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!