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Resounds: John Zirkle

John Zirkle at the YPR studios
Anna Paige
John Zirkle at the YPR studios

John Zirkle is the Executive Director and Artistic Director of The Warren Miller Performing Arts Center (WMPAC) in Big Sky, Montana. The Center opened its doors in March 2013 through a collaborative effort of the Big Sky Community, Friends of Big Sky Education, and the Big Sky School District.

WMPAC provides an optimal environment for both performers and audiences through live events all seasons of the year.

In the spirit of the West, WMPAC’s mission encourages and promotes freedom and adventure within the performing arts. The center brings in both world-class acts and produces local shows using local performers.

Under John’s leadership, WMPAC has hosted over 200 programs to more than 50,000 patrons in a town of less than 3,500 full-time residents. As the key development officer for WMPAC, John has raised over $6 million for the arts in Montana by establishing strong relationships with public funding entities, private foundations, and individual donors. John has served as a panelist for the Montana Arts Council, the Cultural and Aesthetics Projects Committee for the Montana State Legislature, the Western States Arts Federation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He currently serves on the boards of the Montana Performing Arts Consortium and Arts Northwest.

As an artist, John finds most of his inspiration from collective music-making. In 2008, he traveled independently for a year in Eastern Europe studying vocal ensembles and choral organizations as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow.

The highlight of his musical theater background was working alongside Emmy award-winning music director Michael Kosarin and Oscar award-winning composer Alan Menken on Disney on Broadway’s The Little Mermaid.

Since 2010, John has also been an active force on the local arts scene, directing, facilitating, and producing over 60 theatrical and music performances. He is also a board member of the Montana Chamber Music Society, based in Bozeman.

A graduate of Colorado College, John is passionate about excellence in the arts and is grateful he can pursue both of his great loves—performing arts and outdoor recreation—in beautiful Big Sky, Montana.

Corby Skinner is an independent marketing professional with an enormous capacity for assessing issues and creating positive, effective messages.
Anna Paige is a Montana-based journalist, poet and educator. She is originally from Wyoming and has lived in Billings for more than a decade, where she co-founded Young Poets, winner of the 2021 Library of Congress Award for Literacy.