John has been a judge since 2006
Bitter Jester Music Festival Judge
John Blane is a professional bass trombonist/tubist and music copyist/engraver. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University. In addition to his early years as a music educator, Blane has been most active in show and recording work over the past 25+ years in the Chicago area.
His performance credentials include the Ringling Bros. Circus, Johnny Mathis, Manhattan Transfer, Liberace, Tony Bennett, Wayne Newton, Lou Rawls, Gladys Knight, Burt Bacharach, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck, Mel Tormé, Bob Hope, Sammy Davis, Jr., Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole plus many more. He has performed in the Chicago runs of Miss Saigon, Show Boat, Beauty and the Beast, Will Roger’s Follies, Damn Yankees, The King and I, His Way, Ragtime, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, and Les Misérables.
He has been active in the recording of T.V. and radio commercials including spots for United Airlines, Miller Brewing Co., State Farm Insurance, Samsonite, McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Ameritech, Kelloggs, WBBM-TV News, among many others.
Currently, the bulk of his energies are spent doing computer-aided music preparation for publication, recording and performance. Major clients include Hal Leonard Publishing Corp., Alfred Publishing (formerly Warner Bros. Publications, Inc.), Disney, Kendor Music, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Music Theatre International, Theatrical Rights Worldwide, G. Schirmer, Inc., among others.
Some of his publishing work includes the music of Frank Mantooth, Bob Mintzer, Bill Holman, Louis Bellson, Joe Henderson and Bill Watrous as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alfred Reed, Michael Kamen, Alan Menken, and John Williams. Significant musical theater projects include composers Julie Shannon, Paul Libman, Stephen Flaherty, Eric Whitacre and Jason Robert Brown.
He is a former member of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and is currently on the faculty of The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and at the University of Illinois - Chicago where he developed and teaches a course on music notation and copying.