Jack is a life-long learner and author who freely admits to having too many irons in the fire! He has a strong background in music and performance, and an insatiable appetite for applying Reality-Based Thinking to the societies in which we live.
Jack Pelham was raised in North Florida where his earliest musical adventures included singing with the family and learning “all three” chords on the family ukelele. By the time he was done with high school, Jack had become something of the musical “overachiever”, learning trombone, clarinet, bass clarinet, guitar, and improvisational piano. He had also participated in various choral groups, excelled in sight reading, played a part in his school’s first-ever musical, and even wrote a (not-too-bad-for-a-first-stab) march for his high school band.
Jack went on to study music at Florida State University where he admits that he studied extensively over a period of several unfocused years. The way Jack tells it is, “I crammed my four-year degree into seventeen years!” Yes, it seems funny now! At the time, however…
But we digress. Along the way, even though Jack was uncertain in his early collegiate career, he would become quite the musician and teacher as well. At FSU, he studied under several noteworthy professors and would, in time, put it all together into a robust educational foundation. His early uncertainty yielded an eventual benefit in that it led to a heavy emphasis in both instrumental and choral music education, with principal instruments of both trombone and voice. It also put him finishing college in his thirties, where he noted he seemed to have a great deal more interest in the course material than most of his fellow students.
Jack graduated from FSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music in 2000, and would go on to teach voice privately, as well as to develop his own curriculum for teaching voice in a class setting. Realizing that for a great many singers (and instrumentalists), proper breathing remains the most frequent deficit, he was especially determined to become an effective coach at helping every student master the breath.
Jack’s musical experience, accomplishments, and credits are varied, but here’s a brief list.
- High school marching band
- High school jazz band
- All State Reading Chorus (Florida)
- Church choral groups, both singing and conducting.
- Collegiate concert band
- Collegiate jazz band
- Several collegiate choruses
- Studied voice under several professors including Janice Harsanyi.
- Studied choral conducting under Colleen Kirk, Clayton Krehbiel, Andre Thomas, and Judy Bowers.
- Conducted the Capital Chordsmen, a male barbershop chorus (Tallahassee, FL)
- Conducted Soutern Blend, a female barbershop chorus (Tallahassee, FL)
- Played “Marryin’ Sam” in L’il Abner (High School)
- Played “Jesus” in Godspell (Tallahassee)
- Played “Archie Beaton” in Brigadoon (FSU Mainstage Theater)
- Taught a semester of high school chorus (Cool Springs, TN)
- Conducted various church choruses, one as large as 80 members.
- Performed in various charity concerts in venues including the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ol’ Opry (Nashville, TN)
- Developed his own curriculum for teaching voice in a class setting.
- Composition and arranging, particularly for 3- and 4-part voices.
- Workshops for existing vocal ensembles.
Jack is an active blogger (jackpelham.com) and is the author of Character Not Included: What America must fix before she can fix anything else. He is currently working on a book on the topic of Reality-Based Thinking, and reports that after that, has “a bajillion” other book projects in mind.
After realizing that commonplace political and religious reform activism simply doesn’t work well, Jack set out in early 2012 to make a thorough independent study of cognitive science, with a view toward understanding how people think, and whether they can actually change their minds about matters that would improve the societies in which we live. After an extensive course of reading, he is now enthusiastic about the possibilities and is now organizing an initiative aimed at promoting Reality-Based Thinking as a sustainable way of life. (Society for Reality-Based Thinking Website. Facebook Page) He hopes to offer free seminars starting on these topics in the future and is interested to see how much interest the public may show.
Jack most enjoys working with vocal ensembles that want to be excellent. This is his favorite pastime, and if nothing else, he’d love to have his own Barbershop quartet to sing in the town square every Friday night. Ideally, though, he’d like to help facilitate one or more larger choral groups.
If you’d like to talk to Jack about studying, please contact us.