Meet John

Hello! I’m John. This is where I tell you who I am.

I’m a composer, musician, and writer. That’s a lot, I know. My career scope was just a little too broad growing up. Mainly, I consider myself a storyteller. That sounds a little posh, doesn’t it? It’s dirtier than it sounds.

John Profile

I was born on a farm in Missouri and raised a homeschooler with my two older brothers. My mom once burned dinner rolls so black that we played baseball with them in the backyard. We joked that when God gave out cooking skills, my mom was busy reading a book. She nurtured a quiet library in our basement which outgrew its borders and now spills over on bookshelves scattered across our house. I’m not sure if that’s what got me into stories—but it’s probably something to do with it. I like digging, and listening, and thinking. I like to get my hands dirty, to feel the earth, to plant life, but only if there’s someone there to do it with me.

I studied at Wayne State University in Detroit and earned a Bachelor of Music Honors in Composition and Theory with a Minor in English. Film sparked my initial interest in composing. I’ve always been fascinated with the magic of movies: the big screen, the new worlds, and the quiet perseverance of human storytelling. The film industry seemed like an amazing community of artists—and somehow music seemed to be my foot in the door. I love soundtracks, sound engineering, and everything involved in giving the pictures sound. I like to hear the scene, the dialogue, the action. And I love listening to rain falling on the roof.

John Conducts Orchestra
Me conducting orchestra.

I was also born and raised in a Christian home. I know, I’m a walking cliché. But in truth, I am a charismatic follower of Jesus. I’m crazy about the Gospels—and I think the love demonstrated through and through those texts can have a radical impact on the way we live. I’ve failed a lot, too. I’m a repentant church-goer who recognizes that we’ve screwed up. And we need help. I identify with Sarah Bessey when she said she’s a “liberal to the conservative and conservative to the liberal in matters of both religion and politics.” I also identify as a “recovering know-it-all.”

John with Big Eyes
Me with big eyes.

I live in the outskirts of Detroit, and I love the city. But I like to retreat into solitude a lot. I’ve written some concert music, some scores, and some stories. I’m trying to listen and share the stories around me—to make space for other voices in my life. I want to bang my pots and pans and holler, “there is more room for everyone, there is more room, there is room for you.

Join in! I only have three rules: listen, love, and learn.

Mahler 2 DSO WSU Choir
Find me.