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Life is Hard
Carol of the Bells
It’s an Irish Christmas! The grand hall of the Saints Center is alive with the rollicking dancing sound of music. The restored “Most Beautiful Church in Iowa” graces the frosty winterscape of Stuart, Iowa. Built in the Byzantine and Romanesque style, the cathedral was destroyed by an arsonist in 1995. The ashen walls of the historical church were given a second chance when the community of Stuart, led by Dick Doherty, rallied to preserve this gorgeous part of their identity. “Hark how the bells, hear how the bells…” The Johnson Strings’ rendition of Carol of the Bells is a fresh and charming interpretation of an old familiar carol.
Experience the open beauty of the windswept Loess Hills as a band of musicians journey through rolling hills, prairie grasslands, and lush forests, converging in a race against time. This rollicking, yet at times plaintive, Irish melody is irresistible in its invitation: join the music!
Bordering much of the western edge of the state of Iowa, and extending down into Missouri, the Loess hills are crowned with abundant oak and hickory hardwood forests. Natural prairie carpets the hillside while eagles soar above. The hills are a glorious testimony to the beauty of God’s creation.
We Three Kings
Filmed in the grand Paramount Theatre, The Johnson Strings bring a virtuosic level of polish and sophistication to this treasured Christmas carol. The ornate molding and opulent styling of the theater mirrors the message of the song: “We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we travel afar…star with royal beauty bright, guide us to thy Perfect Light”.
Built with flair and extravagance, the Paramount Theatre is a gorgeous example of the 1920’s architecture. The restored theater, located in Cedar Rapids, IA, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and hosts many gala concerts and events.
The history of this song has as diverse a background as the theatre! The life story of composer and lyricist John Henry Hopkins, Jr. (1792 – 1868) included law school, journalism for a New York newspaper, and ministry as a deacon and pastor in the Episcopal Church. He also became an author, editor, illustrator, designer, and music teacher. His most beloved carol, We Three Kings, was penned for a Christmas pageant for his nephews and nieces, after which it garnered widespread popularity, firmly establishing it as a traditional holiday favorite throughout the years.
The joy of a newborn baby. The prophecy of a predestined death. A King in the hands of traitorous men. All merge in a compelling song of truth, pain, and sacrificial love. The Johnson Strings’ powerful rendition of “Mystery” draws the listener into the musical experience, as the song brings the deep eternal meaning of Christmas into focus. Set in a beautiful grove of spruce and pines, the music swirls through the fog and glowing lights, notes hanging in the chill winter air.
Buckle your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen! This hard-driving fiddle tune will take you on an unforgettable ride. The Johnson Strings put their unique twist on this authentic bluegrass tune with their fancy licks, furious fiddling, and driving rhythm. Although this piece has long been buried under endless scores of old time, folk, and mountain music songs, this musical powerhouse is pure fiddling at its best.
This tight-knit American family ensemble tours the US to outstanding audience reception. The dynamic interaction between siblings is evident as each inspires the other to aim higher. Music explodes from violins, violas, cellos, piano, bass, mandolin, and banjo while The Johnson Strings’ engaging stage presence captures the attention of both young and old. Catch their live show for an unforgettable evening of classical, bluegrass and gospel!
The Hallelujah Chorus
Winner of the 2015 BEST MUSIC VIDEO at the Christian Worldview Film Festival in San Antonio, Texas!
The powerful chords of the Hallelujah Chorus from George Friedrich Handel’s Messiah echo through the stone-walled courtyards and arches of this Gothic estate. This university trained, Christian family band tours the US, creating an unforgettable musical show that brings audiences to their feet night after night. The Johnson Strings' orchestral presentation of this timeless piece evokes a spirit of true worship: “Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.” Set in scenic Fox River Grove, IL, the Bettendorf Castle, built by the hands of one man, calls to mind visions of a greater heavenly mansion. Join us in the universal Christmas tradition of enjoying G. F. Handel’s Messiah!
He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
Snap your fingers along with The Johnson Strings as they sing this barbershop favorite – He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands! Shot while the stunning fall foliage of Backbone State Park was at its height, these family singers deliver tight harmony amidst the plunging sinkholes, rugged cliffs, and golden leaves of God’s creation. Although hardly ever seen without their acoustic stringed instruments, it’s a whole ‘nother world of sound exploring a capella! If you love folk, traditional, gospel, or barbershop, this arrangement is right up your alley.
The Johnson Strings perform this dramatic rendition of Monti’s Czardas in the rugged bluffs and rolling hills of Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Camdenton, MO. The Johnson Strings are a professionally trained touring family ensemble of eight from New Hartford, IA.
According to local folklore, Ha Ha Tonka is an Osage Indian word for laughing waters, alluding to the springs in the gorge far below the castle. This American mansion was built by Robert M. Snyder, a wealthy Kansas City businessman, on more than 5,000 acres. Construction began in 1905 only to be halted a year later with the untimely death of Snyder in one of the state's first automobile accidents. Snyder's sons finished building their father's dream, eventually leasing the property out for use as a hotel, until tragedy struck in 1942. The entire interior was consumed by fire when sparks from a chimney ignited the roof. Today only ruins remain of one man’s dream.
I Will Sing of the Mercies with The Brandenburg Concerto
Granny, Does Your Dog Bite?
Theme from Schindler's List
Director of Photography for all music videos - Laura Johnson