Michael Johnson Photo

Famed entertainer Michael Johnson pairs with MIS orchestra for Valentine's concert

By Lance Coleman
Blount Today
Feburary 16, 2011
Photos By Jolanda Jansma

The MIS Orchestra entertains more than 600 gathered at the Clayton Center for the Arts for a Valentine concert.

Singing with Michael Johnson are Tony Mills, Mark Ross, Joe Robinette, Regina Watson, Jenny Hatten and Kelsey Robinson.

The Maryville Intermediate School Orchestra started what director Bill Robinson hopes will become a tradition with considerable star power.

On Feb. 13, the group performed for their first ever Valentines Day concert under Robinson's direction. "The kids played well, behaved well, and they made me proud," he said.

Guest at the concert was Michael Johnson, famed Top 40 singer who rose to the top of the charts first with "Bluer Than Blue." Johnson also spent some time with the students a couple of weeks before the concert, listening to their music and playing with them as they prepared.

Robinson is a veteran orchestra director who moved from Maryville High School this year. He said he was happy with how the students stepped up during the concert with Johnson.

"It was super. As far as concerts go, it was as an enjoyable a thing as I've done in a long time, if not ever," said Robinson. "Everyone I spoke with enjoyed themselves tremendously. Michael Johnson did a great job, and they enjoyed him as an entertainer."

Robinson said Johnson was great with the students. "He was much older, and you wouldn't think these young kids would be as excited, but they enjoyed playing with him," the orchestra director said.

Robinson said around 620 tickets were sold. "For this type of event, this was a good crowd," he said. "The theater looked comfortably filled," he said.