like Bach to contemporary pieces like The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” and to a chamber arrangement of “Colors of the Wind.”
The two-week festival concerts also celebrated Black artists’ excellence with a lineup that included works by living composer Valerie Coleman and a full concert featuring baritone Reginald Smith Jr. We concluded the festival with our first Juneteenth concert, which acknowledged the diverse makeup of our city, campers and staff through a partnership with the Memphis Black Arts Alliance. PRIZM chamber musicians and camp students supported the PRIZM Chorus and a special appearance by opera singer Callie Day. As part of our mission to make chamber music inclusive and accessible for all Memphians to enjoy, we held the concert at Christ Missionary Baptist Church in South Memphis and made tickets free to the public.
We are proud to say that this year’s PRIZM Summer Camp and International Chamber Music Festival helped us hit all significant goals for what our organization stands for – accessibility, diversity, collaboration and community involvement.
Be on the lookout in the coming weeks as we begin planning more opportunities to experience chamber music performance and education this fall. We hope to see you at our next concert!