John Benoit is a Professor of Music at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, where he teaches music theory and trombone. He holds a B.M. (1985) in trombone performance from Louisiana State University and an M.M. (1987) and Ph.D. (1994) in music theory from the University of Texas at Austin.
For the past fifteen years, Dr. Benoit has cultivated an interest in popular American music and entertainment of the early 20th-century. In addition to his collection of images of Iowa bands, Dr. Benoit also collects sheet music and piano rolls. In 2005, he founded the Ballyhoo Foxtrot Orchestra, a 9-piece period ensemble that performs the jazz and popular music of the 1920s. In addition, to serving as leader and trombonist in the ensemble, Dr. Benoit also arranges all of the music for the ensemble. He plays piano in the 5-piece “combo” version of the band.
Dr. Benoit is the leader, arranger, and trombonist for the Soya Vista Jazz Orchestra, an 8-piece period ensemble specializing in the Cool and mainstream jazz of the 1950s and 60s. In addition, he plays trombone with the Turner Center Jazz Orchestra, the Party Gras Classic Jazz Band, and the Festival Brass Quintet and frequently subs in the trombone section of the Des Moines Big Band.
In the fall of 2013, Simpson College awarded Dr. Benoit sabbatical leave and a research grant to study the history of Iowa’s town bands at the turn of the last century. Much of the work in designing and building this web site was done at this time.