Joy Shepherd visited Casa Romantica in early 2016 to consider the venue as the location for her husband’s 100th birthday celebration. Although it was quite possibly the stormiest day of the year, Joy was true to her name, remarking, “If it looks this beautiful during this weather, it must be breathtaking when the sun is out.”
She brought her husband Berisford, who is known to the world as “Shep” Shepherd, back a few days later when the storm had passed and the sun was shining. The story of Joy and Shep proves that it is never too late for love – and also how memorable the beauty of Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens is.
Shep is a musician, arranger, and composer who has spent most of his life traveling and performing with hundreds of other world-renowned musicians. He has played drums for accomplished bandleaders Benny Carter and Cab Calloway, and has performed with Patti Page, Lionel Hampton, and Artie Shaw. He also spent many years traveling with the Broadway show “Miracle on 34th Street”- doubling as a musician and an actor.
Shep settled in San Clemente more than a decade ago. On his 90th birthday, his friends brought an extra guest to dinner, Joy, who was visiting from Indiana at the time.
“He was dynamic,” Joy recalls. “It felt like we had known each other our whole lives.”
At the end of the evening, Shep kissed Joy goodnight and said “I’ll be seeing you.” He spent the next several months chasing, as he says it, “The ‘Joy’ of my life.” They married one year later on Shep’s 91st birthday.
They agree that finding love later in life has made things easier. The distractions of raising children and pursuing a career are over, and now they focus on each other. Anyone who meets them can feel the warmth and love they share just by being in their presence.
The home they now share overlooks Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens as well as the Pacific Ocean. Shep still composes from his keyboard in their living room, and Joy is no doubt his biggest fan. The pair often sits on their balcony to watch the sunset, or to listen to the music that resonates from Casa Romantica performances and recitals throughout the year.
Joy and Shep will host Shep’s 100th birthday at Casa Romantica in January 2017. They have invited over 100 friends and family members to celebrate, many of whom are famous musicians flying in from all over the country. Casa Romantica expects that many a dancing shoe will be donned for Shep’s soiree, and there is no doubt that it will be one of the venue’s best-loved private events.