Children’s performer with positive message to visit four area schools

Children’s performer and recording artist Carol Johnson of Grand Rapids will give multiple concerts next week in four area elementary schools in conjunction with Earth Day on April 22.

Johnson brings her Music with a Message to Alpena through the sponsorship of Wayne and Karen McWilliams of McWilliams Funeral Home, Inc. Her scheduled stops include:

  • April 22 Ella White Elementary, programs at 12:45 and 1:45 p.m.
  • April 23 Besser Elementary, programs at 9 a.m. and 10:10 a.m.
  • April 24 Bingham Arts Academy, program at 9:30 a.m.
  • April 24 Lincoln Elementary, program at 2:30 p.m.

Johnson provides an energetic “life skills” participation program that draws forth and celebrates the best in everyone. Self-esteem, respect for the Earth and each other, health of body and spirit, peace, cooperation and just plain fun all are presented in the context of delightful lyrics, catchy tunes, humor and love.

As a musician, she accompanies her songs with guitar, banjo and piano.

Johnson has been an active performer most of her life, playing guitar and singing since childhood with four sisters throughout her native Wisconsin, and earning a degree in music from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. She participated in the college “coffee house” scene and was a “peace troubadour” in the 1960s in New York City.

She then began a career of solo club work in Nashville, Tenn., where she moved primarily as a songwriter. Her current passion and focus of uplifting children’s and family music began and blossomed as she raised her own two children.

In addition to nationwide appearances at thousands of schools, libraries, festivals, camps, churches and conferences, she has sung at the Grand Ole Opry, at Wolf Trap International Children’s Festivals, has been featured with the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Meijer Gardens Summer Family Series and with the St. Cecelia Music Society Youth Choirs.

Shortly after the Berlin Wall fell, she was privileged to take her songs and song-leading talents to Russia. More recently she led songs of peace at Corrymeela, a center for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Through a series of songwriting sessions with children in “high risk” neighborhoods in her hometown, she and the children created songs of peace, which became her latest CD, “Circle of Peace.”

Hundreds of thousands of children have enjoyed her popular Music with a Message assembly programs in elementary schools. She has produced seven recordings (four especially for kids) and three songbooks of original works.