KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The music of the late John Denver is like an old friend, outlasting trends and standing the test of time, but that’s not the case with the original John Denver orchestrations, says Jim Curry Music. More than a decade has passed since the music of American composer John Denver has graced the stage of a symphony orchestra with the original orchestrations used by John himself.
The reason for this long absence was that the original orchestration parts had all been destroyed after John’s death in 1997. The only remaining parts left were the original composer scores, written in pencil and safely kept in a vault in California by the composer and arranger, Lee Holdridge. What would posses someone to destroy hundreds of pages of American music history? Especially works that were hand written in the 1970’s at a time when computer written music was not available. One can only guess that the people managing the John Denver estate did not know what they had or how valuable it was.
Not all is lost! When the acclaimed John Denver tribute artist Jim Curry learned that the scores had been destroyed he embarked on a project together with Lee Holdridge that would take nearly eight months. Curry, who’s voice was heard in the CBS-TV movie “Take Me Home: The John Denver Story,” has performed Denver’s music in sold out shows throughout the country and has emerged as today’s top performer of Denver’s vast legacy of multi-platinum hits. To fulfill his desire for John’s music to live again in a symphony performance, Jim had commissioned the orchestra parts to be meticulously extracted from the penciled originals and readied for performance this April 17th 2009 in a world premiere with the Kansas City Symphony.
This unique come-back of America’s Troubadour goes beyond just another tribute. Lee Holdridge himself will be guest conducting the orchestra. The concert will include large screen projections of photos of John Denver’s life and nature scenes to accompany popular songs like “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” “Annie’s Song” and “Country Roads.” John’s original music videos, provided by photographer Lowell Norman will accompany hits like “Calypso,” “Eagle and the Hawk” and “Matthew.”
Special songs like “Yellowstone: Coming Home,” the last known song to have been written by John, will be performed with Lee’s original arrangement. This incredible song had only been performed by John in live performances and to this day has never been recorded. In addition, as if that were not enough, Jim is bringing in John Denver’s band members; world renowned percussionist Richie Gajate Garcia and world champion finger style guitarist Pete Huttlinger. Garcia and Huttlinger will join Jim as part of the six piece band that will perform with the Kansas City Symphony in what is sure to be an amazing moment in music history.
The popularity of this news has spread across the country and Jim will be performing this concert with the Santa Rosa symphony in California, the Phoenix Symphony in Arizona, and the Toledo Symphony in Ohio in 2010. Other symphonies are already lining up into year 2011 to bring in this show to their patrons. Interest has been shown by some prominent Canadian symphonies as well. “It is a testimony to the universal appeal of John’s music all over the world,” Curry said. “From China to England and from the Netherlands to Australia, John’s music is loved by millions.”
Kansas City Symphony: Friday, April 17th, 2009 at 8:00pm www.kcsymphony.org.
More information about Jim Curry: www.jimcurrymusic.com.