Who doesn’t know iconic folk artist John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads or Rocky Mountain High?
Now’s your chance to hear these classics and many more, performed live and staying true to their original arrangements!
“I think it’s important to keep John’s music legacy alive, especially today!” says show producer Rick Worrall. “This concert series is a true celebration of his music and the incredible legacy of songs he left us.”
Worrall is a Canadian recording artist who, along with his brother Steve Worrall, and Grammy and Emmy award-winning conductor and arranger Lee Holdridge, started performing the concert series in 2018.
“My brother and I cut our teeth on John Denver and other folk artists like Cat Stevens and James Taylor,” Worrall says. “His voice was so pure and honest and his lyrics so poignant. In 1975 I saw him perform with a full symphony at the CNE in Toronto. He was at the height of his career, and as a kid, it left such an impression on me!”
Worrall says he was inspired to create this kind of show after doing a fill-in performance for an Elton John celebration with symphony in Kelowna. “I really enjoyed it, and I couldn’t stop thinking about doing the same thing with John Denver’s music. After a google search for Lee Holdridge, I reached out to him with my idea. He was John’s arranger/conductor and loved the idea. So, we worked together, painstakingly a little at a time, ‘rescuing’ John’s entire library of songs from Lee’s handwritten conductor scores.”
Unlike other tributes trying to emulate Denver’s look and voice, this production focuses on his incredible legacy of songs.
“My voice is similar in character to John’s, but I’m not impersonating him,” Worrall says. “There was only one John Denver! Instead, we give the audience an opportunity to let go and simply enjoy the music and Lee Holdridge’s arrangements.
“It’s important to note that Lee is a legend himself – he continues working in Hollywood, writing movie scores, and developing operas, and often quips he’s ‘still working for John.’”
For this tour, each show features the Worrall brothers, accompanied by eight core players, and a small ensemble of players from various symphonies from across B.C.
“It truly amazes me how John’s music transcends time,” Worrall says. “Back in the ’70s there was no TikTok or YouTube, but he was still known around the world and reaching number one artist three years in a row. During our recent Christmas tour, after our show in Edmonton, a young boy about 11 years old came up to me all starry-eyed and said, ‘I just love John Denver!’ Now that’s what it’s all about!”
As well as being a world-renowned artist, John Denver was an environmentalist and philanthropist, and to honour that part of his legacy, a portion of the proceeds from Rocky Mountain High – Celebrating the Music of John Denver will go to HOPE International.