Music has been a part of Shelby Doerr’s life as long as she can remember, and playing the bass is all she ever wanted to do. Playing the bass, she does exceptionally well. All you have to do is look at the awards and accolades this Pinecrest Senior has to show for it.

They began the very first year of orchestra in sixth grade and continues right through this year. Since her freshman year, she has auditioned and made it into Eastern Regional Orchestra several times. She was even chosen her freshman year, which is a huge feat at that age.


Last year, she followed that up with being chosen for NC Honors Orchestra, and we know this is only the beginning of great things to come for this talented bassist.

When you walk in the door of her home, the large bass is the first thing that catches your eye in the front room. We pulled her away from practicing her bass for a little question and answer session.

SHS: Why the bass?

Shelby: I actually played electric bass in elementary school, and when I got to middle school they did not have an electric bass in band. The orchestra teacher told me I should play double bass in orchestra, and so I did.

SHS: What was the very first instrument you ever played?

Shelby: The recorder…of course (laughing). After that, it was the electric bass.

SHS: What is one thing you love about playing in the orchestra?

Shelby: When you play a piece you are passionate about, you can convey the emotions of the music to the audience, and you can tell they feel it too. It’s very powerful when you can feel the music on a personal level and the audience does too.

SHS: Just for fun… if you were going to play a different instrument, what would it be?

Shelby: The saxophone! You know, something jazzy. Most people would say the piano or something like that, but I like Jazz. Who knows? Maybe even singing.

SHS: So, you like Jazz?

Shelby:  I do love Jazz. Even some of the old Frank Sinatra music is jazzy, and I like to listen to it. Even in college, I want to keep my focus on classical but study jazz on the side. A secondary focus. There are some great bass players in New Orleans jazz bands!

SHS: What is your favorite classical piece?

Shelby: Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony.

SHS: So, you are a Senior at Pinecrest this year. What are your plans for college?

Shelby: I have been accepted to the University of Tennessee, and I’m going to pursue a degree in music. After that, I would like to get my Masters at Yale or maybe even Guildhall in London.

SHS: What would be your ultimate goal…..your plan A, so to speak?

Shelby: To play with a big philharmonic orchestra like the New York Philharmonic or London Philharmonic. Plan B would be to play on Broadway in the orchestras for Broadway plays or even Chicago which has a wonderful theatrical community.

SHS: Anything you want to add?

Shelby: Yes! To all the parents, teachers, leaders and everyone else, please support the arts in schools! We desperately need to protect it. Also, parents please support your kids if they are interested in band or orchestra. You can learn so much, not just about music, but in leadership and helping others. If kids can’t be in the school orchestra, then at least work to get a community orchestra put together. Music is important. My parents have been such strong supporters for me, and it made such a difference in my life.

SHS: Any last words?

Shelby: Actually, just my favorite quote, “So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning”- Aaron Copland.


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