PRISM concert looks to bring noise, lights to Van Meter

Associate music professor Gary Schallert conducts WKU band students during a rehearsal for Friday’s PRISM concert in Van Meter Auditorium on Wednesday.

Joanna Williams

Out of all the experiences Bowling Green senior Emily White has had in her four years in the music department, including touring across the state and Italy, the PRISM concert still ranks among her favorites.

Tonight’s 16th annual PRISM concert will feature 25 musical pieces using 19 ensembles from the music department, said Gary Schallert, an associate music professor and producer of the concert. A total of 175 students will perform.

The concert is the only performance of the year that features almost every ensemble in the music department, Schallert said.

“It’s exciting,” White said. “With all of us being so busy, we rarely get to sit down and see each other perform, so to be able to do that now is great.”

Jeff Smith, the technical director for the concert, has worked on the PRISM concert for 12 years.

“It’s a showcase for Western’s music department,” Smith said. “It has everything from wind ensemble to a flute duet. It really does expand the gambit of WKU’s music department.”

He said planning the event was full of logistical difficulties this year because of working at a new venue, but he thinks the final project will be worth it.

This is the first time in several years that the concert has been performed in Van Meter Hall because of renovations, Schallert said. The past two years it has been performed in Downing University Center.

Smith said although Van Meter’s auditorium is smaller than most auditoriums, it works to their advantage when performing a concert like PRISM.

“It’s extraordinarily laid out,” he said. “One of the best sounding rooms I’ve ever been in because of the size. Everyone can hear.”

Students have been practicing since Sunday with about an hour of rehearsal time each day, White said.

The concert will feature unique components such as special effects, colored lights and comedy, which all combine to form a memorable experience for concert goers, Schallert said.

“All those things put together create an unbelievable show,” Schallert said.