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Community orchestra, chorus auditions scheduled August 30 and September 6

ISSUED: 15 August 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The Shepherd University Community Music Program has scheduled auditions for its Community Orchestra, Junior Strings Ensemble, and Youth Chorus.

Orchestra, string ensemble auditions

Auditions for the Shepherd Community Orchestra, formerly the Shepherd Preparatory Orchestra, and the Junior Strings Ensemble will take place Wednesday, August 30, at 6 p.m. at the Frank Center McCoy Rehearsal Hall. Auditions are open to area middle and high school-age musicians and community members who play violin, viola, cello, and bass.

Violin and viola players will audition between 6-6:45 p.m. and cello and bass players will audition between 6:45-7:30 p.m. Those auditioning should come prepared to sight read and perform 2-3 octaves scales and a prepared piece of music. It is recommended that musicians arrive no earlier than one-half hour before auditions begin. The orchestra will meet every Wednesday from 7:30-9 p.m. for rehearsals September 6-December 13, when a final concert will take place. Tuition for the semester is $125.

The Shepherd Community Orchestra and Junior Strings Ensemble are made up of middle and high school string students from Jefferson and Berkeley counties, and Washington County, Maryland. Shepherd music faculty string coaches are Heather Austin-Stone, violin; Dr. Jeannine Sturm, violin; Kathy Shrader, viola; and Camilo Perez-Mejia, cello. String, wind, and percussion students from Shepherd University also participate in the orchestra.

For the 2017-18 season, Sturm will serve as co-conductor of the orchestra, along with Shepherd’s Dr. Scott Hippensteel, associate professor of music and director of instrumental studies. Sturm has been teaching strings in Berkeley County Schools since January 2013. She currently serves as the historian for the West Virginia Music Educators Association and is also the current president of the West Virginia String Teachers Association. As a performer, Sturm has served as principal viola in the Hofstra Opera Orchestra and Hofstra Symphony Orchestra, as well as co-principal viola and as principal 2nd violin of the CW Post Symphony Orchestra. Locally, she has performed with the Charles Washington Symphony Orchestra in Charles Town.

Chorus auditions

Auditions for the Shepherd Youth Chorus, formerly known as the Shepherd Preparatory Chorus, will be Wednesday, September 6, at 5 p.m. in the Frank Center’s Pantle Education Room. During the auditions, students in grades 3-8 will sing a song of their choosing and will be instructed in matching pitches on the piano. Auditions are on a first-come, first-served basis. The Shepherd Youth Chorus will meet every Wednesday from 6:10-7:30 p.m. for rehearsals September 13-December 13, when a final concert will take place. Tuition for the semester is $125.

Celebrating his 10th season as director of the chorus, Dr. David Gonzol, Shepherd professor of music education, has taught in public schools in Pennsylvania and Idaho, and at colleges and universities in those states as well as in Maryland and Minnesota. Gonzol frequently gives presentations to chapters as well as state, regional, and national conferences of the Organization of American Kodaly Educators and the American Orff Schulwerk Association. He has directed school and church choirs, including at choral festivals in West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia. He is the founder of the Shepherd Youth Chorus and the Shepherd University Kodaly-Orff Ensemble. In 2005, Schott published a collection of his Orff arrangements, “Round the Corner and Away We Go.”

Scholarships for youth are available for each ensemble thanks to a donation from Younis Orthodontics. For more information, contact Sherry Sykes, coordinator for community music at Shepherd, at 304-876-5248 or

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