Shepherd Music Named Program of Distinction

The Shepherd University Department of Music's musicians and ensembles represent Shepherd excellence through performances on campus, and both nationally and internationally.

"We don't just represent music majors, we represent and are comprised of students of many disciplines," Dr. Mark McCoy, chair of the Department of Music, said of the various musicians that make up the ensembles. "It speaks well for Shepherd as a whole."

Their demanding touring schedule puts them in front of audiences of 70,000 annually. The department has served as ambassadors for Shepherd, West Virginia, and the United States, with invitations to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the great cathedrals of Europe including Canterbury in England, St. Francis in Assisi, and St. Mary's in Dublin, to name only a few. In the United States, Shepherd ensembles have been invited to perform in a wide range of venues including Giants Stadium in New Jersey and Carnegie Hall in New York City. Shepherd University has become synonymous with strong performance and quality education through the outreach of these groups.

"It's an accolade for Shepherd to be invited," McCoy said. "We are happy to represent Shepherd excellence to a wide variety of people."

In addition to being the only public institution in a wide radius offering a masters of music in music education degree, Shepherd's Department of Music is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. The department offers summer string and jazz camps, various workshops, early childhood music classes, and also hosts the Shepherd Vocal Competition, the Region 8 Solo and Ensemble Festival, and the Eastern Regional High School Jazz Festival.

The music department provides ensembles for benefit functions, openings, and other special community-related events.

In addition to performing locally and globally, the Department of Music is able to take advantage of its proximity to the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area by traveling to see performances and take advantage of master classes, workshops, and meet-the-artist events.

Serving as the music center of the region, Shepherd's Department of Music provides nearly 100 public performances each academic year, many with pre-concert lectures and workshops, which are open to the campus and the larger community as well.

Shepherd's Department of Music reaches a younger demographic as well, by working with local school jurisdictions allowing school-aged string students to join with college students and professional musicians in the Shepherd Preparatory Orchestra. The orchestra is part of the larger preparatory program that provides musical instruction by Shepherd students and faculty to school-aged and adult learners.

The department's piano pedagogy program provides free piano lessons and free preparatory lessons to students in need.

Friends of Music, an organization that is comprised of community leaders, supports musical excellence at Shepherd by providing free preparatory lessons to students in need, instrument purchases, a highly-acclaimed guest artists series, and scholarships as well as funding for international tours.

"We're honored to be selected as a Program of Distinction," McCoy said. "It helps the department to spread the word to prospective students, parents, and community members about the quality of the program."