The band program at Grand Rapids Christian High School consists of two concert bands, a jazz band, and a drum line that performans at all home football games and rehearses outside of the schoole day. The ensembles are divided by ability, with placement being determined by audition each spring. Jazz band members are selected by audition from students involved in the concert band program.
Meet Director John Blakemore
John Blakemore serves as a teacher/conductor for the Bands 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 Degrees 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 orchestra) 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. 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. 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 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 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 orchestras at Calvin College's Knollcrest Music Camp. He is an active adjudicator, clinician, and presenter at Michigan's Music Education Conventions.