Updated: Dec 22, 2019
The annual Kate L. Schubert award, given to membership or volunteers that show extraordinary dedication to the group through selfless service, has a new recipient:
Joshua Johnson of the Bass section!
In a recent interview, Josh helped put things in perspective by telling us a little about himself, as well as to why WE is near and dear to his heart:
1. Tell us a little about your musical upbringing. Having a Dad as choir director has made choir a constant in my life since before I could even remember. I grew up singing in choirs in the Cloverpark School District, graduating from Lakes High School where I sang with Dr. Ben Keller. After High School, I moved on to Pierce College where I sang in the Concert and Chamber Choirs as well as Farwest Jazz, under the direction of Kelly Kunz and Evin Lambert. I then transferred to Central Washington University, where I majored in Choral Music Education and Voice Performance. I sang under the direction of Dr. Scott Peterson, Vijay Singh, and Dr. Gary Weidenaar while studying voice with Dr. Gayla Blaisdell. I had the opportunity at Central to partake in both the Choir and Opera programs. Some highlights include touring through Northern Spain with the CWU Chamber choir when we competed with choirs from around the world at the 2015 47th Tolosa Choral Contest, taking part in several recording sessions for the CWU Chamber Choir Music Videos featured on Youtube including a live concert featuring the music of Ola Gjeilo, and performing in the Marriage of Figaro and the Magic Flute with the CWU Opera program. I graduated from Central in the Spring of 2018 and am currently in my second year of teaching choir at Steilacoom High School. I plan to continue my education this next school year by pursuing my Masters for voice performance. 2. When did you realize that music was your passion? Music has always been a big part of my life, so it is hard to remember exactly. It wasn't until I started singing in choir in High School when I started feeling very connected to the music we were singing, unlike I had in the past. It moved me emotionally at a deep level, giving me a sense of self expression and personal fulfillment. It is around this time that choral music became a strong passion for me. 3. What or who helped foster your love for singing? After graduating from High School, I joined the Army National Guard while attending college. I was deployed to Afghanistan for the year of 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Our job over there was to clear the roadways of Improvised Explosive Devices, basically homemade bombs, so that personnel could travel safely over the road. One night, our platoon was out on mission and took on major damage to our vehicles from explosions, forcing us to stay the night out on the battlefield until we could get crews out there to aid us in getting out of there. We individually pulled guard shift multiple times through the night and during that time I started to listen to choral music to put my mind at ease. I realized that night on guard shift that I wanted to do nothing but music for the rest of my life. Before that moment, music and choir had always been activities that I had done but not thought much about. That night brought about a new found passion in music that fueled my drive going forward. 4.What brought you to WE? I share the same Alma Mater with Evan Norberg and had met him at past music conferences/CWU events. At these events, he talked about this choir program he was creating which sparked my interest. I had also gone to CWU with past members of Wellspring and heard them speak so highly of their experience. When I came back to the Westside after graduating from Central, I was eager to be a part of a community as well as continue to sing in choir. Wellspring was a perfect fit for both.
5. How has WE continued to inspire you?
Wellspring has been so enriching for me both musically and personally. Singing with this group has given me a strong sense of community, artistic fulfillment, and life long bonds with other members of the group. When you are a part of this ensemble, you feel loved, supported, and appreciated, giving you a sense of warmth in your life. Just as fulfilling as singing in the ensemble are nights after rehearsal where we go out and socialize as a group, adding so much more to the experience beyond music. I truly love this group and am excited to be a part of what is in store for its ever growing future.
Thank you Josh for your continued service and membership. WE loves you!