Jun 6 2010

Letters of Support and Recommendation

Promise Partner, Olney Friends School

Promise Partner, of Olney Friends School
“One student commented, ‘I hadn’t written that way before. It opened me up, made it easier to write, and I produced things I love.’ Another student, who was already a writer, said that her poetry has changed because of Jon’s workshops: ‘Now I can get out of my head and let the spirit in.’

Read the rest of Promise’s letter…

John W. Baird, Head of School, Westtown School

john-baird-westtown-head-school“Friend Jon connected well with students from both Quaker and other backgrounds. His vibrant spoken word messages touched on themes of environmental stewardship, peace, equality, justice and other quaker testimonies with an authenticity and immediacy that expanded the vocabulary of worship for all of us.”

Read the rest of John’s letter…

Tom Hoopes, Religious Studies Teacher at George School

“Jon Watts brings people together across boundaries of age, theology and musical taste. After Jon’s recent performance at George School, I heard a wide range of affirmative responses from various people. A spiritually-seeking teacher in his late twenties remarked, “Wow. Jon Watts is the real deal. He’s got it.” A very savvy girl of 18 said, “He is SO hot! I have all of his CDs.” A colleague in her 50’s noted, “I love his stuff. And my kids and their friends all have his music on their iPods.”

Read the rest of Tom’s letter…

Walter Hjelt-Sullivan, Academic Dean of Pendle Hill

walter-hjelt-sullivan-pendle-hill“Jon Watts is a skillful and perceptive performer. His performances take on the flavor of a Meeting for Worship. It is clear to me that Jon both prepares the play list to create that atmosphere and listens carefully to follow the leadings of the Spirit in the moment. What I appreciate most about Jon and his ministry is the honesty, sincerity, and transparency of his journey. He continuously seeks to be faithful – to find the true message that has been given to him.”

Read the rest of Walter’s letter…

Max Carter, Director of Friends Center at Guilford College

Max Carter“After witnessing the profoundly positive impact Jon’s work has had on the Quaker community at Guilford, I have felt moved to share the fruits of his labor with the wider Quaker world. I hope that Jon’s music will inspire others to dig deep into the experience of early Friends and discover, as Jon did, deep resources for our lives today.”

Read the rest of Max’s letter…

Feb 14 2010

Testimonials from High Schools and Youth Groups

Jon Watts stretching before sharing music with the Southern Appalachian Young Friends in Asheville

Jon Watts stretching before sharing music with the Southern Appalachian Young Friends in Asheville

“Jon has a positive, easy going, AND intensity about him that drew the kids in and engaged them.”

Scott Harrington, Principal at Friends School of Baltimore

“Jon energized our students to think about not just living a life of integrity, but being willing to speak up for what we believe. We had a worship sharing around using our creative gifts as a way of expressing our values and speaking out, and we found students saying new things thanks to his visit.”

Galen Horst-Martz, Religious Thought Teacher, Friends Select School

“Friend Jon connected well with students from both Quaker and other backgrounds. His vibrant spoken word messages touched on themes of environmental stewardship, peace, equality, justice and other Quaker testimonies with an authenticity and immediacy that expanded the vocabulary of worship for all of us. His message has resonated with us long after his visit.”

John W. Baird, Head of School, Westtown School

“Jon Watts has tapped into a deep-seated yearning in all of us to feel joy and fun, even as we are acknowledging and accepting that the world could use some fixing.”

Tom Hoopes, Teacher of Quakerism and World Religions, George School

“Jon’s honesty about his own experience crosses age boundaries… a magic ability to connect with multi-generational groups.”

Elizabeth Walmsley, PYM Middle School Program Coordinator

“For many Young Friends, the highlight of the conference was Jon’s workshop.”

Alison Duncan, Coordinator of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting YFs

“Jon has a gift with this age group. The audience was rapt during his performance, and I hear a reference to Jon Watts in the halls at least once a week. I feel that he had a special connection with students often labeled as “difficult”. His work is incredibly personal, and deals with anger and frustration in beautiful ways that validate the tough personal conflicts many adolescents face.”

Angie Martin, teacher at North Cross Upper School

“The honesty in his music has the ability to cut through the cynicism most teens have when it comes to adults… I think Jon’s willingness to open himself up to scrutiny by writing and singing about his own, imperfect, spiritual journey allows his audience to listen more openly.”

Friendly Adult Presence at the Southern Appalachian Young Friends gathering

“Our group needed an awakening and Jon really delivered that. At the following conference there was a similar feeling that was a throwback to his workshop… I am so thankful that we could start finding a center again after a couple years of uncertainty.”

Hannah Lorraine Gropper, BYM Young Friends

Jon Watts performing at FGC 2009

Jon Watts performing at FGC 2009

Jan 29 2010

Testimonials from Press

“Jon has found a passion and a ministry through his music.”

Mark Helpsmeet, Northern Spirit Radio

Listen to the radio interview.

“Reminds me of Eminem or maybe Aesop Rock, except that he’s a Quaker rapping about the Inner Light illuminating the world’s darkness.”

Mike Morrell, Zoecarnate

“The biggest thing to shake up Meetinghouses and make young friends’ hearts throb.”


“An extremely talented musician.”

Micah Bales, Earlham School of Religion

Jan 13 2010

Testimonials from Friends (Quaker) Meetings

Jon Watts

“I was charmed, amused, and stirred deeply. Jon offered up a river of positive energy that flowed into and was shared by all of us. Oh, and this is not just for younger folk….. lest the hip hop nomenclature confuse or alarm some of our older members. A true poet/troubadour speaks to what binds us together….”

Susan Britton Seyler, Downingtown Friends Meeting

“The impact of Jon’s visit reached beyond individuals. In May, his ministry inspired a series of First Day School programs, which successfully integrated his music.”

Mickleton Monthly Meeting

“There is a Spirit in this man.”

Walter Hjelt Sullivan, Dean of Pendle Hill

“The stories behind the songs and the stories of his spiritual odyssey were profound and joyful.”

Barry Sloan, Mickleton Friends Meeting

“Deeply moving.”

Max Carter, Director of Friends’ Center at Guilford College

“Jon exhibits that glow that comes out of people when their sense of purpose is strong, whose gift comes to fruition knowing he has captured the spirit within us.”

Jim Barton, Chambersburg Monthly Meeting

“Amazingly fresh.”

Niyonu Spann, leader of Philadelphia-based singing group Tribe1

“Jon’s gifts for and passion with music are strong.”

Westfield Monthly Meeting, Cinnaminson, NJ

“While his musical ministry may really appeal mostly to younger audiences, it’s really important that Jon address older people as well because his youth and energy can add a new dimension to their spiritual journeys.”

Betsy Cotton, Solebury Friends Meeting

Jon Watts and his Xtracycle Radish

“Jon’s music and performances are well worth hosting. His concert at Homewood was tons of fun.”

Agnes Bell-Wetheroff, BYM Young Adult Friend

“Remarkably original.”

Chuck Fager, The Journal of the Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts

“Singular & Prophetic; Jon’s Quaker cultivated performance style ignites the heart.”

Jennifer Hebben-Bagge, Coordinator of FGC’s “Quaking Caberet”

“Jon’s ability to integrate worship and prayer, by beginning and ending his songs with moments of silent worship, felt particularly centered in the Spirit.”

Mickleton Monthly Meeting

“Jon approaches spirituality intentionally and care-fully.”

The Pendle Hill Website

“Jon’s preparation beforehand was impressive.”

Christine Greenland, Coordinator of the Haverford Quarter, PYM

“Jon’s rendition of There’s a Spirit in Iraq led to a spontaneous moment of silent worship; he allowed this and broke the silence after an appropriate period with an instrumental that allowed the atmosphere to return from somber remembrance to joyful worship.”

Ron Akins, Bethesda Friends Meeting

“Jon’s shared reflections on his spiritual journey among Quakers has encouraged our own self-reflection.”

Valley Monthly Meeting

“Jon paid attention to the way people were responding and modified his program accordingly – e.g. engaged kids with a sing-along.”

Lancaster Monthly Meeting

“Friends particularly enjoyed his song about Tom Fox.”

Kendal Continuing Care Community

“I felt that Jon was amazing! His style is very warm, genuine, and personal.”

Member of Sadsbury Monthly Meeting

“During the event there was a sense of worship and peace. Jon was very adaptable and easy to work with.”

Paris Kern, Stony Run Monthly Meeting

Jon Sharing music with George School

“Always entertaining, often challenging your faith, and occasionally radical, Jon can hold diverse audiences mesmerized with his haunting and probing lyrics of his experience and journey as a Quaker.”

Michael Daley, Solebury Meeting

“I feel quite strongly that Jon was present and so connected with all of us. It was amazing how – as he ministered – there was always a loving and warm smile.”

Attender, Concord Quarterly Meeting

“An unusually talented musician.”

Marcia Ormsby, Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting

“Jon’s gentle Quaker humor, his humility and his approachability were expressions of the Spirit..”

Grace Gifford, Palmetto Friends Gathering