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 a youth 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 Shrader for viola, Camilo Perez-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 25. All string players will be required to wear a mask and maintain social distance from the faculty in the audition and in the building. 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 1, and meet each week from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Frank Arts Center. Participation in the Shepherd Community Orchestra will require the wearing of a face mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. If you are an advanced string musician and would like to audition for the Shepherd Community Orchestra, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young or inexperienced string students may audition for the Junior String Ensemble, under the direction of Renee Shaw Nutwell. Advanced string students may audition for the Senior Orchestra. 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 for rehearsals and presents two concerts during the school year. Enrollment is open and based on an audition process.
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 is looking to expand its strings section.