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Douglas Sheldon '63 Featured in MusicalAmerica.com

Sheldon Has Been Named the New Conductor of the Orpheus Club of Philadelphia

By Paul Jones  |  Contact Paul Jones
Posted June 24, 2002
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Doug Sheldon's Other Career
By Susan Elliott
MusicalAmerica.com 
June 21, 2002 
NEW YORK - Longtime artist manager Doug Sheldon's "other" career is taking on some auspicious dimensions. On Wednesday, the Orpheus Club of Philadelphia announced that Sheldon, a senior VP at Columbia Artists Management Inc., would be its next conductor, succeeding Bud Dengler, who retired three years ago after two decades in the job. 

Orpheus is an 80-member male chorus that prides itself on being Philadelphia's oldest musical organization; its origins trace to 1872.

"They don't sell tickets," explained Sheldon in an interview yesterday. "It's a private club. Members [the singers] pay an annual fee, as do associates [their friends]. It's an all-volunteer situation, based on music and fellowship. We like to say we're a drinking club that loves to sing striving to become a singing club that loves to drink."

The amateur ensemble performs three concerts annually - in the past in the Academy of Music, now next door in Verizon Hall -- as well as a number of community outreach performances. Sheldon led two of last season's performances, including the Christmas concert, which, he says, "filled the Academy completely."

He expressed confidence that the group has major potential. "At the concert last December, one of the members grabbed me on the way off stage and said, 'We've never sung this well before.' It was a thrill for all of us to hear it all come together - really rewarding."

Orpheus sings a wide range of repertoire, some of it a cappella, from Handel and Beethoven to arrangements of Broadway songs. Members rehearse Monday evenings in the club's own, two-story facility.

Sheldon, whose CAMI clients include Anne-Sophie Mutter, Martha Argerich, and the New York Philharmonic, holds a BA from Hamilton College, where he majored in music. He worked toward a masters degree at Brown University, serving as a graduate assistant to Eric Kunzel, at the time conductor of all of Brown's various choruses and glee club. Sheldon acted as assistant conductor. He also conducted Hamilton's chorus, and now returns annually to lead the college's Alumni Reunion Choir, an all-male ensemble. He has guested with the University Glee Club of New York and recently completed his 25th year as music director for St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Perth Amboy, N.J. 

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