Michael Johnson concert to raise money for library

Michael Johnson concert to raise money for library addition

Publish Date: 3/9/2010
By Shelley Widhalm
Loveland Reporter-Herald

As a Colorado native, singer-songwriter Michael Johnson is always looking for a reason to do a show here.

Ted Schmidt, director of the Loveland Public Library, has a reason to invite Johnson to the Rialto Theater on Thursday: a fundraiser for the librarys building expansion and renovation project.

Hes a remarkable guitarist and singer, said Schmidt, a longtime fan of Johnsons music. He really likes to connect with his audience whether he has a full orchestra behind him or hes playing solo.

Johnson originally was scheduled to play at the Rialto in October, but he came down with the shingles and had to reschedule the concert.

I had to cancel my whole tour, Johnson said. I want to make this up and do a good show.

Proceeds from An Evening with Michael Johnson, along with a silent auction, will help the Friends of the Library reach the $2 million goal the city is requiring of the group for a 27,000-square-foot addition to the library building. So far, the Friends have raised $1.367 million and have until the end of the year to come up with the rest.

The project will cost $9.4 million, of which $7.4 will be funded by the city of Loveland.

We do want to move on and get the project under way, Schmidt said.

The evening will include complimentary wine and a chocolate buffet, as well as a silent auction of fine art featuring sculpture and paintings by nationally known artists Clyde Aspevig, Charles Cross, Richard Schmid and George Walbye.

Johnson, who lives in Nashville, will be playing solo in a two-hour concert.

Its a one-man show. I try to be the band, Johnson said.

Johnson began singing and playing guitar at age 13, when he came down with pneumonia. His father bought a guitar for him and his brother, who had broken his leg at the same time, as a way for the two to pass the time, he said.

I loved the sound and the feel, Johnson said.

Johnson, who was born in Alamosa and raised in Denver, received his music education at Colorado State University and in Barcelona, Spain, with classical guitar master Graciano Tarrago.

In 1964 while he was in college, Johnson won an international folk singing contest with the first prize a record deal with Epic Records.

In 1970, he signed with Atlantic Records. He has produced 10 albums in three decades and has several No. 1 hits in country, pop and rhythm and blues.

I love to perform and to see whether or not I can move people, Johnson said.

Its become my emotional outlet. Its a wonderful language, and its contagious.

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