Talented bass player resonates with Carmel music community

Senior Joe Johnsson plays bass with his band of students at the Barnyard. Courtesy of JOE JOHNSSON.

BY JACK CORDELL

Hundreds of people excitedly stomp and clap to the rhythm musically talented student Joe Johnsson strums out on guitar at the Shoe Game rally in the Carmel High School gym.

The CHS senior is a consistently active participant in his school’s music department as president of Singer-Songwriters’ Guild and a member of Music Student Council. The talented performer also proves to be a major musical influence in Carmel as a working musician.

One of the two equipment managers for concert band as well as a leader of the percussion section, Johnsson constantly displays a role of leadership in his school.

CHS concert band and orchestra teacher Brian Handley takes note of Johnsson’s prominent role as a musical leader.

“He loves to contribute,” Handley says. “He will do whatever he needs to do to make things happen for other people, and that’s one of the things I love and respect about Joe. He is the ultimate team player.”

As president of Singer-Songwriters’ Guild, Johnsson has taken sole responsibility for the club after last year’s co-presidents graduated.

Singer-Songwriters’ adviser and musician Marc Stafford has witnessed Johnsson’s ability to lead the club to flourish over the year.

“He has really taken charge, and I think he has learned the challenges of leadership and the benefits of flexibility,” Stafford says. “He has been growing into that position over the year which has been really neat to see.”

As a four-year member, Johnsson feels some responsibility for the club’s shows.

“I feel obligated to front this club and make things happen,” Johnsson says. “I have a lot of fun stuff planned for this year that should leave quite the impact on the club.”

Outside of school, Johnsson is regularly working on his career as a musician.

The bass player recently began playing upright bass as a student member of the group of teachers playing bluegrass music, including his Singer-Songwriters’ Guild adviser.

“Joe’s chops are legit, and he is fun to play music with,” Stafford says. “He’s got a great attitude, a good hang and he’s super talented.”

Stafford is not alone in his praise for Johnsson’s talents. As the young musician’s musical mentor, Dennis Murphy believes that Johnsson is a natural-born musician with a wealth of musical tastes and knowledge.

“Joe has shown the kind of dedication that brings one to an undeniable level of musicianship,” Murphy says. “Not only has he become one of the best bass players in my world, but he is also one of the strongest singers I have ever met.”

Johnsson’s membership in his band has connected him with his community as well as his musical pursuit.

“We have this band that gets hired by venues,” Johnsson says. “We get to play music while these people party and have fun, and we, as young musicians, are getting to go out and learn so much.”