He said that there were a lot of kids from Hendricks who sang better than he did, but Marcus Johnson made music his career.
The Buffalo Ridge Chorale will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday, at the United Methodist Church in Hendricks. Johnson, a longtime music teacher who is originally from Hendricks, will do a solo to "I Ain't Got Time to Die."
Roberta Trooien, one of the Chorale members, said that Johnson had gone to school with a few of the members and remembered what a fine musician he was.
"In addition, through his work at Groth Music, he has been very helpful to the Chorale in choosing repertoire," Trooien said. "He is a great Hendricks supporter. In the past few years he has come to Hendricks and sung solos for the Syttende Mai celebration."
Johnson said that music was part of the elementary school curriculum back when he went to school, having a singing time. He took trombone lessons from Otto Sorenson, the town's band director at the time.
"For a small town, we always had a lot of kids in choir, many a lot better than me," Johnson said. He went to Augsburg College in Minneapolis, majoring in music. Johnson taught public school music for three decades, the first five years in Winthrop and then 25 years in Coon Rapids. He's spent 47 years at the Groth Music Company in Bloomington, helping orchestra, band and choral directors plan their students' courses. He still sings in a 55-voice Christian men's chorus in the Twin Cities area.
Johnson had recently completed a round of chemotherapy to get rid of a brain tumor. It was his second bout with cancer in 10 years.
"I finished my chemo and radiation May 1," he said. "Had an MRI on May 23 which showed no new activity." He's back on chemo pills on a 28-day cycle, five days on, nine off, five on, nine off for 56 days, looking for strays, he said. Then he'll have another MRI, hoping for another good report.
Johnson said he's been familiar with the Chorale's music by watching it perform on DVD.
"(I) enjoyed it a lot, fun group," Johnson said. He said he received an email from Trooien inviting him to be a part of Sunday's concert.
When he comes back to his hometown, Johnson said he touches base with relatives and friends while staying at his sister's cabin.
Johnson said he had the song "I Ain't Got Time to Die" in mind when Trooien had asked him to be in the concert. The connection with his physical situation was purely coincidental.
"I have done it (the song) before, way back in my college days," Johnson said.