Pepper Spotlight: The David Johnson Chorus


The David Johnson Chorus, celebrating their 20th anniversary, is an auditioned community chorus that performs a range of musical programs nationwide appealing to every segment of the population. Musical genres include: classical, a cappella, spirituals, patriotic, sacred harp, Broadway show tunes, Disney songs, pop, and calypso music.

The chorus has established itself as a group of men and women from Northwest Tennessee who sing with a professional sound and a heart that its members, its director and many who hear them define as nothing short of magic.

Although they are headquartered in Dresden, chorus members come from Weakley and several adjoining counties in West Tennessee and West Kentucky to participate. The backgrounds of the amateur chorus members are as varied as one could imagine as are their musical abilities, but this eclectic group is bound together by a love of music and what it can do for the ear and the soul.

The idea of the choir came from Gail Dyer, general manager of the choir, during a steering committee planning session for Dresden High Project Graduation 98 – forming an alumni choir to be part of the event. Gail contacted the former choral director at Dresden High School, David Johnson, as well as former members of the choir under Mr. Johnson to see if there was any interest.  There was plenty of interest and this new community group was born.

The mission of the David Johnson Chorus is simple: To provide people from Northwest Tennessee the opportunity to be part of a quality performing group and to expose them to quality performing arts. To ensure that the magic of this chorus does not end with the original membership, chorus members made a strategic decision to open membership to others who had not been in David Johnson’s high school choruses. The enthusiasm of choir members and audiences alike has been tremendously refreshing and speaks to the fact that people are starving for this type of experience not just in Tennessee and Kentucky, but all across these United States.

The music director of the David Johnson Chorus is David Johnson. Mr. Johnson began his music education at an early age learning to sing parts and read shape notes in singing schools that were a part of his rural Southern landscape in the 50s and 60s. He was leading singing in churches by the age of 10 and constantly listening to recordings of the Robert Shaw Chorale. He remained an avid musician through his school years, singing in the choir, playing in the band, and learning to play the guitar on his own.

Mr. Johnson attended Freed-Hardeman University and the University of Tennessee at Martin majoring in music. This led him to establishing a choral program in Dresden, Tennessee, where he taught for nine years.

Spring 2016 – Celebrating America!  – Color Me Red, White, and Blue!

Disney: Frozen Medley, arr. Mark Brymer; From the 1940’s: You’ll Never Walk Alone/Climb Ev’ry Mountain, arr. Mark Hayes; From The 1950’s : What’d I Say, arr. Kirby Shaw; Can’t Help Falling in Love, arr. Roger Emerson; From the 1960’s: Jersey Boys, arr. Ed Lojeski; Best of the Beach Boys, arr. Ed Lojeski; Bridge Over Troubled Waters, arr. Kirby Shaw; Patriotic: Irving Berlin’s America, arr. Roger Emerson; Song for the Unsung Hero, arr. Joseph M. Martin; American Anthem, arr. John Purifoy; O, America, arr. Roger Emerson; America the Beautiful, arr. John Leavitt; An American Trilogy, arr. Mark Hayes; Armed Forces Salute, arr. Joyce Eilers; God Bless America, arr. Keith Christopher

Christmas 2016 – Come Celebrate Christmas!

Festive Noels, A European Celebration of Christmas, arr. Krogstad; The Polar Express, A Choral Medley, arr. Teena Chinn; It’s The Holiday Season, Medley, arr. Roger Emerson; White Christmas, arr. Jeff Higgs; It’s A Wonderful Christmas, arr. Mark Hayes; See That Star!, arr. Victor C. Johnson; Rise Up!, arr. Mark Hill; Follow That Star, arr. Brian Lewis; Ain’a That Good News Everywhere, arr. Craig Curry; Betelehemu, arr. Barrington Brooks; Ain’t Dat A-Rockin’ All Night?, arr. Paul Carey; What Strangers Are These?, arr. Dan Forrest; Still, Still, Still, arr. Joel Hoelscher; Silent Night, arr. Kaplan, Olusola & Bram; Emmanuel, arr. Gary Rhodes; Angels from the Realms of Glory, arr. Dan Forrest

Spring 2017 – Peace, Love, and Song

Listen to the Music, arr.  Alan Billingsley;  Beatles Love Songs, arr. Ed Lojeski;  Sweet Caroline, arr. Kirby Shaw;  I Will, arr. Kirby Shaw; Seven Bridges Road, arr. Kirby Shaw; Hello, Goodbye, arr. Mac Huff; Summer of ’69  (Songs of Woodstock Medley), arr. Roger Emerson; Heartache Tonight, arr. Greg Gilpin; Tribute to Queen (medley), arr. Mark Brymer; In My Life, arr. Steve Zegree; Put A Little Love in Your Heart, arr. Greg Gilpin; All You Need Is Love, arr. Alan Billingsley; With A Little Help From My Friends, arr. Deke Sharon; A Song For You, arr.  Mac Huff; We’ve Only Just Begun, arr. Rosana Eckert; The Beatles in Revue, arr. Ed Lojeski

Christmas 2017 – Come Celebrate Christmas

Heaven Everywhere, arr. Andy Beck; Christmas In Three Quarter Time, arr. Mark Brymer; Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, arr. Mark Hayes; Here We Come A Caroling, arr. Joyce Eilers; What Christmas Means To Me, arr. Mac Huff; Somewhere In My Memory, arr. Mark Hayes; Appalachian Carols, arr. Gwyneth Walker; O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, arr. Alice Parker and Robert Shaw; Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming, arr. Parker and Shaw; I Saw Three Ships, arr. Parker and Shaw; Christ Was Born On Christmas Day, arr. Parker and Shaw; How Far Is It To Bethlehem, arr. Parker and Shaw; Shepherd’s Joy, arr. John Parker and Mark Hayes; Festive Noels, arr. Bob Krogstad; O Holy Night, arr. Mark Hayes; Mary, Did You Know?, arr.  Roger Emerson; All On A Silent Night, arr. Becki Slagle Mayo; Star of Wonder, arr. Greg Gilpin; The First Noel/Pachelbel’s Canon, arr. Michael Clawson; Sing Joy, arr. Mark Hayes

Spring 2018 – Celebrating 20 Years – Favorites 1998-2018

Symphony of Love, arr. Michael. G. Martin; Beauty and the Beast, arr. Audrey Snyder; Circle of Life, arr. Keith Christopher; When You Believe, arr. Audrey Snyder; Dry Your Tears, Afrika, arr. Audrey Snyder;  On Stage With The Temptations, arr. Alan Billingsley; Queen of Soul, arr. Roger Emerson; You’ll Never Walk Alone/Climb Ev’ry Mountain, arr. Mark Hayes; Richard Rodgers In Concert, arr. Mac Huff; Lord, Take Control, Hymn; Holy Ground, Hymn; Ride the Morning Winds, arr. Grace Hawthorne & Tom Fettke; I’m Going Home, Sacred Harp; Idumea, Sacred Harp; Witness, arr. Jack Halloran; Prayer, arr. Rene Clausen; Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal, arr. Alice Parker; An American Trilogy, arr. Mark Hayes; God Bless America, arr. Keith Christopher; Why We Sing, arr. Greg Gilpin

Shop all of The David Johnson Chorus repertoire

Tom Dean
Tom Dean
Tom Dean is a Choral Editor, and the Elementary and Secondary General Music Editor for J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc. Prior to working for Pepper, Tom taught instrumental and choral music as well as audio engineering at the high school level in the Delaware public schools for 32 years. He is a member of the ACDA and is active in the Delaware Music Educators where he served in numerous positions including President, All-State Coordinator, Technology chair, and Composition chair, and NAfME where he served as Eastern Division President and NEB member. He also was a member of the music writing team that developed the new music standards for the NCCAS project.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here