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A Year of Change and Recognition for Alum Roth Preap

Headshot of Roth Preap

It’s been a busy year full of change for Roth Preap ’18, one during which others have taken notice of his passion, energy, and industriousness.

In September 2022, he was named a Central Penn Business Journal Forty Under 40 Honoree. At the time, Preap was splitting his work days between serving as Grants Program Officer for the York County Community Foundation (YCCF) and as Director of Operations for the York Youth Symphony Orchestra.

He made the difficult decision to pursue a career supporting the arts and took on the position of Executive Director of the York Art Association (YAA) in December 2022. “I enjoyed philanthropy a lot, but my passion has always been music and the arts. I wanted to get back into the arts, helping to create access for people to enjoy and participate in the arts,” Preap said. “That fits very well with the York Art Association’s mission. I am also looking forward to having one job!”

Another recognition came along in February 2023, when the York County Economic Alliance (YCEA) named Preap winner of the Ignite Young Professional Award. YCEA cited his involvement–as a professional and as a volunteer–with a number of organizations, including the York Youth Symphony Orchestra and York Junior Symphony Orchestra. “[He] serves the community through his time and talents, performing and accompanying on piano for Bethany United Methodist Church’s sanctuary choir in Red Lion, PA, and volunteering for Kable House Presents, and other organizations and events.”

Passion for Music

Preap’s work with musical organizations stems from his love of music, which began sometime around third or fourth grade. “I picked up the viola first and did not like that,” he said. “So, I moved on to the cello. When I joined the Edgar Fahs Smith’s singers with Michal Buchanan, who played piano, I knew right away I wanted to do that.”

Preap learned more about music, particularly playing the piano, through participation in a number of school activities. At William Penn Senior High School, he performed with the Concert Choir, William Penn Singers, Marching Band, Jazz Band, and Orchestra and after graduating, accompanied William Penn’s choir.

As a student who was participating in the York College Community Opportunity Program (YCCOSP), he took his first private piano lessons in high school with Dr. Ken Osowski, Associate Professor of Music, through the Dual Enrollment program that allows high school students to earn college credits. “Not only did I learn from Dr. Osowski, he also helped me prepare for my auditions to get accepted into the Music program at the College,” Preap says.

Preap majored in Music Industry and Recording Technology at YCP “to learn some part of the music business, including entrepreneurship.” A chapter in a textbook for one of his courses, however, introduced him to arts administration and “opened my eyes to another part of music.”

That interest led to his first internship at the Cultural Alliance of York County as the Marketing/Special Events Intern for the Cultural Alliance of York County. Afterward, he interned for Creative York, where he served as Marketing/Education Intern. Preap created promotional and marketing materials, assisted with curating and installing exhibits, helped plan events, and conducted research that led to the awarding of a $2,500 grant to the organization (a bit of foreshadowing!).

 The Professional, the Volunteer Giving Back to His Community

After graduating in 2018, Roth began working part-time as Operations and Personnel Manager for the York Youth Symphony Orchestra, a group he first connected with through a YCCOSP mentorship program. He later served as the Director of Operations, focused on trying to provide opportunities through the Orchestra that make it more accessible and affordable. “I could not afford instruments or lessons when I was growing up,” Preap said, “and like some of these kids, transportation was an issue for me as well.” Through a sliding-scale fee structure (“pay what you can”) he implemented, Preap saw more youngsters sign up or audition. “What filled my heart was when we shared a recommended fee, other families who could afford it were giving more to cover the costs for those who could not,” he says.

Preap joined the YCCF in 2019 as Grants Program Associate, and was promoted to Grants Program Officer in 2022. He helped support the environmental funds and a small range of other funds for the Boy Scouts and LGBTQ organizations. “I worked with applicants, talked about the program, and got them connected to funds,” he said.

Preap is the first Executive Director for the York Art Association, which, at 118 years in existence, is one of the oldest art associations in the United States. Some of his work previously fell on volunteers, like hanging shows and creating budgets. “I’m freeing time up for volunteers to volunteer, feed their passion, but not burn out,” he said.

Preap is also back in the grants world, but rather than evaluating grants like he did with the YCCF, he is now writing them and seeking opportunities to fund and expand programs at the Art Association. That might include seeking a new home for the organization, which “may need to move soon because of eminent domain with the expansion of Route 83 to address issues with the Market Street on and off ramps.” If that happens, Preap will be at the helm of conducting a capital campaign to fund a move. “The current facility is not ideal,” he said. “We have a wish list that includes two dedicated gallery spaces and two classrooms, which would allow us to offer a kids class simultaneously with a parents class.”

Preap has not completely abandoned his love of music. He continues to work with the York Youth Symphony Orchestra. “That’s my passion project, and I enjoy working with the kids,” he said.  And he remains committed to continuing to work to better his community. “I remember writing my application paper for YCCOSP, on giving back to the community, and one of my dreams at that time was to open up a location to provide lessons for kids, some space downtown that would let me keep music as a passion and help the community at the same time.”