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Community Music to present December 11 concert

ISSUED: 25 November 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The Shepherd University Community Music program announces a concert by the Shepherd Community Orchestra, Junior String Ensemble, and Shepherd Youth Chorus at the Frank Center Theater on Wednesday, December 11, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 and free for Shepherd students with a valid Rambler ID. Tickets can be purchased at the box office 30 minutes prior to the concert.

The Junior String Ensemble, made up of string players in third grade through middle school and under the direction of Shepherd alumna Renee Shaw Nutwell, will perform “Skaters Waltz” by Émile Waldteufel; the traditional song “Make New Friends”; and “Amazing Grace,” arranged by Renata Bratt.

The Shepherd Youth Chorus, directed by Dr. David Gonzol, and assistant director Angela Weaver, is celebrating its 12th season this year. Founded in 2008 by Gonzol, director of music education, the membership is made up of male and female vocalists in grades three to eight. This will be Gonzol’s last season as director before his retirement from Shepherd in May 2020.

Each season the chorus has sung a national song, including anthems from Austria, Australia, France, Taiwan, and America—each in its original language. This fall the chorus will sing the Swedish national anthem, “Du gamla, du fria.” The Shepherd Youth Chorus will also sing “Ding Dong, the Bells Do Ring,” a round from volume I of the original Musik für Kinder which includes glockenspiels, xylophones, and contra bass bars. And from Gonzol’s “Round the Corner,” the students will play Orff percussion instruments to accompany the chorus singing his arrangement of the folk song “Hanging Out the Linen Clothes.”

The Shepherd Community Orchestra, directed by Shepherd Camilo Pérez-Mejía, ajdunct music professor, will perform the second half of the evening’s program. The orchestra is made up of advanced middle and high school string students and community members from Jefferson and Berkeley counties and Washington County, Maryland, as well as Shepherd music students. The Shepherd Orchestra will perform Aaron Copland’s “Variations on a Shaker Hymn,” from “Appalachian Spring”; Arturo Márquez, “Danzón N. 2”; Petronio Alvarez (arr. L. Tamayo), “Mi Buenaventura”; Aldemaro Romero, “Fuga con Pajarillo”; Antonio Carlos Jobim, “Chega de Saudade”; and Clare Grundman’s “Midnight Beguine.”

Pérez-Mejía is a faculty member at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, Saint James School, and Ellsworth Music and is the founding music director of the Charles Washington Symphony Orchestra. Coaches for the community orchestra include Heather Austin-Stone, assistant concert master with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and concertmaster of the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra; Renee Shaw Nutwell, alumna of Shepherd and instructor in the Community Music division; Kathy Shrader, orchestra director at North Hagerstown High School; and Brian Lange, music teacher at Spring Mills High School.

The Community Music program at Shepherd thanks Younis Orthodontics and the Younis family for providing an annual donation to help fund financial aid for these ensembles. Additional thanks to the Judy Rand and Friends Scholarship Fund for Strings, which supports 10 members of the Shepherd Community Orchestra and Junior String Ensemble this fall for private lessons at Shepherd.

For more information, contact Sherry Sykes, coordinator of the Community Music program, at or 304-876-5248.

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