John Wagner | Percussionist

John Wagner has been playing percussion for over 50 years. At his parents’ request, John’s 3rd grade music teacher gave him a pair of drumsticks so he could learn to channel all that rhythmic energy into something constructive. And he hasn’t stopped drumming since! Following graduation from Syosset High School in Syosset, NY, John earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the Ithaca College School of Music, Ithaca, NY, and followed that with a Master’s Degree in Percussion Performance from Northwestern University in Illinois. John taught band at Suffern High School from 1980-2012, serving as music department chairman from 1999-2012.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s John played in and led society bands at venues from Catskill Hotels and bungalow colonies to Long Island catering halls. He has studied with a number of professional percussionists over the years, particularly jazz drummers, and this has added to his knowledge of and experience with a variety of musical styles. John also plays timpani with the New York Wind Symphony and traveled with them to France in 2012. He also plays timpani with the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, giving most of their concerts at Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh, NY.

In retirement, John has continued his involvement with these ensembles and plans to take advantage of other performing opportunities that may be available to him. He also plans to continue to work with serious private students and with his marimba ensemble in his Bit O’ Rhythm Percussion Studio in Suffern, NY.