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Shepherd Community Orchestra

The Shepherd Community Orchestra is a student-based community ensemble in residence at Shepherd University, under the direction of Camilo Pérez-Mejía. It provides opportunities for over 70 local string and wind students to play in an orchestra of outstanding caliber. Shepherd University Music faculty string coaches for the orchestra are Heather Austin-Stone for violin I, Renee Shaw Nutwell for violin II, Kathy Gleason for viola, Camilo Pérez-Mejía for cello. Wind, percussion, and string students from Shepherd University also participate in the orchestra.

The Shepherd Community Orchestra, under the direction of Camilo Perez-Mejia, is planning to resume this coming fall primarily as a strings only (no winds) ensemble. Auditions for string players will be on Wednesday, August 31. Participants should prepare a solo piece of music, a 3-octave scale, and there will be sight-reading. Rehearsals will begin the following Wednesday, September 7, and meet each week from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Frank Arts Center. If you are an advanced string musician and would like to audition for the Shepherd Community Orchestra, please email

In alliance with the Shepherd University School of Music, area string students work with collegiate level string, wind and percussion students, affording them performance experience with string and full orchestral repertoire.  The Shepherd Community Orchestra has continued to grow and has created a needed musical outlet for area students that did not exist for string players before the orchestra began in 1998. Heralded as one of the best orchestras for youth opportunities in the region, the Shepherd Community Orchestra looks to expand its strings section. 

Younger or inexperienced string students may audition for the Junior String Ensemble, under the direction of Renee Shaw Nutwell. Members are comprised of elementary, middle and high school string students from Jefferson and Berkeley Counties in West Virginia, and Washington County, MD. The orchestra meets Wednesday evenings at 6:15 p.m. for rehearsals and presents two concerts during the school year. Enrollment is open and based on an audition process.

Fall semester: August 24 – November 30, 2022
End of semester concert performance on December 7, 2022 in the Frank Arts Center Theater.

Spring semester: January 11 – April 19, 2023
End of semester concert performance on April 26, 2023 in the Frank Arts Center Theater.

Shepherd Community Orchestra Registration Form

Questions?  email