A New Chapter


NISOM is beginning a new chapter (or movement, if you will). Founder Tracey Rush has announced she plans to retire from her position as executive director in July 2018, and the board accepted her resignation. But this is not goodbye! Tracey will become NISOM’s Artistic Advisor to help ensure the musical quality of our programs and plans to remain on our faculty. NISOM looks forward to hiring our first full-time executive director and the next chapter in our organization. In March the board passed a new 10-year strategic plan, and we can’t wait for you to see what we have in store.

A Personal Message for You from Tracey Rush:

The Bible says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1. Twenty years ago, there was a need in this community for a music school, so getting NISOM started was my purpose. Now, after 17 years as Executive Director, it is time for someone else to take NISOM to the next level. This was not an easy decision, but it is time for both NISOM and the Dubuque Community String Orchestra to experience their next phase of growth, which will be a good thing for all of us.

The big take-away from my bout with cancer last year was that God is not finished with me yet. Now that my energy is starting to return and my recent health reports have been very good, it is time for new challenges and other purposes. One of the things I hope to be able to do is get back to composing music. As Leonard Bernstein said, “…I’m not really needed on this earth for another Ring cycle, or another Magic Flute, or another whatever. Really. But nobody, for better or worse, can write my music except me.” There are others who can run a music school or conduct an adult orchestra, but there is more music in my soul that only I can put on paper.

Before I get too excited about going forward, I need to look back and thank the many, many people who joined with me in this incredible endeavor of starting a non-profit community music school and keeping it going all these years. There are far too many to start naming names, but you know who you are: our landlord who was willing to lease us space even though we might disturb other tenets with our “noise;” the many volunteers who have put together furniture, hung up posters, filed paperwork, and stuffed envelopes; so many gifted teachers who have helped NISOM maintain a high level of musical excellence; the hard-working staff members who serve our students on a daily basis; dozens of dedicated board members over the years who have given of their time and energy to keep the school on track; and my family and friends who have encouraged me, prayed and cried with me through all of these years. Words cannot express my gratitude to those who have supported NISOM financially, whether it be through donations, grants, sponsorships, or buying tickets to our events. Finally, thank you to the hundreds of students and their families who have trusted us with your music education. 

It has been an honor and privilege to serve you all through NISOM, but this is not my school. It belongs to everyone in Dubuque and the surrounding area. With your support, NISOM will continue bringing the life-changing power of music to this community for many more seasons to come.


Join our email list to get all the latest news and notifications about upcoming events and programs.

Upcoming Events