Controlling the Nerds (Click Here for More)

29 March 2022

One Eye on Jim, The Other on Conductor Lee Holdridge

This past month, we were honored to perform our John Denver tribute show with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.  This is the 2nd time we’ve been asked to perform with the BPO –  and it was just as amazing as the first time (several years ago).  Performing with a Symphony Orchestra has GOT to be the highlight of most musicians’ careers.  It certainly has been for me.  Anyone who has mastered their instrument to the level that they are in a Symphony Orchestra is someone that has worked hard, practiced long hours and sacrificed much to become a true professional at the top of their field.  To be perfectly clear, we are performing WITH the Symphony, not IN the symphony…symphony musicians are on another level far and above what we do and we are lucky to have the opportunity to do a show with them.

It’s thrilling and intimidating!  When I stand on the stage with the orchestra, I am a jumbled bag of emotions, it feels as if parts of my personality are trying to break out and take over, while I struggle to hold it together and ‘BE’ a professional.  There’s no time for me to geek out and no room for fear or high emotions.

Here’s what’s happening with my personalities:

  • The Music Nerd: I’m actually on stage with an orchestra!  I love to hear the music swell all around me and feel it in my feet.  In fact, I’d love to lay down on the stage and feel it through my whole body….is that weird?
  • The John Denver Nerd:  Hearing the orchestra play the exact notes that Lee Holdridge wrote for John Denver, brings such a strong sense of nostalgia as a John Denver fan.  Knowing John himself loved singing with an orchestra makes me feel so happy and sad and wistful and joyful… I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
  • The Hospitality Nerd: I know there must be other John Denver Nerds out in the audience enjoying John Denver’s Music with a Symphony Orchestra.  It gives my ‘hostess’ side great satisfaction.  I enjoying watching the audience enjoying the music!
  • The Spiritual Nerd: This is magical, it’s surreal.  I can’t believe I’m here!
  • The Mandolin Nerd: Oh God, this is the most pressure I’ve ever had to keep my mandolin in tune!

Through it all, I must keep calm and be a professional.  The job cannot be done properly if I let the ‘nerds’ take control.  Don’t be scared, don’t be intimidated…deliver the BEST music with the BEST musicians to the BEST audience and everything will be okay.  Oh, and don’t lay down on the stage….not cool.

I’m sorry that we are not allowed to take pictures of the symphony (a big union no no) or video (even bigger no no).  We did get a surprise after the show when a group of young men approached us at the meet-and-greet and asked for pictures and autographs.  We don’t see many youngsters at our concerts so we were very happy they stayed around to introduce themselves.  They are a group of friends and pilots (some are pilots and some studying to become pilots).  Some from Buffalo and some out of State.  They took the opportunity to get together at our concert and hear music they love written by a pilot they admire…..

Jim Curry With a Group of Young Pilots and John Denver Fans!

Comments

  1. Posted by: Carolyn Churchill

    You deserve “all the feels” – especially after nearly 2 years of a performance drought. Thanks for sharing, so we can feel it with you. I’d lay down on that stage with you, and perhaps shed a tear of joy and sorrow. But first let me geek out – Lee Holdridge (OMG) !!

    PS. I’ve got my tickets, plane & hotel reservations set – see you at the Big Top Chautauqua in Bayfield WI in June – more OMG !!! (I’m a Jim & Ann Curry nerd after all). And a fan of Tent Show Radio on NPR.

  2. Posted by: Anne

    Haha! What a pair we would make Carolyn! Laying on the stage enjoying the symphony!! Maybe you’ve just created a new interactive musical experience!! Genius! I’ll be looking for you in Bayfield!

  3. Posted by: Maggie

    How about coming to Boone, NC this summer. It gets in the 60’s at night even in August.

  4. Posted by: Anne

    Boone sounds great! I would have to contact a venue there and see if they are interested in bringing us out for a show!

  5. Posted by: Lynn James

    Anne,
    I am the Denver and Jim Curry fan who spoke to you in Buffalo after the Friday concert. I saw Jim both times he was here in Buffalo. Although I was never able to see John Denver, I swear, I feel that I am in his presence when Jim and you are up on stage especially with the BPO. I have been harmonizing with John’s songs and singing them since the 70’s. He will always be in my heart! One of my bucket list items is to see his memorial garden in Aspen. Hopefully, I will get there! I am a young 72 so it is possible. Good luck to both of you. I am sure more concerts will be forthcoming. By the way, Boone, NC is great. Also consider Asheville too. Lots of Boomers there. I lived there for 12 years. Great city!!

  6. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Lynn, thank you for writing with your suggestions! I will contact as many as I can (they decide which bands perform in their venues). Thank you for attending both times we were in Buffalo and I hope you get out to Aspen, it’s so beautiful!

  7. Posted by: Steve Seufert

    I always enjoy reading your blog, Ann. One of my highlights and knowing you and Jim was seeing you play with the orchestra in Irvine California a number of years ago. That is where I met Pete Huttlinger. However, my highlight and knowing you was flying out to Aspen for the 10 year anniversary of John Denvers passing. Had the chance to meet a lot of people associated with John including his mother and brother. An amazing time!

  8. Posted by: Anne

    Hi STEVE!! We miss Pete so much! We are glad to have had many opportunities to see you over the years, but it’s been too long!! I hope we have another chance in the near future to make some more memories with you!

  9. Posted by: Lynn James

    I forgot to add, I was overjoyed that Jim sang the trio of songs that included Perhaps Love and For You. Both were sung at my wedding 17 years ago and For You is our song. We have a CD of our wedding songs and frequently play our song on special occasions in the car when driving out to dinner and such, or on vacations. I don’t know why For You didn’t become more popular. It is so beautiful!! Since it was written later, I’m guessing he wrote it for his second wife. We are such romantics!!

  10. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Lynn James – yes you are correct – John wrote “For You” for Cassandra, his second wife.

  11. Posted by: Kathy

    Saw your show way back when in Kansas City area with Lee Holdridge and symphony. It may have been your first show with a symphony.
    Your show would be welcomed at the historic Orpheum Theater in Wichita, KS.!
    It would be great to see you!
    Kathy

  12. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Kathy! Yes I think you are right about our first symphony show in Kansas City! I will send an email to Orpheum in Wichita and see if they are interested in bringing us out for a show…historic theaters are the best aren’t they?? Come to think of it, I think we did a show there many, many years ago….time to ask them to bring us back!!

  13. Posted by: Irene Niemeyer

    I’m in total agreement with both of you!!!!

  14. Posted by: Anne

    Do you mean ALL of us?? Haha!! There are a lot of nerds in my head sometimes!! Thanks for writing Irene!

  15. Posted by: Debbie Jardin

    Oh my gosh. How I wish I could have been there listening to you (and of course the symphony in the background) play. I love it when you were in San Diego in an intimate setting but to hear you play with the symphony sounds amazing.
    I’ll be praying that you get more gigs lined up. Other people should experience the talent of Jim, you and your band singing songs from one of my beloved songwriters.

    I see that you are in Hemet in December. I am going to try my best to see you there.

  16. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Debbie, check out our symphony show in La Mirada, CA this June – maybe it won’t be too far to travel for these special shows? If not, we look forward to seeing you at our Christmas show in Hemet!

  17. Posted by: Tom Vitello, Jr.

    I had the honor of being at the morning show for your performance with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. It was truly a special event. I was beyond astonished at the musicianship of Jim and his entire group. To hear all of those song with Lee Holdrige’s original arrangements/orchestrations, Jim’s voice and the band was unbelievable. I sat dead center in the front row. I closed my eyes a few times and I could swear I was in the presence of John Denver himself. There were times when I had tears in my eyes. I had the honor of meeting both of you after the show and having the three CDs signed. They are wonderful. Perhaps the next time you are in town, you can book a recording session to do a live CD with the BPO!!! I absolutely look forward to your next visit with the BPO as I for sure will be there hopefully front and center again!

  18. Posted by: Anne

    Thank you for writing Tom! We dream of doing a recording with a symphony someday – I know that will be something SO SPECIAL! We certainly hope Buffalo will invite us back again someday, it’s up to them, but if they ask we will surely say YES!

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Testimonials

"I have to tell you I don't know when we've enjoyed a show as much as we enjoyed yours. It just swept us away and we did not want it to end! You are all so gifted. And the music of John Denver speaks for itself. It touches the heart."

Julie Coletta,
Tiffin, OH

"It was a heavenly evening of beautiful music, a shining tribute to John Denver, one of which I believe Denver himself would salute."...

R.V. Hight
The Sanford Herald, Greensboro, NC

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