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Big John

John Pratt Needs Our Prayers

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Received this email from John's daughter. There must be some of you out there who's lives John touched during your drum corps years.

He needs your support now.

Please SHARE with drummers, drum corps, and others who know and love John S. Pratt.


From Joanie Pratt . . . .

A court-appointed lawyer recently seized control of my father, John S. Pratt, and his assets. Although my father was still viable and capable (stricken only with memory loss-Alzheimer's) and still functioning independently for most daily tasks, the lawyer stuck him in a nursing home against our family's wishes about 5 weeks ago, where an immediate decline, due to lack of care or attention began. My beloved father, Jack, is now not eating. Currently he is at the Preakness Health Center in Wayne, NJ.


I would greatly appreciate emails from everyone about my father's influence on you musically, character-wise, carer-wise or other. Please tell me how you know him, were you a student of his or do you study/play his music? Please share fond memories, stories, photos or videos of whatever you have. Thank you!

Love, sadly, 

Joanie M. Pratt

Loving Daughter of John S. Pratt 

I can be reached by phone:

Call or text: 201-410-2162


Here are some of his many affiliations:

West Point Hellcats

The Old Guard

Norm Peth

Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame

World Drum Corps Hall of Fame

NJ Drummers Hall of Fame

American Patriots' Rudimental Drum Club Hall of Fame

C.A.D.R.E. Canadian Association of Drumming Rudimental Excellence

I.A.T.D. International Association of Traditional Drummers

Hawthorne Caballeros

New York Kingsmen



Grey Knights

New Jersey Field Music

Sons and Daughters of the Ex 5th Regiment Fife and Drum

Civil War Troopers

Geneva Appleknockers



Edited by Big John
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Mr. Pratt is in my thoughts and prayers, he is an icon in the rudimental drumming world

Edited by Fastone
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I met Mr. Pratt once at a CADRE Shake, 2008 I think it was.  I let the rest of the CADRE gang know of this latest development. Certainly trying times for the Pratt family, I hope things turnout for the best.



John Swartz

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I was honored to meet Mr. Pratt several years ago at the WDC Hall of Fame inductions. As with all the truly great teachers, he is gracious and generous to a fault. John had much praise for other drum teachers we both knew, like Dennis Delucia, Fred Sanford, Bobby Thompson and Jerry Shellmer.

All of those masters would have deferred to him, and did.

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Jack, as we called him, was our "chops-building" tech when I was marching in Hawthorne's snare line in the early 70's. George Tuthill would teach us the book and Jack would pound us with fundamentals and endurance. Lots of hours out at Ft. Dix, NJ with Jack smiling at us using his arm as a visual metronome. We sometimes hated it but playing the book cleanly was a result of all that pre-season training. Jack's old-school NARD background seemed like a strange mix with George T's more modern Shellmer style and technique but the result was a pretty good drumline and a few championships. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

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Oh, best wishes to the Pratt family.

Jack and I taught the GSC Wayne, NJ, King's Regiment in 1977. I wrote the book and worked primarily with the mallets and timpani, while Jack worked the snares and tenors.

I spent many an afternoon at his house in Hawthorne discussing the show (and life in general). He had the most amazing collection of classical music albums you would ever want to see. If you wanted to hear a particular symphony, he'd ask by which orchestra and which conductor. 

He had the idea for our second drum solo of a section of a work by Wm Walton (first was an arrangement of Debussy's "Goliwog's Cakewalk"), the name of which escapes me. I ended up arranging a piece for brass quintet and percussion using his idea. We ended up second in the GSC that year. A GREAT man, and a marvelous instructor.


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