Department of Music hosts 21st PRISM concert

Dr. Gary Schallert conducts the wind ensemble as they close out the show with Slavonic Rhapsody No. 1 at the 21st annual Prism concert Thursday, March 3 at Van Meter Hall. Brook Joyner/HERALD

Brittiny Moore

Nearly every seat was taken when the hall plunged into darkness, only to be emerged in a bedazzlement of light and color.

The disco ball twirled overhead, covering Van Meter Hall in a silver adornment as neatly dressed musicians, all in black, took to stages dawned in every hue of the rainbow.   

Van Meter was alive with color and music on Thursday night when musicians from the WKU Department of Music hit the stage for the highlight concert of the year.


The 21st annual PRISM concert showcased a variety of musical talents, special lighting and choreography in the concert’s traditional fast-paced environment.  

“The concert is a fast-paced and energetic overview of everything we do in our department,” Scott Harris, head of the Department of Music and associate professor, said.  

This year’s concert featured the WKU Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Red Shirts, Treble Makers, Steel Drum Band, Guitar Ensemble and many other ensembles, some of which left the crowd dancing.

Bremen senior Will Kimmell said seeing PRISM while in high school was an incredible experience, and was one that would bring him to be a part of the music department.  

“It was cool because I got to see all that WKU had to offer in their program,” Kimmell said.   

Kimmell sat on stage this year, marking his 5th year in PRISM. This year, he performed with the WKU Wind Ensemble and the Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble.

“My favorite part is performing for the audience,” Kimmell said.  “It’s my turn to show people what our department can do and what we have to offer.”

The performances took place throughout the hall, using the stage, the balcony and the aisles between the audience. There were no pauses between performances, making sure there was never a dull moment and keeping the audience engaged and entertained.

“I hope they are going to leave very excited about music,” Harris said. “We want to initiate 21st century students, faculty and the general public to come hear a little bit of all types of music.”

La Grange junior Cora Lee said the concert can be hectic for performers and the darkness of the hall while setting up for next performances can be challenging. 

“While another group was performing, I fell pretty loudly up the stairs causing everyone’s attention to go to me instead of the group on stage,” Lee said.  “I still have scars on my knees from that.”

However, Lee agrees that PRISM is a concert that everyone can enjoy.

“It presents all of our ensembles in a creative and encompassing manner,” Lee said. “Most people who don’t like classical music would still come to this concert because it’s more diverse and immersive than most concerts.”

Lee has performed in several ensembles during her time at WKU. This year she performed with the saxophone choir in what she calls the most fun concert of the year.

“I enjoy the energy and excitement that comes from this concert,” Lee said.  “I personally think this concert is the most fun one of the year. It’s always packed.”