A self-described “band music fanatic,” John Werth is a former high school band director and an active conductor and performer in local community bands. In addition to leading the River Winds, he is also the conductor of the Woodinville Concert Band, and bass clarinetist with the Washington Wind Symphony and Seattle Wind Symphony.
John began his college career majoring in the sciences, but played in university groups as an undergraduate. He has often said that he “joined the band to meet girls” - and in 1985 he met his wife Julie while playing with the University of Oregon Wind Ensemble. Julie is also a clarinetist and plays with the River Winds Concert Band, Woodinville Concert Band, Kirkland Civic Orchestra and others.
While pursuing his PhD in mathematics, he realized that his heart really lay in music. In 1990 he left graduate school and entered the California State University Northridge music program with the intent of becoming a high school band director, which he did after graduating three years later with a degree in music and music education.
John and Julie now live in Redmond with their Belgian Shepherds, Sasha and Nick. They operate Union Hill Winds from their home, where she teaches clarinet lessons and he repairs woodwind instruments.