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John Horne Jazzes Up The Shishah
Chris Yonker Staff Writer/Photo: Rob Hardin
What started out as a boy jamming along with The Police on air guitar turned out to be more than just an invisible fancy for guitarist John Horne.
john_horne_ou_post.jpgAs Horne’s mother saw him strutting up and down the neck of the invisible guitar, he said she offered to find him lessons to refine his early love for the guitar.

Horne’s affinity for The Police and other underground music was hampered during his training, however, because most of the tabs available in magazines were for harder rock than Horne was interested in.

With the help of the guitar lessons, Horne’s skill led him to the renowned Duquesne University Mary Pappert School of Music in Pittsburgh. After graduation, Horne’s wife received an offer to teach in the Athens City School system. Horne grew up in a small town, and he said he did not plan to stay in Athens for long. After 10 years, he figures he will stay put. “We’re entrenched now,” he said.

When moving to Athens, his wife had a job secured but he did not. Using the training he received from Duquesne, Horne started giving guitar lessons.Horne said his approach to teaching guitar is different from others’ style. He lets his students find answers themselves instead of telling them how to do things.

“I don’t like to tell people, ‘Do A, B, C, D,’” he said. “I think it is up to the student to learn (the music) and make it their own.”

From time to time, Horne also performs what he calls “informances” at local schools. With schools continually restricting or eliminating arts budgets, students today do not get as much exposure to art and performance as in the past, he said.

Horne’s informances are some children’s first exposure to the many kinds of guitars that Horne brings with him, even though the kids usually just want to hear the familiar distortion of the electric guitar.

Horne’s solo performances draw on many genres that incorporate Horne’s early love of The Police and other rock, as well as his primary love of jazz. Horne’s three favorite musicians, jazz legend Pat Matheny, acoustic guitarist Michael Hedges and former front man of The Police, Sting, reflect his wide love of many genres.

In addition to his solo performances, Horne also plays with jazz groups like the Remonko/Bastin Jazztet, which Horne calls “fun and intimidating.” Horne said he enjoys playing in jazz groups because much of the repertoire for a jazz musician is shared and practicing with older jazz musicians with more experience helps Horne hone his skills.

“Playing with (the Remonko/Bastien Jazztet) keeps me on my toes because it feels like they could school me at any time,” he said.

The last time Horne played at the Shishah Café, 33 N. Court St., he played mostly jazz and other contemporary adult music, said co-owner and Horne’s former student, Ryland Burhans. Burhans said he is looking forward to Horne’s wonderful guitar performance and the patrons he brings with him.

Horne will be playing at the Shishah Café tonight at 7:30 p.m. and at the First Christian Church, 24 W. State St., as part of its annual dinner and benefit auction tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.

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