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A Rocky Mountain High, Wisconsin Style

Jul 24, 2016 03:01PM ● Published by Jim

JimCurryMountains - Acclaimed performer Jim Curry, pays tribute to the music of one of the most beloved singer/songwriters ever to grace the stage during his John Denver Tribute Concert Friday, September 30.

Gallery: A Rocky Mountain High, Wisconsin Style [5 Images] Click any image to expand.

   The music of John Denver is like an old friend, outlasting trends and standing the test of time. Hearing the first few notes of “Rocky Mountain High,” or singing along to “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” brings us back to a time when life was simple and memories were cherished. Marsh Haven Nature Center is paying tribute to those good times during the John Denver Celebration Weekend, which will take place September 30 through October 2 in and around the Waupun, Wisconsin area.
     Now in its third year, this event will bring musician Jim Curry and his band from California to Wisconsin as the featured performer, along with the musical talents of local Gary Cross, and Illinois-based Will Kruger. Curry, whose voice was heard in the CBS-TV movie Take Me Home: The John Denver Story, has performed Denver’s music in sold out shows throughout the country and has emerged as today’s top performer of Denver’s vast legacy of multi-platinum hits.
    Marsh Haven Nature Center is a non-profit, volunteer-supported nature center on the north end of the world famous Horicon Marsh, and for nature center director, Renee Wahlen, a John Denver event was a perfect match for the mission of Marsh Haven.
    “Our mission is to appreciate, conserve, and celebrate nature,” she said. “Not only does John Denver’s music reflect the appreciation and celebration of nature, but John Denver was a big supporter of environmental topics and conservation.”
    While Denver is most known for his success as a singer and songwriter, with hits such as “Rocky Mountain High” “Sunshine” “Calypso” and “Annie’s Song” that topped the charts, he was also responsible for co-founding the Windstar Foundation based in Old Snowmass, Colorado. This organization, founded in 1976, had a mission to inspire individuals to make responsible choices and to take direct personal actions to achieve a peaceful and environmentally sustainable future.
     Wahlen credits the Windstar Foundation for her current role at Marsh Haven Nature Center. “Years ago, I had traveled out to Colorado to participate in the EARTHcamp Leaders Workshop on the Windstar land. Upon my return, I was looking for locations to hold an EARTHcamp, which are environmental-focused daycamp programs for youth. I came out to Marsh Haven and talked with founder and then-director, Lawrence Vine. He opened the center for me to hold our camps, and we are now in our ninth year of EARTHcamps at Marsh Haven.”
    Through that introduction, Wahlen came on board as the nature center director in 2011. She also completed a service-learning project for her master degree program through the Windstar Foundation. “The organization, the mission, and the land really holds a special place in my heart,” Wahlen said. “I learned about non-profits and what a difference these organizations can make in communities and the larger world.”
    The Windstar Foundation held environmental conferences, which were open to a multi-generational audience where speakers gave presentations to engage and challenge participants in many different environmental topics. Marsh Haven Nature Center’s John Denver Celebration Weekend weaves concerts, speakers, nature programs, and presentations into a similar package – to celebrate the music, love of nature, and environmental stewardship that is the legacy of John Denver.
    “My hope for the people who participate in the weekend,” Wahlen said, “is that they thoroughly enjoy the concerts our gifted musicians present, but also for them to go home to their communities and share that message of caring for the earth and caring for each other.”
    Proceeds from the weekend events, including a silent auction, will benefit the youth programs at Marsh Haven Nature Center. This is one of the nature center’s annual fundraisers, and it is fitting that the John Denver Celebration Weekend helps to support the EARTHcamp programs, which stemmed from John Denver’s own Windstar Foundation.
     Marsh Haven Nature Center is located three miles east of Waupun at W10145 Highway 49 and offers hiking trails on 46-acres, an observation tower, indoor museum displays, art gallery, Nature Nook area and wolf den for young visitors, and the Critter Corner. The John Denver Celebration event offers additional activities throughout the weekend including guided nature hikes, visits to the Peace Pole, an outdoor Cowboy Campfire Concert, screening of John Denver related films and documentaries, and educational programs. A full schedule of events can be found at www.marshhaven.com. For more information, contact Wahlen at (920) 318-9518 or director@marshhaven.com.


Sidebar:
Friday, September 30 - John Denver Tribute Concert featuring Jim Curry- 7 pm
Waupun's Historic City Hall Auditorium, 201 E. Main St.
Tickets available through Eventbrite.com - $15 in advance/$20 at the door
By phone at (920) 318-9518 or at Marsh Haven Nature Center, W10145 State Road 49, Waupun

Saturday, October 1 – Cowboy Campfire Concert -12 pm
John Denver Memories Concert featuring Gary Cross – 7 pm
Marsh Haven Nature Center – Respect Our Earth Theater
Tickets available through Eventbrite.com - $8 limited seating
By phone at (920) 318-9518 or at Marsh Haven Nature Center, W10145 State Road 49, Waupun

Sunday, October 2 – John Denver Music Matinee featuring Will Kruger – 1 pm
Marsh Haven Nature Center – Respect Our Earth Theater
Tickets available through Eventbrite.com - $8 limited seating
By phone at (920) 318-9518 or at Marsh Haven Nature Center, W10145 State Road 49, Waupun

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