|John was the first Associate Director (1976-1979) and the sixth Music Director (1980-1983) of the Alexandria Harmonizers taking them to several District Chorus Championships and an International Chorus 3rd place Bronze medal in 1982 with a contest set that he arranged. He received the chapter's Oz Newgard Award in 1979 and the Harmonizer Memorial Award in 2009.
He directed several other choruses in the Northern Virginia area including the Fairfax Jubilaires, the Fredericksburg Historyland Chorus, and was the Associate Director of DC’s Singing Capital Chorus and Director of their select ensemble, Capital Assets, before moving to Florida permanently.
John was a prolific arranger of hundreds of barbershop songs, many of which have been sung for decades and will continue to be performed by quartets and choruses for years to come. He arranged the Harmonizers’ 1989 Gold medal ballad “Oh How I Miss You Tonight”, the “Harmonizer Welcome Song” which they sing to their guests each week, “A Place On The Risers”, their 1989 Gold medal ballad “Oh How I Miss You Tonight”, as well as “A Gift of Music”, “Director's Lament”, “A Chorus Line Medley”, and many, many more.
John’s talent and guidance were gifted to choruses and quartets that he coached across the District and Society for many years at HEP schools and in his living room. He was a friend, mentor and barbershop icon.
John sang in many quartets over the years, particularly two that had an extraordinarily high level of accomplishment and brought tremendous pride to our District. Though not the District-winning baritone of the NOVA Chords, he replaced Brian Rodda and then went on to earn 2 International quartet medals. As the baritone in Vaudeville (1981 M-AD Champs) he earned 5 medals including a Silver in 1985. These quartets were headliners on many chapter shows across the county, sang at numerous Mid-winter Conventions, were featured with the Harmonizers in a tribute to Perry Como at the Kennedy Center Honors, and produced several very successful vinyl recordings and cassettes that many of us still have today in our barbershop collections.
John was a certified Arrangement and Music Judge for many years. He served the Mid-Atlantic District as the Vice President for Chorus Director Development and was a valuable member of numerous committees. He was recognized for his contributions and accomplishments with membership into the District’s Honor Chapter, DELASUSQUEHUDMAC (1981), and induction into the M-AD Hall of Honor in 2002.
In tribute to John, and ironically moments before learning of his passing, the Harmonizers sang “A Place on the Riser for You” at the annual “Dog Days of August” event, a Bull Run Troubadours-organized gathering of Northern Virginia choruses and quartets, John arranged that song in 1984 and is sung as a mantra to send off members who leave the chorus (was also sung for Executive Director Hugh Ingraham on the International Stage in 1987 as he left office just before his passing).
He lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday evening, August 25th, 2015, at Holy Cross Hospital, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, at the age of 71. His nephew Rick and friend Charlie were at his bedside when he passed.
We honor his service to our District, Society, and the his many Chapters, in addition to the thousands of memories he created as a singer, director and arranger. John was a passionate musician with strong opinions. He was unabashedly honest and always offered advice and support when it was needed. Losing John is a significant loss to the Barbershop family and his memory will live on in our performances forever.
We miss you, John.