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Dare Drums: Biography

A native of Auburn, NY, where his father and grandfather also based long drumming careers, John began playing drums at age four, learning rudiments from his grandfather. Music, especially Jazz, was an integral part of the Dare family life. Some of John’s earliest memories are of helping his Dad set up his drums for a gig, or watching his older brother’s band rehearse. ( both his older brothers also played drums ) At a very early age, John was exposed to and taught about the lineage of great drummers, such as “Papa Jo” Jones, Davey Tough, Shelly Manne, etc..

John took lessons in school, and played in all the ensembles. He also took private lessons from Len Carey of the Syracuse Symphony. In 1978, John was selected to the NYS All-State Jazz Ensemble. He was house percussionist for the Merry Go Round Theatre in Auburn for six seasons, performing over thirty Broadway productions.

John majored in music education at Berklee College of Music 1979-82, studying drums with Joe Hunt. He also studied privately with Joe Morello and Alan Dawson. While at Berklee, he led his own Big Band featuring trumpeter Joe Magnarelli.

His professional career includes a national tour with rhythm and blues singer Bobby Freeman, and engagements with Chaka Khan and Jack Jones. He has appeared locally with Lyman “Butch” Strong, Bobby Doyle, Bob Barbuto, Dino Losito, Frank Mucedola , and the Cayugans Big Band. In 2001, as a member of the group “In Flight”, John was honored to perform for former President and Mrs. Clinton.

John began his teaching practice in 1989 and opened his own studio in 1999. He has performed numerous drum clinics and jazz workshops at area schools and colleges. He is a member of the American Federation of Musicians, the Percussive Arts Society, and the Vic Firth Private Drum Teacher program.

Besides music, John enjoys spending time with his wife, daughters ... and family pets. He was employed for twenty years in the automotive industry, until retiring in 2005 to concentrate on music full time.

It is with great pride and satisfaction that John continues the lineage of drumming by helping a new generation take root. He is committed to his students' growth, not just toward the betterment of their playing, but in the joy they take from it.