Workshop Information 


Date:  August 7, 2021

Time:  10:00am

Location:  Amro Music Auditorium


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Join a group of music educators representing a variety of personal and career experience for a panel discussion on diversity, equity, and inclusion in music. We'll be discussing topics like:

  • historical inclusion
  • serving under-represented populations today
  • DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) in performance practice
  • and more! 

Our group of panelists will share their own experiences, as well as discuss challenges that music educators have faced historically and those which they face today in providing equitable educational and performance opportunities. We'll also offer resources and strategies for combating the challenges faced by today's music education community regarding DEI and will open the floor to attendees to participate in discussion.

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Rod Vester

Rod Vester is an educator, researcher, entrepreneur, pianist, organist, composer, conductor, and producer who excels in gospel, jazz, classical, and contemporary music. He has performed with numerous artists, across genres, including Grammy winners CeCe Winans, Kirk Franklin, and the late Aretha Franklin. Rod remains an active performer, clinician, and speaker who has presented at Chamber Music America, Sphinx, and at state and national music education conferences. As an arts consultant, Rod has helped many arts organizations create and implement curricula, programs, and educational opportunities through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens. Rod is committed to creating spaces where all people feel valued, voiced, and visible. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a master’s degree in Counseling, a master’s degree in Musicology, and a Ph.D. in Music Education.



Nikkie Parker-Dunnewold

Nikkie Parker-Dunnewold is the Shelby County Schools Fine Arts Instructional Advisor, where she oversees Orff Music and Class Piano. A native of Memphis, Mrs. Parker-Dunnewold was an Orff Music Teacher for 20 years before stepping into her current role as Advisor. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education and Clarinet Performance from the University of Memphis, Orff Schulwerk Certification from the University of Memphis, and Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Christian Brothers University. Mrs. Parker-Dunnewold is also a clarinetist with the Bartlett Community Concert Band where she serves on the governing board as Membership Director.




Elicia Garcia Curry

Elicia Garcia Curry is the Director of the Snowden Middle School Choir and Piano programs, Minister of Music at First Congregational Church and the newly appointed Memphis Choral Arts Children’s Choral Director. She will begin her thirteenth year at Snowden school this fall. Under her direction, the Snowden Choir and Piano programs consistently receive superior ratings in performance at the regional and national level.  Elicia previously served as the Children’s Choir Director at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church for six years. Elicia served as a member of the Memphis City Schools Teacher Field Test Group and Development Team, which developed the pilot evaluation method for Tennessee music teachers in 2012. She was also a Peer Evaluator of this new evaluation method. Elicia served as the West TN Vocal Music Educators Association Junior High Honor Choir Chair from 2016-2018.  During her tenure at Mississippi Boulevard, she was invited to serve as the Children’s Choir Clinician and Director for the 2019 Disciples of Christ National Convention in Des Moines, IA. She currently serves on the Shelby County Schools Fine Arts Leadership Council and is the Lead Middle School Choral Director for the district.  Elicia facilitates SCS district level professional development sessions and serves as a mentor to new choral directors across the district. She also serves as a cooperating teacher for the University of Memphis Teacher Education Program.  Elicia holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Memphis and a Master of Music in Music Education from Kent State University. She is an active member of the West Tennessee Vocal Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education and the American Choral Directors Association.


Carrington truehart

Carrington Truehart is a cellist and music educator in Memphis, TN. He was the cello IRIS Artist Fellow for the 2019-2021 season. He holds a Bachelor’s of Music Education from the University of Memphis and a Master’s of Music in cello performance. Carrington has performed in masterclasses for David Finckel, Joshua Roman, Joel Krosnick and the Jeruselum Quartet. He frequently plays with the IRIS Orchestra, Tupelo Symphony, Memphis Repertory Orchestra, Memphis Sinfonietta and the Balmoral Community Orchestra. He has studied with multiple teachers including Leo Altino and Kimberly Patterson. In addition to his performances, Carrington Truehart has been a cello teaching fellow at Interlochen School for the Arts, a teaching fellow for the Memphis Music Initiative from 2019-2021 season, and is now currently an elementary school music teacher



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