Artist-in-Residence Jarrett Johnson
By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
Grammy award winner works with Middle and Upper School students.
The 2020–2021 pandemic year wasn’t all bad. In fact, thanks to canceled tours and performances, it brought a rare and extraordinary opportunity for 10-time Grammy award winner Jarrett Johnson to spend time on campus as LJCDS’ artist-in-residence.
Johnson is a professional singer, songwriter and producer who met Caroline Becker, Middle and Upper School choral and musical director, over eight years ago at a summer choral workshop.
Both virtually and in-person, he worked with composition classes in Middle School and both concert choir and the Madrigals in the Upper School.
In addition to helping students with their singing voices, Johnson focused on how their voices could make a difference in/with social justice. Songs were intentionally chosen to share the history of Black culture through music.
“The arts play a pivotal role in healing this country,” shares Johnson. “If these young people can understand just how important and how loudly their voices will ring, then I believe that generations down the road will see vast improvements in our society—more love, more tolerance, more willingness to accept people for who they are. They can really impact the world for the better.”
At this year’s Blue Bash, LJCDS’ annual fundraiser, Johnson performed with the Madrigals. One of the songs, Lift Every Voice And Sing, was the arrangement that Johnson was nominated for a Grammy. Students sang in Swahili for Baba Yetu, a traditional prayer song, and performed the Doobie Brothers’ Takin’ It to the Streets, a song about bringing a message directly to the people.