Shelby Eaton

Principal Second Violin

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Ms. Eaton has been involved in music since she can remember. A toy piano at the age of 3 was a treasured gift and by the time her 3rd grade music teacher brought stringed instruments into the classroom, the young Ms. Eaton knew the violin was for her!

Continuing in the school music program through high school, she was instructed by music teachers Joe Bynum and Joy Perry. Later, she had the opportunity to perform with the Everett Symphony Orchestra for several concerts. While attending the University of Washington, she participated in the University Symphony Orchestra, eventually becoming Assistant Principal Second Violin. She studied briefly with Paul Culbertson, and also studied classical voice with Margaret Berry. Majoring in Math, Ms. Eaton received a BS in Mathematics with a minor in Music History and Theory.

Ms. Eaton is a founding member of the Redmond Chamber Ensemble, a local string and piano ensemble that conducts weekly informal reading sessions. She has played locally with many groups including the Seattle Symphony’s Pacific Northwest Community Orchestra. She also plays regularly with informal groups of musicians at Norse Home and other venues around the Northwest. Ms. Eaton has participated in events as diverse as a fundraising performance of Mozart's Requiem in September 2011 to Bach Day in 2015.

A member of Mu Phi Epsilon International Professional Music Fraternity, Ms. Eaton has served as a board member locally and committee member internationally.

Ms. Eaton is the Principal Second Violin for both the Kirkland Civic Orchestra (formerly the Microsoft Orchestra) and the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra, and continues to perform regularly with other groups in the area.


The principal is generally responsible for leading the section and playing orchestral solos.

Second Violin Section

Photograph of a violin

There are more violins in the orchestra than any other instrument. The violins are divided into two sections: the first violins and the second violins. These two sections normally play different parts during the performance of a work. The first violin section usually plays the higher part or the melody. The second violin section usually plays the lower part or the harmony. These two sections are the most important sections in the orchestra.


The strings of a modern symphony orchestra make up the largest family of instruments in the orchestra. This family is made up of five sections consisting of first violins, second violins, violas, cellos and basses.