Kelowna holiday concert pays tribute to music of John Denver

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While some people dream of sugar plum fairies or even a white Christmas, a concert in Kelowna celebrates John Denver, bringing a little folk-country to the holiday season – Nov 24, 2019

The unmistakable picking of a guitar that flows through Take Me Home, Country Roads rings through the rehearsal studio space for the Rocky Mountain High Band as they prepare their holiday tribute concert for John Denver.

Alongside Denver’s original conductor and arranger, Lee Holdridge, the band will be flanked by the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and a youth choir to bring Denver’s hits back to life.

“When I first thought of it (the show) I went looking for the actual symphony scores and discovered I couldn’t find them anywhere,” said Rick Worrall, A Rocky Mountain Christmas producer.

“So we spent 18 months reconstructing John’s (Denver) original arrangements from Mr. Holdridges’ handwritten conductor scores.”

Worrall says the search for the scores was unsuccessful because after Denver died in a plane crash in 1997, his manager did not want to pay library fees to store them and destroyed the scores.

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“Lee (Holdridge) was very at first very nervous about that we got those guitar parts right because he has done these kinds of gigs before with other incarnations and the guitar players never got John’s (Denver) parts right,” said Steve Worrall, musician.

“It doesn’t get old, there’s an innocence to it that didn’t even really belong in our society in the 70s and it doesn’t even really belong … now but it’s important music.”

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A Rocky Mountain High Christmas will be at the Kelowna Community Theatre Nov. 28, 29 and 30, tickets are available at

A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Okanagan Boys & Girls Clubs and donations of non-perishable food items for the food bank will also be welcomed at the doors.