A native of Crossville, Tennessee and a graduate of Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, John Bridges began his teaching career in 1960 as band director for Tyner Junior and Senior High Schools in Chattanooga. He played horn in the Chattanooga Symphony and directed the music at the Hixson United Methodist Church. In 1963 he moved to San Antonio. After a year each at Edgewood and Southside High Schools, he went to Randolph High School, where he taught fourteen years and produced thirteen sweepstakes bands. During those years the band made the top five in the TMEA 2A Honor Band competition, won first place at the State Fair Marching Contest and at Westlake Marching Festival, twice won the 2A Sweepstakes Award at State Solo-Ensemble Contest and was named Best In Class at the Six Flags Festival at UT-Arlington. In those years John supervised more than thirty TLC music majors who came to do their student teaching at Randolph. While at Randolph, he conducted major ensembles at TLC summer band camps, and earned a Master’s degree from North Texas and served TMEA as Region Chair and State President, and was inducted into Phi Beta Mu.
In 1995 John retired from full-time teaching in Texas Public Schools, became the Interim Director for the Trinity University Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra and served as part-time band coordinator at Edgewood ISD. For the next eight years, John directed the high school band program at Honolulu’s prestigious Punahou School, where his Bands were consistently rated Superior in concert. John served his profession as President of Oahu Band Directors Association and was the founding president of Hawaii’s Phi Beta Mu. Upon his retirement from Punahou in 2004 John was presented with the NBA Mentor Award and listed in Who’s Who in America. In December 2005 he was inducted into the Sousa Foundation Legion of Honor.