Returning members of the Sangamon Valley Civic Orchestra are asked to attend a short meeting with the Music Director, who would like to hear each of you play individually. This will allow him to assess each musician and the overall ensemble's playing ability so that he can better plan the season's repertoire.
New musicians interested in joining the Civic Orchestra should contact the Music Director, Matthew Sheppard at:
The Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony and Civic Orchestra is pleased to welcome our new Music Director & Conductor, Matthew G. Sheppard. Mr. Sheppard will be conducting the Youth Symphony and Civic Orchestra, as well as overseeing the artistic and educational direction of the entire organization. Mr. Sheppard resides in Urbana, IL.
Known for his passion and enthusiasm for music and education, Matthew Sheppard leads an active career as both a performer and pedagogue.
In addition to his position as Music Director of SVYS, he holds appointments as Music Director of the University Chamber Orchestra at the University of Chicago, the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company of Chicago, the Hyde Park Youth Symphony, and the UU Church of Urbana-Champaign, as well as Assistant Conductor of the Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra. As a pedagogue, he is highly regarded for his musicianship, technical ability, and scholarship and most recently presented a series of masterclasses on orchestral playing and conducting at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Asunción, Paraguay.
From 2011-13, Sheppard studied conducting at Penn State University with Gerardo Edelstein. During that time, he held appointments as Orchestra Director at Juniata College, Music Director of the State College Summer Orchestra, Assistant Conductor of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra (CPYO), and Music Director of the UU Fellowship of Centre County. In 2010, he founded the State College Summer Orchestra, a community orchestra that has since offered three years of benefit concerts. In 2013, they presented four world premieres, including a commission written for the orchestra and cello soloist Kim Cook.
Sheppard holds bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Arts, Music Education, and Music Performance from Penn State, as well as a master's degree in orchestral conducting. As a violin student of Max Zorin, he won the Jury Recognition Award three times for outstanding performance on end-of-semester playing exams and received the William M. Forrest Chamber Music Scholarship for four consecutive years. He was also the 2010 recipient of the Penn State Creative Achievement Award.
Sheppard attended conducting festivals in the Czech Republic, Chicago, Austin, and Vermont, studying under Donald Schleicher, Kirk Trevor, Kenneth Kiesler, and Peter Bay.
Diane Turek, Director of Orchestras at Normal Community West High school, has taught all levels of orchestra in Unit 5 during the past 36 years. She has always taught beginning string students throughout her career. Diane is the NCWHS music department building chair and is also a part of the Unit 5 "Instrument Exploration" recruitment team. This past January she and was a presenter at an ILMEA session in Peoria, “How to Showcase Your Orchestra through Educational Youth Concerts, with her colleague Melissa Siebenthal, which featured the combined NCWHS & NCHS Chamber Orchestras. Her orchestras have traveled to places like Toronto, New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. She will be retiring from Unit Five at the end of this school year.
In 2008 Diane was honored to receive the Illinois ASTA Outstanding School Teacher Award. She is an active clinician and adjudicator around the state. Diane, a violinist, has performed with the Illinois Wesleyan Civic Orchestra and is a member of the Topaz string quartet. She is a member of ILMEA and ASTA, where she served as membership chair for several years. Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Diane graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin La-Crosse and received her M.A. in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction from Nova Southeastern University in 2009. She resides in Bloomington, Illinois with her husband Jeff. Their son Alex resides in Austin, Texas.
Diane is looking forward to meeting everyone and is excited to be part of the SVYS faculty this upcoming year. She would like her future students to know that we’re going to have a lot of fun learning new skills and playing awesome music together.
Our instructors coach the orchestral sections, teach Starter Strings classes, and coach our chamber ensembles. We are grateful to have caring and experienced staff to work with our students. Read more about these talented people →
Musicians are required to report rehearsal absences in advance.
Orchestral and string ensembles for students in grade school through high school.
Beginning string instruction for students at local schools and home-schooled children in grades 3-6.
Open to all adults who play an orchestral instrument.