Ellen Jacobs

I was born in New York City, and grew up in Queens. Music and art were a big part of my life from an early age, and the family often went to concerts and museums. My parents loved the city and we did much exploring. I was a city person for a long time, but also yearned for open green spaces and a slower pace. I also have been fascinated by intentional communities for much of my life, and loved reading about the history of these communities.

I’ve played the violin since I was very young, and that has been my joy for most of my life. In college I chose to study art, and I went on to teach art for several years. Music called me back and I became very active in the world of folk music. I moved to D.C. and performed as a dance fiddler for over 30 years, mostly playing for contra dances at ‪Glen Echo Park and other venues including the Shepherdstown Men’s Club. I have earned my living teaching violin and fiddling styles to children and adults, in recent years at my studio in Ellicott City, MD. I believe music transforms lives and is essential food for the body and soul.

My other passion is the healing arts and mind/body medicine. I am immersed in the world of holistic health, energy medicine, movement, Chinese medicine, and alternative forms of healing. I am trained as a therapeutic musician and have played my violin for hospice patients and nursing home residents. I also am trained in Reiki and other forms of energy medicine and sound healing as well, and I enjoy practicing and studying QiGong. I look forward to sharing these offerings with the community.

Over the years, John and I have visited friends in Shepherdstown, coming out to dance and attend concerts and plays and enjoy the town. We are thrilled to be part of the Shepherd Village community and look forward to weaving nourishing connections, learning about our neighbors and enjoying life together. I am looking forward to fiddling on our front porch, and invite you to come listen and play.

John Spears

Once upon a time I heard of a legendary realm, off to the west across the Shenandoah. Some said it was called Shangri-La, others, Shepherd Village, a peaceable community of both retreat and engagement, learning and commitment, ambition, beauty and mud. Though I doubted its existence at first, I soon became a believer.

I had lived a relatively risk-free existence since my adventures in Africa with a motorcycle back in the 70’s. I thought it was time for a little risk– a risk that was not, perhaps, so risky after all. Call me crazy, but these people seem wonderful. Honest, thoughtful, talented, perhaps too good to be true, but just maybe the kind of people I want to spend the rest of my life with. That promise seems worth the risk.

As for my life: enduring passion for history (to the extent of earning a PhD, no less); multiple jobs, some failed, others surprisingly successful, in academics, banking, computer sales, and finally, data/research consulting, in a human services branch of Maryland state government; prior marriage of almost 30 years that produced 2 happy children, now with beloved partners; current passionate relationship and marriage of 17 years. Fun: reading and teaching Big History as a way of furthering understanding of the human success and current dilemma, plus community theater, singing, the outdoors and tennis.