Orchestra


Orchestra Director / John Blakemore

The Symphony String Orchestra from Grand Rapids Christian High School has performed numerous times at the Midwestern Conference on Instrumental and Vocal Music.  In addition to three formal concerts, each year the orchestra performs an entire symphony and collaborates with the comined choirs in a major choral movement of a concerto with orchestral accompaniment.

The orchestra program at Grand Rapids Christian High consists of three string orchestras and a full orchestra. There are about 110 string students in a student body of 950.   The success of music at Grand Rapids Christian High is due to strong administrative and parental support and a philosophy that values music as an integral part of the schools curriculm.

Meet Director John Blakemore

John Blakemore serves as a teacher/conductor for the orchestra program at Grand Rapids Christian High School a position he has held since 1995.  He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in 1991 from Michigan State University, where he was a student of Kenneth Bloomquist.  His Master's and Bachelor's Degree's were obtained at Appalachian State University in Boone NC. Through his work at GRCHS, John was selected as Michigan Band and Orchestra Association's 2001 “Orchestra Teacher of the Year”.  

John's ensembles from GRCHS (both the Symphonic Band and orchestras) have performed multiple times at Michigan's State Music Educator's Convention. In 1999 the GRCHS Orchestra was chosen to perform at the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, IL.  In addition to his work at GRCHS Dr. Blakemore was appointed for the 2007-2008 academic year as Director of the Symphony Orchestra at Grand Valley State University, in Allendale, MI.  Prior to moving to Grand Rapids, he taught at Albion College where he led the Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, and supervised the athletic bands including “The British Eighth” marching band.   In 1990 John was selected as Albion College's “Young Professor of the Year”.  While at Albion in addition to his conducting responsibilities, he also taught conducting, music education, applied percussion, and music theory courses.  During his tenure at Albion he was also the conductor of the Battle Creek Youth Symphony and the Albion Community Band.  

Originally from North Carolina, John began his teaching career at Northwest Ashe High School in Warensville, NC.John has served on the on the State Board of the American String Teacher's Association as the Midwest Conference Coordinator.  In The Michigan Band and Orchestra Association John has served as the coordinator of the Conducting Symposium and currently chairs the Michigan Music Conference Instrumental Ensemble Selection Committee.John maintains an active schedule as an adjudicator and clinician. He has conducted  many summers at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and for two summers in the Czech Republic at the Czech Music Camp for Youth.  He has also conducted bands and orchestra's at Calvin College's Knollcrest Music Camp.  He is active as an adjudicator, clinician, and presenter at Michigan's Music Education Conventions.

Upcoming Events

GRCHS Band / Orchestra Concert: Monday, November 25, 2013 at 7:30pm

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GRCHS Band and Orchestra Concert: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 7:30pm

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The Christmas Pops: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:30pm

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