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Preparatory Orchestra and Chorus auditions scheduled for August 26, September 2

ISSUED: 11 August 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The Shepherd University Preparatory Orchestra and Preparatory Chorus are having auditions in late August and early September for students in elementary, middle, and high school who are interested in joining for the 2015-16 school year.

Preparatory Orchestra auditions August 26

The Preparatory Orchestra will hold auditions for its 17th season on Wednesday, August 26, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Frank Center. Positions for any students or community members who plays strings are open in all sections in both the junior and senior orchestras, which are primarily made up of students from Berkeley and Jefferson counties, nearby Maryland and Virginia, and from Shepherd University.
Students auditioning for the Junior Youth Orchestra are asked to prepare a solo and scale of their choice and should be able to sight-read music at a beginner to early intermediate level. Students auditioning for the Senior Youth Orchestra are asked to prepare a solo of their choice and to play a three-octave scale and sight-read at the late intermediate to early advanced level.
Violin and viola students will audition from 6-8 p.m., and cello or bass students will audition from 8-9 p.m. Auditions will take place on a first-come, first-served basis during the scheduled audition time for their instrument. Other audition times may be scheduled with the consent of the preparatory division coordinator. The orchestras meet Wednesday evenings for rehearsals throughout the school year. The junior string ensemble rehearses from 6-7 p.m., and the senior orchestra rehearses from 7:30-9 p.m.

The Shepherd Preparatory Orchestra has a new music director this year, Dr. Charles Reader, adjunct music professor. Reader comes from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. He received his doctoral degree in conducting, with a cognate in music education, from Ball State University, and completed both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the State University of New York-Potsdam Crane School of Music. Reader also worked as a high school music director for 10 years in New York state, where he was recognized in Who’s Who Among American High School Teachers on multiple occasions.

“I am very excited to be joining an organization with such a tradition of excellence and a dedication to the students,” Reader said. “Not just a dedication to making great performances twice a year, but to the entire education and experience of the students, both as musicians and good citizens. I cannot wait to share in the energy and work ethic of this ensemble.”

Preparatory Chorus auditions September 2

The Preparatory Chorus auditions will take place on Wednesday, September 2, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Frank Center.

Directed by Dr. David Gonzol, associate professor and director of music education, the Preparatory Chorus is comprised of both male and female vocalists who are currently in grades 3-8. The chorus meets throughout the school year on Wednesday evenings from 6:10-7:30 p.m. Concerts will be presented on December 9, 2015, and April 27, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the Frank Center Theater.

“The Preparatory Chorus provides outstanding choral music education to young vocalists and is designed to introduce children to the vocal and musical skills needed for choral singing” said Kari Edge, preparatory division coordinator. “Students will learn how to use their singing voice in a healthy and artistic manner, how to sing in many languages, and to perform a repertoire comprised of many genres of music.”

“They have performed choral music by Carl Orff, Zoltán Kodály, and Guild Keetman,” Gonzol added. “They have sung pieces by great composers like Carolyn Jennings, Benjamin Britten, Mary Goetze, and Shirley MacRae. And we even did a choral premiere of a song by the wonderful West Virginia singer-songwriter, John Lilly. They love it all, and they love singing with each other.”

Edge said each rehearsal also includes the opportunity to play Orff instruments and for the children to participate in activities that are fun and socially rewarding.

Tuition for both the children’s chorus and preparatory orchestra programs is $125 per semester and includes two free family member admissions to each concert. For additional information or to register for either program, contact Edge at 304-876-5555 or by email at Information about the Preparatory Division is also available on the Department of Music website at

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