A violinist joins the all-time list of longest serving players

We have just updated the ultimate list with news of the retirement of June Shipper, after 52 years, from the second violins of the Waco Symphony Orchestra. Her first rehearsal was on the afternoon of President Kennedy’s assassination. We wish June a long and happy retirement.

june shipper

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  • The late Ronald Phillips should be added to your list. He joined the Seattle Symphony’s clarinet section in 1927 under conductor Harry Spargur, and retired in 1983 after playing a highly creditable Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the orchestra under Gerard Schwarz. Most of those 56 years were in the principal’s chair. During that period he was commended by Sir Thomas Beecham (also for the Mozart concerto) and by George Gershwin (with whom he played the opening clarinet glissando in “Rhapsody in Blue”).

  • I have played in the Waco symphony for many years, and sat with June for 3 seasons. She is truly one of my favorite people. in addition to her estimable musical contributions, she always brought a very sharp sense of humor and some truly awesome sparkly pencils to rehearsal . The Waco symphony is not going to be the same without her.

  • Congrats to anyone performing for so long! But it’s unclear what the status of the orchestra is — Andrew, can you clarify? Ms. Shipper is not listed as an AFM member on its website, and the Waco Symphony is neither an ICSOM nor a ROPA orchestra. Not that this really matters given Ms. Shipper’s accomplishment! But if it’s an amateur or semi-pro orchestra, the announcement seems a bit breathless. Still, enjoy your retirement, and make sure they get you subbing on Yo-Yo Ma’s concert! Brava!

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