By August of 2008, things weren't looking so bright for beloved musician and music teacher Jan Johansson. "At that point," explains his friend and former student Lennie Green, "it seemed clear that Jan ultimately would need a heart transplant to survive." The grim realization of the medical costs, emotional strife and physical limitations that might entail for Jan and his wife, Theresa, could have been paralyzing. But help came. Says Green, "A group of their friends, composed of students and fellow musicians, decided to provide financial and spirit-lifting support by putting on a benefit concert."
This event marks the fifth time the community has gathered in support of the couple, who now have something monumental to celebrate; as of March 19th, Johansson is the proud owner of a new heart. After struggling with his ticker for more than 10 years, the new heart is a promising restart, but it's clear, at least metaphorically, that the old one had its merits. "Jan and Theresa are two of the most loving and generous people on earth," says Green. "Helping give back to them is a great feeling, and the music and fellowship that surrounds the benefit concerts is always uplifting." Beyond just being a great cause, the event will also feature a cadre of North Carolina bluegrass talent, including Tommy Edwards, Joe Newberry, Julie Elkins, Danny Gotham, Lindsey Tims, David Tate and even a chance for you to get in on the action during the informal jam sessions. —Ashley Melzer