John Whitacre performs traditional music of the British Isles specializing in tunes popular in colonial America on violin, mandolin family instruments, mountain dulcimer, and guitar. He started violin in fifth grade in North Canton schoolw and took the usual route of school orchestra and classical lessons. He played for four years in the Canton Youth Symphony and for nine years in the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra, but he was always drawn to traditional music. He started guitar in ninth grade, added other instruments over the years, and discovered Celtic music in 1989. He has studied music theory and also plays ukulele, Autoharp, and banjo.
John plays and teaches at folk music festivals and historical festivals, and he is focusing on solo gigs as a historical musician and on recording music of the 18th century and original music written in the style of 18th-century Scottish music. He is a historian with a B.A. from Kent State, a calligrapher, and an avid reader of many subjects, studying to be a polymath.