Hidden from small

Shelley Showers - Behind the Scenes

November 20, 2019

Each month in the Orchestra’s Playbill, we feature one musician in a question-and-answer segment. Below is that feature in its entirety.

Where were you born? I was born in Reading, PA, but spent most of my childhood in Lancaster.

What piece of music could you hear over and over again? There are so many great pieces but two come to mind. I enjoy playing Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances with its rhythmic vitality and lush melodies, especially knowing that Rachmaninoff wrote this glorious piece for The Philadelphia Orchestra. I also enjoy playing Brahms’s Symphony No. 3 because he wrote so idiomatically for the horn, and even my pet rabbit would come running to hear it.

What is your most treasured possession? I don’t value possessions but rather treasure family and friends and my relationships with them.

What’s your favorite Philadelphia restaurant? I enjoy Max Brenner’s for the ultimate indulgent chocolate experience.

Tell us about your instrument. I play a number of different makes of horns. Now, more than ever, there are many horn builders, and I am always trying new horns and related equipment to determine what works best in our orchestra. Most often I play a horn made by Canadian Keith Berg.

What’s in your instrument case? Hopefully my horn! Also a chamois, pencil and eraser, ear plugs, and an index card with my name, address, phone numbers, and e-mail for identification. 

If you could ask one composer one question what would it be? I would ask Brahms why he wrote only four symphonies. His music is so well written for the horn, and I wish he had written more symphonies.

What piece of music never fails to move you? The Brahms Requiem.

When did you join the Orchestra? In 1997.

Do you play any instruments? I started playing horn in the fourth grade and my teacher had me switch to baritone horn for three years due to getting braces on my teeth. The larger mouthpiece of the baritone horn enabled me to continue to play a brass instrument even with braces.

What’s your favorite type of food? I enjoy many types of food, and I always look forward to sampling varied cuisines on our tours to different countries.

What books are on your nightstand? The Bible and Our Daily Bread Devotional. 

Do you speak any other languages? Yes, Spanish.

Do you have any hobbies? I enjoy playing chamber music, dancing, exercising at the gym, photography, and many outdoor activities including horseback riding, windsurfing, and gardening. I was a competitive swimmer and gymnast throughout my school years.

Do you have a favorite movie? My new favorite movie is Hidden Figures. It is a phenomenal movie and the best I have seen in a long time.

When was the first time you heard The Philadelphia Orchestra? I remember going with my classmates from Lancaster to a Philadelphia Orchestra concert when I was young. I dreamed of one day playing in the Orchestra.

Other than Verizon Hall, where is your favorite place to perform? Carnegie Hall, but I also enjoy playing at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Musikverein in Vienna, and I still enjoy playing at the Academy of Music.

Photo by Richard Blinkoff