Johnson Strings: playing together - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Johnson Strings: playing together

by Sunny Layne

NEW HARTFORD (KWWL) -- In today's fast-paced society, families often struggle to find time together.

To combat that problem, a New Hartford family decided to take matters, or instruments, into their own hands. Members of the Johnson Strings are people you should know.

Like many orchestras, this one starts with a violin tuning, then the violas cellos, bass and piano chime in, but unlike most orchestras, the majority of players here are younger than 17, and all of them are related.

"Hopefully we can inspire someone to start an instrument, work as a family, or get to know siblings better," violinist Karen said.

With Laura on viola, Karen on violin, Luke on viola, Abigail on violin, Seth on cello, Silas on cello, dad Paul on bass, and mom Linda on piano this family makes up the "Johnson Strings."

"Music is just a good way to enjoy life," mother and pianist Linda said.

This artistic adventure began more than 10 years ago as an effort by the parents to unite their children.

"They chose music and they thought that was a really good way so we could play together and perform places," violist Laura said. "They never knew it would turn out like this, though."

Starting with simple music lessons, this group grew to put on more than 70 concerts in 2008 with an average of two performances a week, and a CD.

"The biggest blessing: I'll be able to play music with my grandchildren and perhaps my great grandchildren," father and bass player Paul said.

Family members say the group comes with strings attached, like practicing one and a half hours a day, but they wouldn't have it any other way.

"You have to try over and over to get it right," Laura said. "You can't give up."

"It's neat to have all the children together and performing together," Linda said.

The Johnsons intend to prove the saying "families who play music together stays together."

Home schooling allows the family flexible practice time, which all happens in their house, a renovated barn on which they all worked to remodel together.

To visit Johnson Strings' web site, click here.

Online Reporter:  Sunny Layne

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