Willamette alumnus finds success as professional musician in Hollywood

At Willamette University, John West '73 wrote songs for Glee, a treasured campus tradition of student song and dance competitions. Today he is involved in a more well-known "Glee" — the hit television show.

West, who earned a bachelor of music degree in piano performance, appeared on this week's episode, "Special Education," as a member of the Hipsters, a competing glee club.

The appearance is just one of West's successes as a musician in Hollywood. He performs worldwide as an organist and a vocalist, and he recently wrote and performed on two musical cues for the new film "Faster," starring Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton. West is also the featured performer in an upcoming concert with the Los Angeles Master Chorale at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

While at Willamette, besides writing songs for Glee (a tradition that disappeared in the late 1990s), West created a band called "The Together Troupe" and wrote several three-hour extravaganzas for the band, a full orchestra and dancers. He acted in numerous plays and musicals and went on to earn a master's degree at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

In his early career, he worked for Motown Records as a staff producer, where he honed his keyboard and vocal skills. He has performed and worked with many famous musicians over the years, including Bette Midler, Patti LuPone, Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, Michael Jackson and Beyoncé.

West's longtime work as a vocalist and arranger for films and television shows led him to hold the position of chairman of the National Singers Committee of the Screen Actors Guild from 2003-06.

Learn more about West's work on his website: