Violinist John Schertz first began playing with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra in the early 1970s under Conductor William Boyer his Dallas-area commitments forced him to “take a leave” until 2005 when he resumed playing under Dr. Candler Schaffer and now under Fouad Fakhouri.
John grew up in San Antonio, but he has been in the North Texas area since his college days. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin are from the University of North Texas. While at UNT, he played with the Fort Worth Symphony. For 17 years he taught orchestra/strings in Dallas ISD.
He also earned an associate degree in Information Technology from El Centro, Dallas, then entered the business world as a programmer/analyst, working for several large banks and insurance companies. This past June he retired from BlueCross Blue Shield of Texas.
For a number of years, he was a freelancer, performing with the Lenny Dawson Orchestra and for 10 years as a member of the Dallas Strolling Strings, which performed nightly at the Dallas Anatole. He has also played with the symphonies of Sherman, Richardson, Plano and Tyler. Currently he plays only with the WFSO.
One of his vivid music memories occurred when he was in high school and attended a San Antonio Symphony concert watching Aaron Copland conduct his Appalachian Spring—then went backstage where Copland signed his program. “He was so kind and seemed interested as I expressed my hope that the San Antonio Youth Symphony would perform his work. His second memory is singing Christmas carols (in German) in a small church in Germany on Christmas Eve and then the next day walking into a beautiful church with amazing acoustics and listening to several movements of the Bach Christmas Oratorio performed by a wonderful choir and orchestra.
John says the WFSO has had many great performances with world-class soloists, but guitarist Sharon Isbin’s visits are standouts due to her wonderful musicality and beautiful personality.
Mozart is his favorite composer, but he has always loved the Beatles.
As a young child, he listened to an aunt’s records of Broadway musicals and Strauss waltzes then discovered Mantovani and Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, which opened to him the world of classical music. While other kids were blasting out rock ‘n’ roll, he was blasting out Beethoven and Bach. He began playing violin in the 6th grade and immediately began private lessons.
In addition to music, John likes to spend time at the gym and reading. Recently he took a road trip to Santa Fe and Taos to absorb some of the artistic and spiritual atmosphere. The household also has two “very spoiled rescue dogs” who somehow prefer to sleep while John is practicing.
John states: “… I’ve appreciated the Wichita Falls community support for the arts and particularly the symphony and school string programs. It’s been wonderful seeing this commitment grow and mature over the years, and it makes me happy knowing that I’m contributing to this spirit in some small way each time I play with the WFSO.
Thanks to the Wichita Symphony League for sharing their “Musician Spotlight”!