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John Flannery
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

John Flannery

Graduation year: 2024

High school: Washington High School

Hometown: Washington, Iowa

Majors: Music performance – piano; music composition

Minor: Theatre

Campus activities: Admissions ambassador,, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Augustana Symphonic Band, Augustana Percussion Ensemble, Kali Yuga

Post-grad plans: I plan on attending graduate school to obtain a doctoral degree in composition studies and eventually work at a liberal arts college as a professor of music!

Why Augustana?

The community at Augustana is what drew me in. I was lost in my college search back in 2019 and 2020, not sure what I wanted from my college years. Upon meeting with members of the music faculty, talking with current students and exploring campus, I realized Augie was exactly the place for me.

I further learned how tight-knit of a community Augie is. Everyone on campus is committed to their goals and passions and is always willing to support their fellow student in any way possible.

Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?

Not at all! I knew I wanted to pursue music when I came to college, but I had no idea in what capacity. Through my work with the faculty here, I found a path that I'm excited to continue on. 

On top of that, I've made infinitely more connections and lifelong friendships than I could have possibly imagined. Augustana has prepared me to be an incredible scholar, musician and person, and I'm forever grateful!

Who helped you get to where you are now?

So many people have shaped me to who I am now. Dr. Michelle Crouch, Dr. Amanda Sherrill, Dr. Robert Elfline and Shelley Cooper all challenged me, not just as a collaborative pianist, but as a musician.

Dr. James Lambrecht and Dr. Tony Oliver both challenged me in ensemble playing, and opened me up to the incredible nature of performing with fellow musicians. Dr. Charles Schmidt showed me the importance of piano technique, and the importance of performing. Dr. Randall Hall and Dr. Jacob Bancks fostered my creativity and allowed me incredible opportunities for my own compositions to be performed.

Brad Isbell, the advisor for, the student radio station, and Beth Melton, the leader of the Admissions Ambassadors Program, shaped me as a leader.

And my fellow students, who shaped me as a student, a colleague and a friend. 

Without any of these figures, I wouldn't be who I am today, nor would I have the ambitions and passions that I do. I'm forever grateful to each and every one of them!

Peak experience?

My peak experience was performing in my senior recitals in both piano and music composition. Working in collaboration with other students to prepare classic works of music, alongside my own compositions, led to incredible experiences and memories.

Performing a recital of works I had prepared for months was incredible as well, showing that I had evolved as a musician throughout my four years here. They felt like a summation of my four incredible years at Augustana.

What surprised you?

I was surprised at how involved I found myself. Over my four years here, I was involved in so many amazing organizations and groups, ones that kept me plenty busy but provided me with some INCREDIBLE experiences and connections! I consider myself to be a homebody, but I definitely wasn't one at Augie!

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to go to Japan with the Augustana Symphonic Band in the spring of 2023. I explored a new country, played concerts with Japanese students, and strengthened relationships with people who are now my closest friends. It was an incredible experience!

What will you miss the most?

I'll miss my fellow students the most. I'll miss running into 10 friends on the walk from my house to class, I'll miss making new friends almost immediately on the first days of a new semester, and I'll miss seeing my closest friends in different meetings and events here on campus.

The community at Augustana is what has made me feel most at home these past four years, and I know there isn't another community out there like there is here.

Advice for the Class of 2028?

Know that things will work out in the end! If you're not sure what you're going to major in or if you'll be able to make friends, just know that these things are not just possible, but a certainty, here at Augie.

I'm graduating with a path to my future, and friends I'll keep my whole life!

"Composer, soloist, scholar, speaker, thinker, collaborator, improviser, tour guide, recording technician, accompanist, event organizer, conductor, ensemble musician.... John Flannery has done it all, and done it all well, with humility and good humor! Rarely have I seen a student who embodies the spirit of Augustana more. We are proud of you and your many achievements, John! We can't wait to see where your creativity, intelligence and open-mindedness will take you next."

– Dr. Jacob Bancks, associate professor and co-chair, music