About Shenandoah Run
Shenandoah Run is an eight-member folk ensemble from the Washington, DC area. Formed in 2011, the band performs traditional and contemporary folk music in a manner that delights a diverse mix of music lovers of all ages.
SR showcases the spirited sounds of Americana, along with the occasional country or bluegrass tune, and delivers a rousing mix of music and styles. The members' vocal and instrumental savvy, coupled with a strong desire to keep folk music alive and fresh, are key to the group’s success.
Meet the Members
Bob Melissinos - Guitar and Vocals
As a folk musician in New York in the 1960s, Bob has shared stages with the likes of Cass Elliot (The Mamas and the Papas), The Highwaymen, and Robert Guillaume. As a member of The Coachmen and other groups, he performed at the 1964 World's Fair, The Bitter End, other Greenwich Village clubs, and numerous colleges and universities. His vision is for folk music to once again have a major presence in the American music scene. He founded Shenandoah Run in pursuit of that vision.
John Werntz - Bass
John was born with a bass in his hands and has mastered the art of folk bass playing. When he’s not busy with Shenandoah Run you will find him playing bass and singing with other folk, Irish, Americana, and bluegrass musicians in the DC area.
Renee Moyer, Vocals and Percussion
Renée grew up in Northern Virginia, graduating from McLean High School and George Mason University, where she earned her BA in Theatre Arts. For more than thirty years, she performed with area theatre groups, such as Trinity Players, Springfield Community Theatre, and The Arlington Players, and starred in such roles as Guinevere in Camelot and Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore. For two years, she performed with Roger Henderson, guitar virtuoso and talented songwriter. After a brief hiatus from performing, Renee is delighted to be back on stage
Jim Thorne - Guitar, Flute and Vocals
Jim was raised in a small college town in Pennsylvania and took an early interest in music and space science. Through the years, he learned to play piano, guitar, banjo, trombone, jazz flute and mandolin. Jim was inspired as a youngster by the Apollo moon landings and made a career in the space business, eventually becoming a combination of astronautical engineer, TV show host and singer/songwriter with two commercial albums of original story songs to teach concepts about space to elementary students. Jim hosts and produces a Telly Award-winning TV show called Space Quest with
Dr. Jim on YouTube and public access TV. See www.jimthornemusic.com for more information.
Joe Dickey - Banjo
Joe started playing banjo in college when his roommate said, "Don't touch my banjo while I'm gone." The holder of a physics PhD, he's given talks on banjo acoustics to academic audiences. He performed for almost 20 years with Crabgrass, an Annapolis-based bluegrass group. He is also a woodturner and keeper of an American Chestnut restoration orchard.
Jill Nelson - Vocals, Guitar and Percussion
Jill grew up singing with her family, the von Brudvig Family Singers! Well, that's not a real group name, though we could all eight carry a tune, and we did, as we traveled around Europe in the 60s and 70s in our VW Bus (think Army brat). Jill added guitar and piano to her repertoire, thanks to her talented older sisters and music lessons. She has sung in school choirs, church choirs, her elementary school classroom, and most recently in a church band called Gentle PersUUasion, which made the UU circuit around the Northern Virginia area over the last several years.
Leslie Smile Hoyle - Fiddle
Leslie began her musical studies in Cincinnati, Ohio, participating in over a dozen youth orchestras, small ensembles, and other freelance groups and continued her musical pursuits at The Ohio State University and at The University of Maryland. Leslie has since taught for the University of Maryland, Animato, and Music Kids Suzuki Violin Programs, and she currently heads the Academy of Fine Arts Suzuki Violin Program. Since 2005 Leslie has also explored the world of folk music, performing with the groups Kensington Station and Kensington Depot. When not otherwise “fiddling around” Leslie enjoys volunteering as a trail guide at Secret Passage Ranch and Misty Manor Riding Stables.
Ben Hamblin – Guitar and Vocals
Ben loved to sing from an early age, and began playing guitar and accompanying himself when
he was a young teenager. He’s played solo, in a duo, and in a rock band. After moving to
Northern Virginia he discovered The Reston/Herndon Folk Club and is currently its president.
He enjoys trying to play a variety of musical genres.