ROCKPORT — The community is invited at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, to the Rockport Opera House for a celebration of the life of Kathie Johnson, who passed away on Feb. 4. No tickets are required. The musical portion of the service will feature the Vermeer Quartet of Shmuel Ashkenasi and Mathias Tacke, violins; Richard Young, viola and Marc Johnson, cello, who will come out of retirement for the occasion. Also on the program will be Kathie and Marc’s daughters, Kirsten Johnson, violist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Nicole Johnson, cellist with the Cassatt Quartet, and longtime friend Andrea Swan, piano.
Kathie Johnson, a longtime resident of Chicago, spent 35 summers in Maine, and became a full-time resident of Cushing in 2007. She was well known for her association with Bay Chamber Concerts going back more than three decades. Beginning as a performer, then as a coach and a teacher, Johnson was revered as the founder and inspired artistic director of the Next Generation Chamber Music Program which she led for 20 years. With her husband, Marc, who came to Bay Chamber Concerts as the cellist of the resident Vermeer Quartet, she provided guidance for many educational activities. Her insistence on high standards and hard work produced results that were truly remarkable. In part, her energy on behalf of young people and music led to the formation of Bay Chamber’s Community Music School.
Long interested in national politics, Johnson served as chairwoman of the Democratic Committee in Cushing, as well as fundraising chairwoman for the Knox County Democratic Committee. Her community spirit led her to participate in a number of service organizations, notably the Georges River Land Trust, where she was an active member of the Garden Tour Committee. She and Marc shared a passion for gardening, and their garden was featured on the 2010 land trust tour.
All are welcome to join in the celebration of Johnson’s life.