Just a few days ago (Jan 28) we were performing our John Denver tribute concert with the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra.  The orchestra played beautifully and from the first notes of “Rocky Mountain High” to the very last note of “Poems, Prayers and Promises” we were all transported by the lyrics and music of John Denver.

Near the end of the concert, I invited the audience to visit our website to read my monthly blog. I also mentioned that January 28 was the unhappy anniversary of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster (which happened in 1986) and that there was a John Denver connection. 

Here it is:

John Denver loved being a pilot and he had a strong desire to experience space flight.  He helped develop a program where citizens could go on NASA space missions, and was in line to be one of those citizens, having passed all the physical and mental tests required to qualify him for space flight.  John hoped to be the FIRST in line, but that was not to be – school teacher Christa McAuliffe was selected instead. McAuliffe was chosen to fly on the Challenger space shuttle, which broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff, killing all 7 crew members. 

John was inspired to write a song in memory of the Challenger crew called, “Flying for Me.”  I included the link below if you would like to listen to the song, including John’s introduction.

Flying for Me

Trivia Alert!  There is also a rumor that the instrumental ending of the song is the exact same time as the total flight time of the Challenger mission.  I couldn’t find any official statement about that so I timed it….. 73 seconds.