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Pamela Benitez
Executive Director

Pam Benitez is a successful entrepreneur who has operated several regional businesses, including Advanced Business Center and Jonland Type & Design, with an emphasis on providing attentive, customized service and value. These skills, and her love of people, have been an asset to PRCOrchestra for two decades. Pam’s association with the orchestra began in 1994, the year PRCOrchestra was formed, when she began working with PRCOrchestra co-founder Nancy Muenzer in producing concert program books and other materials. Soon, she began helping Nancy with the annual Benefit Tea and Gala, and since Pam always loved classical music, the more involved she got, the more committed she became. Pam also contributes her leadership talents to local chambers of commerce and other worthy groups, in the process forging strong bonds for PRCOrchestra throughout the northwest suburban area.

Karen Nelson
Personnel Manager

Karen Nelson, a graduate of Luther College, has been a freelance musician in the Chicago area since 1974, having studied with Samuel Magad and Joseph Golan, both of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has performed on many recordings and has toured with various ensembles around the world.  She has performed in the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra (Door County, WI) every August since 1983 and has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio and Chicago's WFMT in live and prerecorded  broadcasts.  Her work has included playing backup for numerous vocal artists of our day (Ray Charles, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, Burt Bacharach, Luciano Pavorotti and Tony Bennett, to name just a few) and commercial recordings for clients such as McDonalds, Nintendo, Quaker Oats and Curtis Mayfield.  In addition to her experience as an orchestral musician, Nelson performs recitals with commentary for retirement homes, churches and concert series, and provides strolling violinists and chamber music for weddings, parties and corporate events.  She has two sons and is married to percussionist Bruce Nelson.

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Len Johnson
Stage Manager

Len Johnson first started with the PRCOrchestra in 1995. Due to Len’s extensive construction experience, Edgar Muenzer approached him to build a stage extension in the Pickwick Theatre for the orchestra. Len comes from a family business: H.I. Johnson & Sons Construction, Inc. that has built several Commercial buildings in the Park Ridge area including the Award winning Theodore Roosevelt School Addition, Park Ridge Train Station, Park Ridge Fire Station #36 addition, Washington School gymnasium, areas of Maine East High School, as well as maintaining the masonry on the historic Pickwick Theatre. 
Len served 21 years as a full-time career firefighter/paramedic retiring as a Lieutenant in 2011 and began his term as Stage Manager for the PRCOrchestra.


Runal A. Patel
Digital Strategist

Runal A. Patel is an undergraduate student at Drake University who has brought many technological and organizational skills to the PRCOrchestra, including creating a giving database and a beautiful website, all while learning about non-profit management and web design. These skills, and his dedication to innovation, have been an asset to the PRCOrchestra since 2015. Runal’s term with the orchestra began in 2015 with a summer internship while he was in high school. After his internship, he joined the PRCOrchestra year-round as Webmaster. During the 2015-2016 school year, Runal and two of his classmates wrote a report on the PRCOrchestra that won first at the state DECA competition and placed in the 75th percentile at the international level. Runal is a graduate of Maine West High School. At Drake, Runal is studying political science and economics. In his free time, Runal enjoys singing in choir, discussing politics, trying new restaurants, and exploring Chicago and his new home of Des Moines, Iowa.

Hilary Ortiz

Hilary Ortiz is the Librarian for the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra.