Roseville-Little Canada Review people - published October 11, 2016

Karen and Joel Johnson

Falcon Heights Church, United Church of Christ, will recognize music director Joel Johnson and organist Karen Johnson Oct. 16 for 50 years of service as the church’s music staff. A luncheon will follow the 10:30 a.m. worship service highlighting the importance of music in the life of the congregation. 

The husband-and-wife team started work at Falcon Heights Church in 1966 and have maintained a strong and vibrant choral program over the years, encompassing both traditional and contemporary worship music. Each December, they present a major classical work performed by the choir and a professional orchestra. About 275 people attend each year, and Joel says choir members build skills that benefit the congregation all year.

The Johnsons are retired public school music educators who taught for 30 years in Roseville schools, Karen as an elementary music teacher and accompanist for high school musicians, and Joel as high school choir director. He was named the Minnesota state high school choir director of the year in 1993. 

Both were part of the New Hampshire Music Festival for 50 years, Joel as conductor of its 120-voice Symphonic Chorus and Karen as librarian, pianist, organist and harpsichordist. For the past 18 years, Joel has conducted and Karen has accompanied the Roseville String Ensemble’s annual Community Carol Sing-along, which attracts about 400 people each year. 

Former choir members and current and former colleagues are invited to RSVP to Sue Nelson, 651-645-8200, for the luncheon. The church is located at 1795 Holton St. in Falcon Heights.

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