Backstage at the Reif Center
Darrel & Katy Johnson
The beating heart of the Reif Center is the incredible performances that happen week after week. These performances wouldn’t be possible without our audiences! But among these audience members there are some who we see more often than others, and Darrel & Katy Johnson are here for nearly every show. Maybe you’ve seen them a time or two? We sat down to talk to them about why they are committed to The Reif Center.
To meet more “Backstage” personalities at the Reif Center, visit our blog at reifcenter.org.
Katie: So,w ho are you?
Katy: Katy and Darrel Johnson.
Katie: And where are you from?
Darrel: Our address is Tamarack, but we live just about halfway between Tamarack and McGregor in a rural area.
Katie: What’s your affiliation with the Reif Center?
Katy: Well, we enjoy coming to the shows. We’ve been coming for four or five years now.
Katie: Is that all, really? Four or five years?
Katy: I think so.
Darrel: Well, it might have been longer. We talked about it, but I can’t remember when we started here. It’s been at least five years.
Katie: Can you think of the first thing you saw that brought you to the Reif Center?
Katy: Louie Anderson. We saw an advertisement for Louie Anderson, and that’s why we came.
Darrel: And never quit!
Katie: What’s your drive time?
Darrel: I’d say and hour and fifteen minutes
Katie: One way?
Darrel & Katy: Yep.
Katie: And you attend how many performances?
Darrel: Virtually all of them, and we usually enjoy eating at the Forest Lake before the show.
Katie: And you also attend local theater and music events outside the Reif Center series?
Darrel & Katy: Oh, yes.
Katie: You didn’t mention that in addition to attending performances at the Reif Center, you also support the organization through contributions to the Annual Fund and recently the Capital Fund.
Darrel: Yes, we sponsored one of the dance studios (Studio B) during the renovation, so we make sure we come and see the dance performances.
Katie: What do you think of our dancers?
Darrel: They’re so good!
Katy: We LOVE them! The students are so talented and we just love those little ones. They’re so cute.
Katie: Why is the Reif Center important to you?
Katy: I think it’s a good community program, especially for the kids.
Darrel: And for us, you wouldn’t see any of the variety presented here anywhere else that I know of.
Katie: What did you do with your time before coming to the Reif? (You must have had a lot of free time!)
Katy: Oh, I don’t know. We’ve always gone to different music stuff. We enjoy county and bluegrass.
Katie: So music has always been important. Are either of you musicians?
Katy: No, we’re the “Professional Listeners.”
Katie: Do you ever wish you could play?
Katy: Not really. We just really like listening and watching.
Katie: What are some of the most memorable performances you’ve seen at the Reif Center?
Katy: Dailey & Vincent and the Rock and Roll Xmas Show – we love that. And the ballets, we go to all of those.
Darrel: The Rock and Roll Xmas Show isn’t what you think of just because of the name. They do a real good job balancing what they put on. It’s quite a spectacle!
Katie: Have you seen any performances that didn’t excite you?
Darrel: Not really. Maybe one where the sound just wasn’t right.
Katie: How do you feel about the Reif Center post-renovation? What are the things you like most?
Darrel: The lobby is the best!
Katy: And the Lakewood Café is a really nice set-up. And of course the bathrooms are nice too.
Darrel: And I told David when you renovated, “Don’t ruin the sound.” And they didn’t.
Katie: What are “your seats?”
Katy: E24 & 25.
Darrel: Next year I’m going to move a little because when you’re on the left you can always see the keyboard of the piano player. So, I think we’ll be in E – that’s the right height up from the stage, but more towards the break in the seats.
Katie: What else do you have to say about the Reif?
Darrel: Well you can ask us about the personnel! And the personnel are real good, especially knowing them now through the years.
Katy: Everyone is friendly and real helpful.
Darrel: We like to visit with them.
Katie: If you could request to see one performer at the Reif Center, who would you pick?
Katy: We really enjoyed Wynonna Judd and Kathy Mattea. We would see them again.
Darrel: It would be great to see Bill & Kate Isles at the Reif, or Derek and Sarah Birkeland. They play often with the band Porcupine Creek.
Katie: Coming here for so many performances, do you meet new people, or notice different people here to see different acts?
Katy: It’s interesting because we always have the same seats, but there are usually new people sitting around us. There are some people that sat in our row that we got acquainted with – they sit to the left of us. It’s kind of fun!