For more than twenty-five years The John Alphonse Big Band has been performing to audiences across Atlantic Canada. His orchestra is the premier exponent of the sounds that made the decade of the big band such an unforgettable era in the history of familiar popular music. From the melodies of Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Harry James and Benny Goodman to the wartime songs of Marion Hutton and Vera Lynn, all live on in an evening with the John Alphonse Big Band.

The orchestra has performed for Canadian prime ministers and for British royalty. On different occasions Pierre Trudeau, John Turner, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward have all enjoyed music played by The John Alphonse Big Band. Other shows include annual performances at The Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor's Ball, The Halifax Metro Centre's Seniors Expo, The Cystic Fibrosis New Year's Eve Charity Ball and The IWK Children's Hospital Annual Snowball. These dates and the countless national corporate conventions that have called upon them make it clear that The John Alphonse Big Band retains its position as the most sought after big band performing in eastern Canada.

As an accomplished drummer and bandleader John Alphonse has amassed quite an enviable record. He spent seven years as the drummer with Rita MacNeil. He has accompanied Anne Murray, Mitch Miller, Pat Boone, Stan Rogers, Vera Lynn, Catherine McKinnon, The Irish Rovers, Peter Appleyard, Red Buttons, Dinah Christie, Patti Page and Dionne Warwick to name only a few. He has served as the regional Entertainment Director for the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon. John has served for twenty years as the Entertainment Director for the Children's Miracle Network Telethon held in June of every year.

When performing the sounds of the big band era, The John Alphonse Big Band is second to none. Keeping alive the memories of a popular music that became the signature of a generation is best left to those with an ability to interpret that generation and translate the memories of one decade to the audiences of another. The John Alphonse Big Band...

"one of the hottest orchestras performing east of anywhere"


Professional Drummer - Percussionist - Band Leader (1977-current)

President, Atlantic Federation of Musicians, Local 571 of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (1999 – 2006)

Boards & Committees

Director – Canadian Conference of Musicians (2000-2006)
Director – Music Industry Association of Nova Scotia (1993 – 1994)
Director – Atlantic Federation of Musicians (1995-1996)
Secretary-Treasurer – Atlantic Federation of Musicians (1997-1998)
AFM Advisory Committee on Officer Education – George Meany Centre for Labor Studies, Washington (2001)
AFM Organization & Legislation Committee, Las Vegas (2001, 2003-2005)
AFM International Diversity Council (2003-2006)
Director - Performing Arts Lodges - ACTRA (2005-2006)

Work Experience

Professional musician (1977-current)
Booking Agent – John Alphonse Productions (1980-1989)
Clinician – Yamaha Canada Music (1992-1999)
Lecturer – Universities –“ The Business of Music” (2002-2005)
Private Drum Lessons (1977-1980)



Band Leader

The John Alphonse Big Band
The John Alphonse Group of Bands
The Waterfront Stompers Dixieland Band
Airplay (50’s,60’s Rock & Roll)
The Dukesters
The Champagnes

Accompaniment - Drummer

Regis Philbin
Joan Rivers
Shirley Eikhard
Stan Rogers
Alan Thicke
Rita McNeil
Scott Macmillan
Nancy White
Frank MacKay
Peter Appleyard
Terry Hatty
Joe Sealy
Ashley MacIsaac
John Ballentine
Guido Basso
Dinah Christie
Brian Brown
Denny Doherty
Tony Randall
Herb Ellis
The Shirelles
Cahil Dodd & Cherise Lawrence
Charlie Bird
Catherine MacKinnon
Nova Scotia Mass Choir
Derek Smith
Rebecca Paris
The Irish Rovers
John Allan Cameron
Barney Kessell
Chris Cummings
Raylene Rankin
Robbie MacNeil
Leon Dabinsky
Peggy Mahon
Lennie Gallant
Wendy MacIsaac
Bette MacDonald
Maynard Morrison
Max MacDonald
John Gracie
J.P. Cormier
Richard Wood
Gordie Sampson
Theresa Malenfant
Charity Brown
Doug Mallory
Diane Stapley
Phil Nimmons
Carrol Baker
Natalie MacMaster
Keith Jollimore
Warren Chaisson
Tom Paxton
Dave Young
Little Anthony
Kenzie MacNeil
Amanda Ambrose
Don Thompson
Smith & Smith
Matt Minglewood
Murray McLaughlin
Jimmy Dale
Bob MacGrath (*Sesame Street)
Alfie Zappacosta Bruce Guthro

The John Alphonse Big Band – Accompaniment

Rosemary Clooney
Dionne Warwick
Red Buttons
Patti Page

Symphony Nova Scotia

Skitch Henderson
Pat Boone
Joli Gladsman
Boris Brott
Elyakin Taussig
Mitch Miller
Michael Danzo
Rita McNeil
Debbie Boone
Shari Lewis J.P. Cormier

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Rita McNeil – Recording – “Live at the Orpheum” (2000)

Edmonton Symphony Orchestra

Rita McNeil

Calgary Philharmonic

Rita McNeil

Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

Rita McNeil

Windsor Symphony Orchestra

Rita McNeil

National Arts Centre Orchestra

Rita McNeil

TV & Radio Appearance as drummer for the following

Anne Murray – “From Keltic Lodge”
Jazz Canada
The Ocean Limited
East Coast Music Awards
Canada Day from Parliament Hill
The Waterfront Stompers Dixieland Band
Roger Whittaker
Skip Beckwith
Ryan’s Fancy
Don Palmer Big Band
Keith Jollimore Big Band
The John Alphonse Big Band – CBC – New Year’s Eve Special (1985)
CBC TV Night East
Cheri Camp
Lenore Zann
Battle of the Dixieland Bands (1985 Champion)
Rita McNeil – “Celtic Fantasy”
Rita McNeil – “View from the Heart”
The Rise & Follies of Cape Breton
Maritime Song Contest (CBC Radio)

Record Albums - Drummer

Roger Whittaker
Rita McNeil
Carrol Baker
Paul Lawson
Barry Stagg
Robert Scott
Bob Quinn
Chris Hennessey
Joe Fahie
Fred Lavery
Terry Kelly
Terry Kelleher
Debbie Chambers
The Rise & Follies of Cape Breton
The Irish Descendants
Wendy MacIsaac
Annick Gagnon
Kathy Phippard

TV Film & Motion Picture Performances

Crimson Flowers of Battle
Vacant Lot
Image X
Salter Street Films
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Vision TV
National Film Board of Canada

Telethons – Band Leader/Drummer

Christmas Daddies Telethon (1979-1992, 2000 – current) (CTV Halifax)
Children’s Miracle Network Telethon (IWK) (1984-2004)
Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon (1994) (ASN Halifax)

Professional Regional Theatre – Drummer/Percussionist (Neptune Theatre, Halifax, NS)

Debut – Encore (1983)
Cinderella (1987)
Cabaret (1984)
Shine Boy (1987)
West Side Story (1983)
Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (1986)
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1987)
Anything Goes (1985)
Evita (1986)
Fiddler on the Roof (1991)
Sincerely, A Friend – Music of Leonard Cohen (1991)
Health – The Musical (1990)
Little Shop of Horrors (1992)
Man of La Mancha (1993)
Oliver (2006)
Beauty & The Beast (2007)
Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (2007)
The Producers (2008)

Musical Theatre Conductors

Rick Fox – Toronto
Don Parsborough – Toronto
Andrew St. Gualard – Winnipeg
Michael Barber – Toronto
Lloyd Nickleson – Vancouver

Theatre Artistic Directors

Tom Kerr
Linda Moore
Ron Ulrick
Richard Ozonein

Membership in Professional Associations

Canadian Conference of Musicians
Symphony Nova Scotia Society
East Coast Music Association
Music Industry Association of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Cultural Network
American Federation of Musicians of the Unites States and Canada

The John Alphonse Christmas Trio

When Christmas is just around the corner and stores are looking to be filled with holiday shoppers, what better way for merchants to extend a warm and friendly welcome than with the sounds of the season performed live and in person by John Alphonse and his Christmas Trio. Formed from members of his renowned Halifax based Big Band, The Christmas Trio is always a welcome addition to this cheerful time of the year. The wonderfully musical trio draws from a repertoire that contains such memorable classics as Let It Snow, I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas, Jingle Bells, Winter Wonderland, Silent Night, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Oh Holy Night and the timeless classic, White Christmas. Their tributes to the characters of Christmas include songs about Jack Frost, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty The Snowman. Live music during the liveliest festive time of the year. As this year draws to a close and the sounds of Christmas fill the air, The John Alphonse Christmas Trio is certain to add a bit of spice to the spirit of this joyful season.


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