Dr. John Perkins serves Castleton UMC as the Director of Music. He is also the Associate Director of Choral Activities and an Assistant Professor of Music at Butler University. His teaching at Butler includes the Butler University Choir and Spectra (formerly, Butler Women’s Choir), Aural Skills I, and Graduate Choral Conducting Seminar. Combining with Nassim Al Saba Choir (United Arab Emirates), Sao Vicente Acapella (Brazil), and five local high school choirs, Perkins created a transnational course in Spring 2016, entitled “Peacebuilding through Choral Singing.” The course focused on social justice dialogue, relationship-building, and community leadership through choral music.
Recently, he became a Fellow at the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Justice, and Global Reconciliation and an Advisory Board Member for EMMA (Euro Mediterranean Music Academy) for Peace.
He previously taught at the American University of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) and developed the country’s first music program in higher education. There he directed the university’s choral program, taught music theory courses, and other courses such a team-taught, interdisciplinary course on Symbolist music and poetry. In 2010, he founded the Nassim Al Saba Choir, which was the first Arabic, four-part choir in the Arabian Gulf region. This unique ensemble aimed at building bridges between Arab and non-Arab countries, and, performed extensively in the UAE and internationally (New York City, Indonesia, and Jordan).
As a presenter, conducting and choral clinician, Perkins has been active in the United Arab Emirates, USA, Indonesia, Oman, Lebanon, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Russian Federation, and Sweden. His research and professional contributions include, presentations, articles, and arrangements concerning Arabic choral music, intercultural choral education, the choral works of Lili Boulanger, music of the Symbolist (Belle Époque) era, conducting technique, and collaborative music projects. Perkins’s new choral/orchestral arrangement of Lili Boulanger’s Psaume 130, Du fond de l’abîme and Arabic choral arrangements have been internationally premiered.
Originally hailing from Titusville, New Jersey, Perkins holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of Arizona (Tucson), a master’s degree in choral conducting, from Temple University (Philadelphia), and a bachelor’s degree in theory and composition from Westminster Choir College of Rider University (Princeton). He and his wife, Emily, a doctoral music education student, have two children, Lili Amna, and, Noah Ameen.