Attendee Highlight — John Schiavo

John Schiavo circa 1996 with his bass

We have some truly remarkable people who attend our conferences and workshops — including John Schiavo, a professional bassist who performed with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra for more than 39 years.

Music runs in John Schiavo’s blood. 

His mother was a violinist, pianist, and played the organ for her church. John followed her footsteps and started taking piano lessons from her when he was 7 years old. At 12, he was playing the classical string bass and by 16 he was a professional bassist with the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra. 

When it was time for college, John accepted a full-tuition scholarship to the Julliard School of Music in New York City, where he was principal bass of the Julliard Orchestra and performed with the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra as a substitute bassist.

After his time at Julliard, John played as a bassist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Later, he was drafted into the army and served as a Chaplain’s assistant and later as a military bandsman and chorister in Fort Riley, Kansas. John then returned to the Cincinnati Symphony and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

John then decided to return to his roots in California and received a master’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles, where he taught for nine years before being accepted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He played as a professional union bassist with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra for 39 years.

Currently, John and his wife, Dorothea, are the assistant directors of the Pasadena Stake Family History Library in Pasadena, California. The directors are Randall and Kay Huff, former president and matron of the Los Angeles Temple.

John has spent the last four years attending our annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy to stay updated on what’s happening in family history. And he hasn’t let the music die — he also attends the Organ Workshop each year to continue developing his musical talents.

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