A Force for Good

Musician Jonathan Sprout ’74 offers a bright rejoinder to the world’s troubles
by Benjamin Gleisser
Disillusioned by the negativity that he perceived was enveloping the world, from climate change to homelessness, musician and activist Jonathan Sprout ’74 didn’t sit idly by. He used his creative gifts to offer an alternative — highlighting the beauty of life and spreading kindness to others through music and imagery.

Force For Good, founded in 2016, creates short films based on Sprout’s instrumental music, which he calls “New Age Classical.” A team of fellow artist/activists works with Sprout. So far, international film festivals have shown 67 of the films, 19 of which have won awards.

“Our films reflect my belief in the importance of protecting the natural world while promoting gender and racial equality. It’s not just what you do in life, but how you do it,” explains Sprout, a third-generation Bucknellian. “I hope the work my team and I do uplifts the organizations and people who are doing heroic things in the world.”

Sprout has performed more than 6,600 concerts since his first appearance — at Rooke Chapel — and he credits the late Chaplain James Gardner for nudging him onto the stage.

Jonathan Sprout holding his guitar
Photo: Hillary Black
“Twenty-five years of researching and writing about heroes compelled me to become an activist and turn my art and music into something that was a force for good,” says Jonathan Sprout ’74.
“I learned guitar at Bucknell, and the Rev. Gardner encouraged me to play for others,” he says. “He became a big brother/father figure to me. I’d never before met anyone who was so smart and loving.”

After earning his psychology degree, Sprout performed in nightclubs and coffeehouses as a folk singer. His album American Heroes #3 earned a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Album for Children in 2009.

“A hero is someone who’s honest, compassionate, inspiring and generous,” he says.

Passions (2020), his first Force For Good CD of contemplative music, hit No. 2 on the Zone Music Reporter international new age music charts. That was followed by Innocence (2021), which reached No. 4; a third album is planned for next year.