Mt. San Jacinto Community Orchestra delivers holiday bill of fare

Community Orchestra combines MSJC students and community members

Photos by Dennis Fletcher
Sue Campbell is a community member who is Principal in the cello section that also includes Jayne Davis, Aaron Jordan, and Barbara Pelham.

■ Sue Campbell and Dennis Fletcher / Contributed

On Dec. 3, the Community Orchestra in the Music Department of the San Jacinto Campus of Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) under the direction of Dr. Vanessa Sheldon, Chair of the department, entertained an enthusiastic audience to the strains of a variety of different holiday music to brighten the season.
The program was divided into two parts.

• The first part consisted of:
• A Christmas Canon
• Two Moods of Hanukkah
• Fantasia on “Greensleeves”
• The Second Movement of Beethoven Symphony Number 6

After intermission, the second part of the program entertained listeners with holiday selections played by the Inland Valley Youth Orchestra, directed by Anna Ancheta. The program finished with the Youth Orchestra musicians joining the College Orchestra for more Christmas and Hanukkah holiday selections.
Inland Valley Youth Orchestra is a local non-profit program which offers low and no cost string instrument training to youths of all ages in Hemet, San Jacinto, and Idyllwild. For more information, contact Anna Ancheta at

The Orchestra at the San Jacinto Campus of MSJC delivered their program of holiday music recently under the baton of Music Department Chair and international harpist Dr. Vanessa Sheldon.

We asked Sue Campbell, principal cellist and community member of the MSJC Orchestra, to describe her experience with the ensemble:
“I joined the orchestra nine years ago, when I moved to the Hemet/San Jacinto area after retiring from a teaching career in Long Beach. A friend encouraged me to join the orchestra, and it has become a very rewarding and important part of my life. The opportunity to play music with musicians who have become my friends, has given me a special bond with the community. It has opened exciting and fulfilling new experiences in my life. I am so thankful that I can continue to play music right here in my local community.”
“The MSJC Orchestra is a great place for community members who play an instrument, and for those who may have played an instrument in the past, but put it in the ‘closet’ for several years. The orchestra is a safe and supportive place to play your instrument, learn new skills, and meet new friends. It is a ‘teaching’ orchestra, which welcomes community musicians 16 years and older, with intermediate-level skills. Community musicians can join the orchestra at no cost. MSJC student members of the orchestra pay regular tuition fees and receive college credit. High school students in our immediate area may also enroll for college credit.”
Campbell concluded, “The Spring Semester begins January 14, 2019. The Orchestra meets Mondays at 6 p.m. in Music Building 1600 on the MSJC San Jacinto Campus. If you want to join the orchestra, you can register during the initial class meeting on Jan 14. Just bring your instrument and join the musical fun!”
Community musicians are also eligible to join the MSJC Concert Band and the MSJC Jazz Band which also meet on the San Jacinto Campus. For more information about the community music programs at the San Jacinto Campus, email Dr. Vanessa Sheldon at
The Community Orchestra will return on Sunday, March 3 at 3 p.m. with a concert featuring the Boieldieu Harp Concerto with soloist Dr. Vanessa Sheldon. The orchestra will conclude the season with their Spring Concert on May 13 at 7 p.m. featuring the Grieg Piano Concerto with guest soloist Daniel del Pino, visiting from Spain.
Tickets prices: adults are $6, senior/vets are $5, students are $4, and anyone under 12 are free.
The schedule of future music events at the San Jacinto Campus of MSJC is located at

Sue Campbell also contributed to this story and is a resident of Hemet who has been playing music for over 50 years. Dennis Fletcher is a resident of San Jacinto who played trombone in his junior high school band.

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