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John Alston

Associate Professor of Music

Professor Alston is director of the Swarthmore College Chorus and Chamber Orchestra as well as founder of the Chester Children's Chorus, an organization which was inspired by his own transformative experiences as a member of the Newark (N.J.) Boys Chorus. Founded in 1994, the Chester Children's Chorus "uses music as a vehicle to offer children who live in the Chester-Upland School District the opportunity to expand their intellectual and cultural horizons and strengthen their life skills." Professor Alston currently serves as director of the Chorus, which has over 90 singers ranging in ages from 8-18.

John Alston

In the fall of 2008, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Alston and members of the Swarthmore and Chester communities in collaboration with the Chester-Upland School District, the Chester-Upland School of the Arts opened. The School of the Arts is a full-day academic and arts school designed to prepare Chester children to attend the finest colleges and universities in the world.

Professor Alston teaches courses on jazz improvisation and introduction to elements of music notation and theory. He received his B.M. from Yankton College, his M.M. from the University of Northern Iowa, and D.M. from Indiana University.


Read "John Alston turns kids in hoodies into a choral band of brothers" in the Christian Science Monitor


Watch John Alston discuss "Artists as Agents of Social Change" at a celebration in honor of Eugene Lang '38 in February 2011.


Watch John Alston discuss the first 15 years of the Chester's Children Chorus.

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