When I walked through the doors of PRIZM five years ago, I had no idea that my life would be profoundly impacted and transformed for the better. Without pause, I can say that joining this organization was one of the best decisions I have ever made and today, as I write to you, my heart is filled with so many fond memories.
For over a decade, PRIZM has remained true to its mission to build a diverse community through chamber music education, youth development and performance. It has been amazing watching hundreds of budding musicians develop not only their musical skills but their leadership skills as well. From traveling to South Africa with students to attending their college graduations, I have witnessed PRIZM alumni go on to form ensembles, major in music and arts administration, advocate for diversity in the arts, and even conduct scholarly research on the organization and its history. PRIZM has provided students an opportunity to learn from and perform with some of classical music’s most renowned musicians from around the world, all while empowering students to be key drivers, co-creators and agents of change in society. I believe this is what true transformation and impact looks like.
I am proud to have been a part of that transformation and impact over the last few years. Though PRIZM plays on, it is now my duty to bid you adieu. I have recently accepted a position as an assistant professor and director of contemporary music at Shenandoah University (Conservatory) in Winchester, Virginia.
It has been an absolute pleasure working with such exceptional board members, staff, students, and musicians from around the world. I am exceedingly grateful for the space and opportunity to create new programs for PRIZM and to increase partnerships and collaborations throughout the city of Memphis and surrounding areas. PRIZM will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I will cherish the connections and friendships I have cultivated with each of you. I am confident that the Board of Directors will find an excellent executive director for PRIZM Ensemble.
To every PRIZM supporter, I say thank you. Your financial support has played and will continue to play a vital role in PRIZM’s efforts to promote diversity and access through classical music by providing an opportunity for youth regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or class to receive high quality music education.
With sincere gratitude,
Rod Vester, Ph.D.