Editor’s Note: This is the 398th in a series of articles recalling missing Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON – Jane Shepherd (1918-1984) was born Flora Jane Boedeker in Murray, Nebraska.
At the age of 7, she began piano training which would lead her to an associate’s degree at William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri; a Diploma in Piano Performance from the American Conservatory of Fontainebleau, France; and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
Encouraged to begin vocal training, she completed four years at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, culminating in a concert at Town Hall in New York in 1946. Her career as a mezzo-soprano launched, she took the stage name by Jane Hobson, her grandmother’s name, and has toured extensively, performing with most of the country’s major orchestras.
She has sung with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leopold Stokowski at Carnegie Hall, the NBC Symphony with Arturo Toscanini and the Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of George Szell.
After her marriage to interior designer Robert Shepherd in 1950, she moved to Huntington, where she shared her musical gift with her adopted hometown. She taught privately, hosted a local classical music radio show, and in 1958 joined the faculty of Marshall College (now the University), where she coached many singing students until her graduation. retired as music teacher and artist in residence in 1983.
She was one of the founders of the Huntington Chamber Orchestra and helped the late Mrs. Walker Long organize and present the Huntington auditions for the Metropolitan Opera.
Upon her retirement from Marshall, she said she was retiring from teaching but would never retire from singing.