Working with Michigan Opera Theatre has been a long-term family affair for John Dorsey, Principal Percussion with the MOT Orchestra. John began performing with the orchestra in 1982. His wife, Dee, followed in his MOT footsteps in 1986, working in the company’s production office, then as a stage manager and now as a supertitle writer and operator. More than three decades later, all four of the couple’s children have been involved with MOT, performing on the Detroit Opera House stage in the Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus or as supernumeraries. He said working together as a family has been fun, and he has enjoyed seeing the city change over time.
“The best part about performing in Detroit is watching the city come back to life,” he said. “It’s amazing to see the transformation from the time I started at MOT in 1982 until now.”
John, originally from Texas, began playing the drums at age 11. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree in Percussion Performance from the University of St. Thomas in Houston before moving to Michigan to earn his Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance at the University of Michigan. In addition to performing with MOT, he is the Professor of Percussion at Eastern Michigan University and the principal percussionist of the Ann Arbor Symphony and Saginaw Bay orchestras. Outside of performing, John enjoys collecting and restoring vintage percussion instruments.