Our newest addition is a Nevada native who grew up in Las Vegas. After graduating from Chaparral HS he enlisted and spent 16 years in the Nevada National Guard, where he specialized in tanks and was also a medic.
Like many of us, even while in high school he worked at Burger King part-time. In his case, he went on to
management and it became a career for him, eventually leading him to Colorado as a part-owner. When that business was sold in the mid-90s he took some time off, helping his brother open a restaurant and eventually moving back to Vegas. When the opportunity came to manage the Wendy’s at the Pilot Truck Stop in Fernley, he came up to our neck of the woods and has been here ever since. He now works for McDonalds, managing the IT network, training and personnel for several stores in Reno, Fernley and Lake Tahoe.
John’s parents are also from Nevada, and at one point they were in Virginia City many years ago. The Bucket of Blood Saloon was selling their original piano, a huge upright built in the 1800s. They brought it home, and as his mother played young John as a toddler loved feeling the vibration as the tunes poured through the big upright. He studied piano even before Grade School.
While in grade school he learned clarinet and carried that on through Jr High. He was in the marching band, but when a broken leg kept him from marching he turned to the choir, first doing piano accompaniment and later singing.
At that time Disneyland, at Christmas, would do a “Thousand Voice Processional”, and John was one of them on more than one occasion. They would start at the back end of the park and walk through, singing altogether about 15 songs (which they all had to learn on their own before they got there. Kind of like Brigade). Once they arrived at Main Street they would mount a huge set of risers and sing along with celebrities such as Pat Boone. I know I would cherish that experience!
For many years after high school music took a back seat to career, Guard and family. John has three grown children from his first marriage. Later he met and married Brenda, and they produced three of their own.
Recently when one of his children was performing in the choir at Fernley High, he noticed that Jason Smith, the director, was playing piano and directing at the same time. Figuring he could use some help, John volunteered to play the piano so Jason could focus on directing. After doing this for a while, he found he really wanted to sing again. He asked Jason about any musical groups he might look into, and Jason recommended the Silver Dollar Chorus.
John recently turned 50 (on Christmas!). He had an early bout with Crohn’s Disease, a painful intestinal disorder. It has now been in remission for several years, but the experience left him with a tremendous love of life.
We are glad he now brings that love of life to our chorus. Welcome John!