John Upton has played principal trombone in the FSO since 1986; prior to that he played bass trombone in the FSO. Other current musical endeavors include playing trombone and banjo in the Bijou Orchestra (Bay City, MI), and playing trombone in the FSO Brass Quintet. John comes from a very musical family and was first introduced to the cornet by his father, a trumpeter and founding member of the Plymouth (MI) Community Band. John switched to the trombone in middle school after hearing a prominent trombone glissando in the Blood Sweat and Tears song “Spinnin’ Wheel.”  He also played tuba in his high school marching band because, he says, it was bigger, louder and easier for his family to see from the bleachers. He is indebted to teachers and mentors including Joseph Skrzynski and Nathaniel Gurin of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and H. Dennis Smith at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor where he earned a bachelor (1986) and a master (1987) of music degree. He also holds a bachelor of biological science (1999) and a master of Physical Therapy degree (2000) from University of Michigan-Flint.  By day, John is a licensed physical therapist working in the Adrian, MI area in both hospital and outpatient clinic settings.

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Major funding for the Flint Institute of Music is provided by Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Learn more at Mott.org.