John builds on the strengths of each player and forms groups carefully, taking each student’s age, interests, personality, and abilities into consideration. He is confident he can find a spot for nearly every student that has an interest in playing, and encourages all of his groups to participate in live performances as culminating points for each year. He believes that the ensembles develop a life-long love of music and represent an experience students can look back on even if they don’t continue playing.
BMS Ensembles Coordinator John Purcell has been a devoted faculty member since 1983. John taught saxophone until his ensembles gained more and more popularity around 1996, at which time he decided to devote himself exclusively to the ensemble program. The ensembles mainly play popular rock or jazz songs, while incorporating original music from students. John arranges all the songs and chooses material or arrange in such a way that plays on the strengths of each individual.
John is a saxophone and clarinet teacher by profession, and he plays bass or guitar in all of the ensembles in the BMS program. John finds numerous opportunities for his groups to perform live. He led the tradition of a jazz/rock spring concert at BMS starting in 2007 with a tribute concert of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, followed by five additional Rock concerts. He has also hosted events including two Beatles Open Sing productions, and his ensemble students are regularly featured over two days of performances at the bi-annual BMS Rocks Roggie’s event at Roggie’s Brew & Grille in Brighton.