John Denver tribute concert features former band member, Denver’s final, never recorded song

The music of John Denver is like an old friend, outlasting trends and standing the test of time. The greatest hits of this beloved American troubadour will be presented as singer/guitarist Jim Curry joins the Grand Rapids Symphony for its third D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops concert this summer. Two performances of “A Tribute to John Denver” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 26-27 at Cannonsburg Ski Area. Associate Conductor John Varineau will lead the concert.

Fifteen years after John Denver’s passing, Curry carries on his legacy with this symphonic tribute show taking audiences back to a time when “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine,” and “Country Roads” topped the charts.

Curry was chosen as the singing voice of the CBS-TV movie “Take Me Home: The John Denver Story” and has since emerged as the top performer of Denver’s music, presenting some 150 concerts each year. He is not an impersonator, rather he sings in his natural voice. He pays tribute to Denver through the pure honesty of his performance, and his commitment to perpetuate Denver’s positive messages of love, humanity and environmental awareness.

The concert features original orchestrations written for John Denver by Grammy-winning composer Lee Holdridge. Curry’s six-member band includes Denver’s lead guitarist, Steve Weisberg, who recorded on seven of Denver’s nine platinum albums.

Audiences will also have the unique opportunity to hear the last known song written by Denver, “Yellowstone: Coming Home.” The song tells about the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Denver sang this song in a live performance with the Houston Symphony on September 26-28, 1997 and he never had the opportunity to record it. To this day, no professional recording of this song has been released.

“Being a ‘Rocky Mountain boy’ myself, I’m really looking forward to conducting this concert,” said Varineau. “Denver’s songs have entered the great American songbook and linger in the hearts and minds of music lovers everywhere.”

The 18th annual D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops promises to provide some of the best summer entertainment in West Michigan, served family style in a relaxed, natural setting. The grounds open each night at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking, pre-concert entertainment and free children’s activities. Tickets are available at the Cannonsburg box office beginning at 5:30 p.m. each concert evening.

“A Tribute to John Denver” is the third of four concert pairs performed at Cannonsburg Ski Area. The final concert of the season is “Kansas-Live in Concert!” on August 2 and 3.

For more information, visit www.grsymphony.org.

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