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Auditions for youth orchestras and chorus scheduled for January 15, 2020

ISSUED: 20 December 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University will hold auditions for new members of the Shepherd Community Orchestra and the Junior String Ensemble on Wednesday, January 15, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Frank Center. String students in grades 4-12 should prepare a piece of music to perform, scales 2-3 octaves, and be prepared to sight-read. Auditions are for area student musicians and community members who play violin, viola, cello, and bass. 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, and the orchestra will celebrate by performing an early symphony by Beethoven.

The Junior String Ensemble, under the direction of Shepherd alumna Renee Shaw Nutwell, meets weekly on Wednesday evenings from 6-7 p.m. beginning January 22 and is for students who have had at least one year of study on their instrument. The Shepherd Community Orchestra, under the direction of Camilo Pérez-Mejía, will meet every Wednesday for rehearsals from 7:30-9 p.m. beginning January 15 and ending on April 29 with a final concert.

The Shepherd Community Orchestra and Junior String Ensemble are made up of advanced elementary, middle, and high school string students from Jefferson and Berkeley counties, as well as Washington County, Maryland. Shepherd Music faculty string coaches are Heather Austin-Stone, violin; Renee Shaw Nutwell, violin; Kathy Shrader, viola; Camilo Pérez-Mejía, cello; and Brian Lange, winds and percussion. String, wind, and percussion students from Shepherd also participate in the orchestra.

Youth Chorus auditions

Auditions for the Shepherd Youth Chorus will take place Wednesday, January 15, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. for students in grades 3-8. Celebrating his 12th season as director of the chorus, Dr. David Gonzol, professor of music, will listen to all students auditioning. Students may audition on a first-come, first-served basis, but parents should contact Sherry Sykes, coordinator of Community Music, to put their child’s name on the audition list.

The Shepherd Youth Chorus will rehearse every Wednesday from 6:10-7:30 p.m. beginning January 22 and ending April 29 with a final concert.

Tuition for the semester for both orchestras and the chorus is $150. Financial aid is available for students, thanks to the support of Younis Orthodontics and the Younis Family Fund. To apply for financial aid, make a chorus audition appointment, or learn more about the Community Music program, contact Sykes at 304-876-5248 or

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