John Baratta is a native of Lodi, N. J., and presently resides in Wantage John attended Jersey City State College where he studied piano and organ, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education. He has recently retired from teaching music in the public school system for thirty years. John is currently the resident organist and director of music for Grace Evangelical Church in River Edge. He also served as the house organist for the historic Newton Theatre in Newton, N.J. In addition, he serves as Chairman of Education for the North Jersey Chapter of The American Guild of Organists and on the Education Committee for the New York Theatre Organ Society. During the past several years John has put together an educational student outreach program which is sponsored by the New York Theatre Organ Society, Garden State Theatre Organ Society and North Jersey American Guild of Organists. With the use of a traveling Allen digital instrument equipped with both Theatre and Church voices, this Student Outreach Program includes going to K-12 schools to present the students a hands on demonstration and workshop about the organ, its history and music literature.
John is the recipient of the Music Talent Award given by the Garden State Arts Center, and also the Music Achievement Award given by the Lodi, N.J. Rotary. During his tenure as a band director in the public schools he was awarded the honor of conducting the New Jersey Region I Middle School Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble.
During the last several years John has played the Albert Schweitzer Memorial Organ at Spivey Hall in Morrow, Georgia. One of the highlights of John’s recital series included performances at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and on the new five manual Allen Organ at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia. Many performances have been given at local churches and Theatre venues in and around the Bergen and Sussex County areas.
Recently, John has written and published an instructional music method series for young music students at the middle school level. He is currently giving organ lessons to a number of students at the FDR high school, Hyde Park, NY, home of an Allen 323Q Digital / Classical Organ. Future plans include the further study of quality organ and piano literature, and presentation of that music to the public as often as possible.