I’m thankful for…
Mr. Johnson was my 8th and 9th grade chorus teacher. He was lively and loved by everyone. My first year in chorus, I was an alto, the second, a soprano 2. I could never figure out how I switched ranges like that, but that’s where he put me, and he was the expert.
Not many things have an effect on my mood like music. Music is a safe medicine with only good side effects. Even if a song makes me sad, it brings me to a place that I may need to be to think about a problem, or to admit to my weariness. Music allows me to face it and keep it alive until it fades, or lessens, or feels more manageable.
Music can promote happiness, anticipation, surprise, wonder, relaxation, love, and hope. The music that has had my attention lately is that music that I helped make in Junior High Chorus.
Our young group was expertly led by the wondrous Mr. Johnson. I remember thinking back then that he took his job and responsibilities for an unsettled and restless group of adolescents very seriously. I knew it then, but appreciate it so much more now.
He had a friend who had recording equipment and agreed to record our concerts. I have two cherished chorus albums that I have been toting around with me for close to 40 years. The last 20, they’ve been in a suit case in my garage waiting for the right moment to be played again to nurture my spirit. I recently took them out and played them over and over while puttering around at home. Listening to each song evokes memories of all of the hours of practice and enjoyment Mr. Johnson created, and the victory I felt individually and collectively when we mastered a song and moved on to a new one. He even told us once that we sounded like The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. That was quite a complement.
My old school recently put me in contact with him at my request. We’ve emailed back and forth several times about transferring these precious albums onto CD’s and he offered to do this for me. Soon, I’ll be able to take them along with me in the car.
I made it a point to thank him profusely for the joy he created back then and how it continues to be felt now.
Chorus was the only class I didn’t day dream in. There’s nothing like the arts to set your mind, body and soul adrift, matching the beauty of the art at hand.
Thank you for the treasured memories, Mr. Johnson.