Dr. John A. Behnke is a professor emeritus, handbell clinician, ringer, festival director, organist, and passionate musician.
Behnke is the director of the Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble. He is also the music editor for AGEHR Music—Handbell Musicians of America and organist and choir director at historic Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Milwaukee.
As professor of music at Concordia University Wisconsin, Dr. Behnke used his talents to bless the students and ensembles of the music department as well as those who heard them. He enjoys not only making music, but composing and arranging pieces for handbells, choirs, and organs. He is published by seventeen different publishers, among them Concordia Publishing House.
Early in his education, he studied at Concordia University Chicago and later went on to study church music and organ performance at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he earned his DMus. He also studied in Herford, West Germany, at the Westphalian Church Music Institute and passed his organ exam with “Excellent” status.
In 1993, Nancy Raabe, a music critic for the Milwaukee Sentinel, named him MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the Milwaukee area. He received an ASCAP Composers Award in 1998 and 1999 and was elected into the Alpha chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda, a national honorary music society.