John Schwarze
Director of Music Ministries

John Calvin Schwarze was reared in Beauregard Parish and attended DeRidder schools through the 7th grade. After graduating from Belaire High School in Baton Rouge, John returned to Beauregard Parish and earned a Bachelor of Music Education in vocal music from McNeese State University in Lake Charles in 1996. At McNeese State, he showed an aptitude for music history and conducting. In 1995, John was named undergraduate assistant conductor of all the McNeese State choirs and studied conducting under Dr. James Dunaway. After six years teaching music at Western Heights Elementary School in Westlake, Louisiana, John enrolled at Louisiana State University as a graduate student in prestigious choral conducting program. He was one of eight students who had come from all over the country to study under Dr. Kenneth Fulton. After earning a Master of Music in choral conducting from LSU in 2004, John taught at the middle school level in Harlingen, Texas and San Antonio, Texas. In 2009, he was brought in to start a choir program at historic St. Gerard Catholic High School in San Antonio. When he left the school to relocate back to Beauregard Parish, the St. Gerard Chamber Choir numbered thirty-eight sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Moving back to Beauregard Parish in December 2013, John taught a year at Lake Charles College Prep before taking his present position at Pine Wood Elementary School and DeRidder Junior High School in 2015. His goal ultimately is to revive the dormant choral music program at DeRidder High School.


John’s service to the Lord in music ministry has included time at Texas Avenue Baptist Church in DeRidder, First Christian Church in Harlingen, Texas, and most recently, Temple Baptist Church in DeQuincy. Having attended Redeemer Lutheran Church in DeRidder for most of his childhood, John is knowledgeable in traditional hymnody. Every now and then, he would attend Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in DeRidder with his grandparents, exposing him to Southern Gospel songs and hymns. He is just as comfortable in the music of the Gaither’s as he is in the music of Bach. His favorite hymn is “I Love to Tell the Story”.


John is also a composer. He cites Austrian composer, Anton Bruckner (1824-1896), as a major influence on his compositional style. Mary Allen played one of John’s organ pieces on Easter Sunday, which was extracted from one of his choral works, Psalm 2 (“Why do the heathen rage…?). Soon the FUMC Choir will sing another of his works, “Kneel at the Cross”, a setting of an old Southern Gospel text. John has also written hymn arrangements for two violins and organ, as well as other works.


John lives in rural Beauregard Parish with his dog, Vada, and two cats, Buster and Laila. He is thrilled to be the new Director of Music Ministries at FUMC and invites you to serve as a member of the choir. The more the merrier. Contact him at if you are interested.

John Schwarze

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