Maestro Wm. Shane Williams is celebrating his 18th season as Conductor of the St. Charles County Youth Orchestras. He is a charismatic and versatile conductor, versed in wide gamut of musical styles, carrying a vision to Make Music Come Alive for All playing under his baton.
Under his direction, the Symphony was honored to perform at the Missouri Music Educators Convention in January of 2016.
His skills and gifting have allowed him conducting opportunities in the United States and abroad: the Zapadocesky Symphony Orchestra of the Czech Republic, the St. Louis Philharmonic, the Illinois Symphony, the Kirkwood Symphony, the Alton Symphony, the University City Orchestra, and the Gateway Chamber Orchestra , to name a few. Maestro Williams has had the privilege of working with Grammy Award winning violinist Mark O'Connor. Shane is a regular guest conductor, performer, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the region.
His previous conducting posts include the Alton Summer Chamber Series, the Young People's Concert Orchestra at the Webster Community Music School, the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony, Pops Conductor of the Alton Symphony and Resident Conductor of the Award-winning St. Louis Brass Band.
As a professional musician, Maestro Williams has performed with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (noted performances at Carnegie Hall), Opera Theater St. Louis, the Illinois Symphony, the Nashville Symphony, Winter Opera St. Louis, the Joffrey Ballet, Ice Capades, Moody Blues, the Elvis Show, Opryland USA , Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Burt Bacharach, Roger Williams, Dionne Warwick, Tommy Tune, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and many others.
Maestro Williams serves on the music faculty at Missouri Baptist University where he teaches conducting and oversees the instrumental programs. As an educator, Mr. Williams has taught public, private, and homeschool. In 2002, he founded the SCCYO Summer String and Woodwind Workshops and Audition Preparation Workshops (APW). As well, he has previously served on the music faculty of the Masterworks Music Festival for many years. Maestro Williams holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Austin Peay State University, a Master of Percussion Performance from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music degree in Conducting from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has completed doctoral studies at Lindenwood University.
Robert Hart Baker has been the conductor of the St. Louis Philharmonic since 1982 and is in his second year as Music Director & Conductor of the Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale in Illinois. He is Music Director Laureate of the Harrisburg Choral Society & Orchestra and the York Symphony Orchestra & Chorus in Pennsylvania and is conductor laureate of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra. He has served as a principal guest conductor with the Asheville Lyric Opera Company since 2004 and is a National Arts Associate of the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity.
His work with the York Symphony Association has earned two awards from the League of American Orchestras (Student Song Contest in 2003 and Saturday Morning Symphony in 2005). His DVD of the St. Louis Philharmonic Holiday Spectacular won the national Telly Award in 2004 for best classical local cable TV production. In addition to conducting the Cadenza orchestra as a musical staff member of SCCYO, he is currently on the faculty of Lindenwood University as Instructor of Oboe and Conducting. His performance as oboist of the Bach Concerto for Violin and Oboe with violin soloist Odin Rathnam and the York Symphony is on YouTube.
Dr. Baker holds a diploma in conducting from the Mozarteum Conservatory in Salzburg, where he studied with Herbert Von Karajan, and a BA cum laude from Harvard where he studied conducting privately with Leonard Bernstein for two years and was conductor of the Bach Society Orchestra for two seasons. He received his doctorate in orchestral conducting from Yale in 1987, where he served as an assistant to Aaron Copland and studied privately with Otto-Werner Mueller and Arthur Weisberg.
Dr. Baker has twice won the ASCAP Award for Contemporary Music Programming, once during his tenure as Conductor with the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall, and once with the York Symphony. For eleven years, he served as the Music Director of the York Youth Symphony and was named conductor laureate after successful debuts on tour to Carnegie Hall in New York and Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh. In 1999, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from York College of Pennsylvania. Robert was the founding Music Director of the Connecticut Philharmonic Orchestra at age 22, receiving critical acclaim for its debut in Boston Symphony Hall.
Kyla Herbert is a string specialist in her seventeenth year in the Hazelwood School District. A 2002 graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, her primary instruments are violin and viola, having studied under Dr. Lenora Marya-Anop. She has been the orchestra director at Hazelwood West Middle School since 2007, during which she has been selected as building teacher of the year, a guest conductor for the Hazelwood Elementary Honors Orchestra, and a guest conductor for the 2016 E. Desmond Lee Middle School Honors Orchestra. She plays professionally for church and community theater groups around the St. Louis area and was chosen in 2017 to perform in a side-by-side performance with members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. She enjoys making hand-crafted items for friends and family and spending time with her niece and nephews.