Shep Arts Fest: New festival to feature Shepherd University College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, family fun | News, Sports, Jobs

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The Shep Arts Fest will be held at Sam Michael’s Park in Harpers Ferry. Toni Milbourne

SHEPHERDSTOWN — With warm weather and partly cloudy skies predicted for Saturday, Sam Michael’s Park is set to become the home to a new, free community festival.

The first annual Shep Arts Fest will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on the park’s grounds, featuring an afternoon of family-friendly, fun activities. The activities will feature a variety of groups and individuals connected with the festival’s sponsor, the Shepherd University College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

According to the dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, attendees can anticipate the spirit of the festival feeling like a celebration.

“We are excited to offer this festival in partnership with Jefferson County Parks & Recreation,” Tudor said. “This idea came to us during a very difficult time in the spring of 2021, when I and my musician colleagues longed for a way to gather with friends and make music and art with live audiences. We returned to the idea late last fall, and it grew from a concert to a multi-disciplinary arts festival, where folks could relax and enjoy entertainment and create art.”

According to Tudor, the festival will include music and dramatic performances at The Amp at Sam Michaels Park, the park’s amphitheater, as well as hands-on activities for attendees of all ages at various locations throughout the park. The capstone musical performance of the festival, following performances by Shepherd’s youth chorus and jazz and wind ensembles, will be the Masterworks Chorale, presenting Charpentier’s “Te Deum” and Durufle’s “Requiem.”

“It’s so exciting to finally be able to perform again after all of this time!” said Masterworks Chorale Director and Shepherd University Director of Choral Activities Rachel Carlson said, referring to the fact that this will be the first time the chorale will be performing, since its last concert in Dec. 2019, due to concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic. “It’s nice to finally be able to be together as an ensemble again and be able to perform a concert for a live audience!

“I’ve never performed at The Amp before, but I think it’s going to be a really nice venue, where people can come and bring their families and bring a picnic and sit out on the grass,” Carlson said. “I think it’ll be a really nice concert! And I think the entire festival will be an exciting event, with all of the performances from around the campus taking place, involving a variety of musical disciplines, the theater department and the English department.”

Nonconcert performances at the festival will include: student writers reading selections from “Sans Merci,” Shepherd’s student-run creative journal; the Rude Mechanicals Medieval and Renaissance Players acting troupe performing scenes from “Romeo and Juliet”; and students from the Shepherd University School of Music and theater program performing scenes from “Motown: Music from the Motor City,” which was an original musical production premiered on April 8-10 in the Marinoff Theater.

“We’re trying to showcase many of the groups that we have on campus, in a way that we have never really been able to do before,” Carlson said, mentioning that the various performances and activities are geared toward a wide variety of ages, from adults to young children.

Outside of The Amp performances, Shepherd students, faculty and staff will offer music and theater play spaces. The public can participate in activities, such as a visual journal collaborative art project, flash writing workshops, music play space and theatrical makeup and basic improvisation sessions.

Shepherd’s beloved ram mascot, J.C., will also be available for photos and head scratches at the festival.

“I’m just really excited to see everyone!” Carlson said. “I hope that people come out and spend some time at the Shep Arts Fest, and take advantage of all that we have to offer! I think it’s going to be a really good time.”

The festival will include onsite vendors, selling food and beverages. Shepherd University academic advisors will also be onsite to answer questions about the university’s programs for prospective students.

Sam Michaels Park offers plenty of free parking. Attendees are encouraged to bring outdoor seating, such as folding chairs or blankets, to listen to the performances at the amphitheater.

For a schedule of the day’s events, visit https://www.shepherd.edu/arts-and-humanities/shep-arts-fest-2022.


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