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VanderCook College of Music

Faculty & Staff

John Sherer


Passionate about inspiring others to share the gift of music, Dr. John W. W. Sherer encourages students to grow their musical talents in the classroom. He appreciates North Park’s nurturing community and utilizes it to bring out the best in each of his students. With a focus on helping students establish productive careers in music, Dr. Sherer provides them with the experiential learning opportunity to become organ interns at the Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago.

Dr. Sherer has been hailed by critics as a terrific musician, a pronounced virtuoso who plays with assurance, authority and superb energy. Reviewers have praised him for his great creativity and élan and proclaimed, as usual, Sherer communicated both the demanding and subtle qualities of the program through utilizing both his remarkable virtuoso technique and his sensitive musical sense to serve the requirements of the music. Dr. Sherer has performed numerous recitals throughout the United States, Japan and England, including several for regional and national organist conventions.

Since 1996, Dr. Sherer has been the Organist and Director of Music for The Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, selected by USA Today as one of the top ten places in America to be “enthralled by heavenly music.” In 2015, Fourth Church dedicated a new 142 rank Quimby organ, the largest pipe organ in Chicago. This dynamic church has fifteen choirs and instrumental groups including The Morning Choir, a twenty-five voice professional ensemble and Tower Brass, a professional octet. Dr. Sherer manages an active concert series at the church with over 100 events each year and oversees the partnership with the Music Institute of Chicago bringing private musical instruction, music therapy and other music classes to the church for adults and children. He has led several music missions and choir tours in the United States, England, Scotland, France, Cuba, Guatemala and South Africa.

Dr. Sherer was recently selected as one of fifty prominent Chicagoans living with passion and purpose and was featured in the book “Bright Lights of the Second City.” Fourth Presbyterian Church was the second church in the United States to be selected for the BBC program, “Songs of Praise.” This program, broadcast to 40 million people around the world, featured the music of Fourth Presbyterian Church with Dr. Sherer at the organ. The Morning Choir and Dr. Sherer were in the Columbia TriStar motion picture “My Best Friend’s Wedding” filmed in part at The Fourth Presbyterian Church. In addition to his work at the church, Dr. Sherer is University Organist at North Park University in Chicago where he teaches and plays for several major events each year and Assistant Director and Organist of Chicago Sinai Congregation.

A native of Xenia, Ohio, Dr. Sherer is married to The Reverend Kara Wagner Sherer, an Episcopal priest, and has two daughters. He enjoys yoga, tai chi, bicycling, gardening, painting and anything related to the R.M.S. Titanic. He has studied organ with David Mulbury, Roberta Gary, Thomas Murray and John Weaver and conducting with John Leman and Walden Moore. He received two bachelor degrees, organ performance and choral music education, from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He earned two master’s degrees at Yale University, majoring in organ performance and art in religion and received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School.

  • AM 111-412 Applied Organ


The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

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