Bidding Farewell to John and Bonnie Spain

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John and Bonnie Spain on the Boychoir tour bus
Heading out on tour with the Cincinnati Boychoir

The Cincinnati Boychoir recently announced that two of its longtime staff members, John and Bonnie Spain, will be retiring in June at the end of the 2018–2019 season. As they move on to this new stage of their lives, we would like to take a moment to recognize John and Bonnie’s contributions to the Boychoir.

The Spains first encountered the Boychoir in early 2001 at a Cincinnati ArtsWave event where the boys were performing. Not long afterward, Bonnie saw a two-line ad in a newspaper announcing that the Boychoir was looking for an accompanist. Impressed by their performance, she immediately applied and began work in March 2001. (John likes to say that’s when his unofficial job as “page turner” began.)

Through the years, Bonnie has accompanied various levels of the choir at concerts and rehearsals. One especially vivid memory comes from the first audition night she attended. This particular rehearsal was the Monday after 9/11. They went ahead with the auditions in spite of the day’s sorrow. She remembers listening and watching as Director Bryan Mock taught the boys a song. She says, “These kids were just coming in, with no practice or experience before, and together they were making this very sweet sound. It wasn’t perfected in any way, but it just amazed me.”

John joined the Boychoir staff in an official capacity seven years later, in 2008. He started out as Director of the introductory-level Training Choir. For two years, John and Bonnie guided the Training Choir together through two-hour-long practices! In 2010, after Dr. Chris Eanes accepted the position of Artistic Director and CEO, he asked John to become Director of Operations and guide the business side of the Boychoir. Bonnie remained Lead Accompanist and Associate Director, supporting the artistic side of the choir’s work.

In their ten and eighteen years, respectively, with the Cincinnati Boychoir, John and Bonnie have experienced many great moments and events. John stated that one of the highlights for him was performing the piece commissioned for the Boychoir’s 50th Anniversary, Horizon Symphony. Bonnie also enjoyed working on that piece, and she reminisces fondly about the many places she’s traveled with the Boychoir: everywhere from New York and LA to Australia and South Africa.

John and Bonnie Spain on safari with the Cincinnati Boychoir in South Africa
Heading out on safari in South Africa!

So, after an exciting career with the Boychoir, what will John and Bonnie do now that they’re retired? Both look forward to spending more time with their family, particularly their two grown children. In addition, Bonnie is enjoying playing with a for-fun musical group made up of a few of her musically gifted neighbors. John, on the other hand, intends to spend more time developing his photography hobby and hopes to take some cooking classes.

The Cincinnati Boychoir will miss John and Bonnie Spain greatly. We thank them for their years of hard work and investment in the lives of the hundreds of boys they’ve directed. We hope that they will enjoy this new stage of their lives.