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Many worthy JD tributes

Dear Editor:The events in Aspen grew out of a very special gathering of John Denver’s friends, colleagues, family and former band members after his memorial service in Aspen. They sat together around a roaring fire, singing his songs and sharing special memories. It was decided that they should take “the show” on the road. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.The first tribute was held in Alexandria, Va., in January 1998 and was sponsored by the World Folk Music Association (WFMA), whose president, Dick Ceri, is one of John’s long-time friends. They go way back to John’s Mitchell Trio days. The tribute was wonderful and it now continues in Aspen. The Country Roads Folk Festival in West Virginia (www.mofolk.com), also sponsored by the WFMA, does a tribute to John every year.So, there are not only tributes to John Denver in Aspen every year but all over the country, all year-round. These tributes are almost always for charity, as are the shows in Aspen, something all of us (including the participants) take pride in. There will be another tribute show on Sept. 25, 2004 in Annapolis, Md. to benefit Maryland Therapeutic Riding; this will be the fourth annual show for this wonderful organization. There was tribute show on June 5, 2004 to benefit the John’s Hopkins School of Nursing. This organization provides much needed medications and medical assistance to the less fortunate who cannot afford care. We attend these shows not only to hear wonderful music, but to support their good work.There are not only charity shows done by John’s friends and colleagues, but all the events in Aspen have benefited charities such as: Windstar, the Aspen Camp School for the Deaf, Long View Media (an organization started by Sandy Ostertag, producer of “Let This Be A Voice”) and, yes, even Dreams of Freedom (I will remind Ms. Smith that $600 was donated to her organization in 1999 as a result of our auction held in Aspen that year). We also sent money to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund for the victims of 9/11. This was done in John’s memory in the name of Windstar.We are very proud to have added Expect A Miracle Now Foundation based in Phoenix, Ariz. This foundation has started doing benefit concerts to honor John on his birthday; the proceeds going to the Hunger Project and the Franciscan Renewal Center. We have all assisted these wonderful organizations not only through our work in Aspen, but all year-round.You know, there is no one event anywhere that is any better than any other; it’s that they happen and continue to happen in the spirit of friendship and you and me together, no matter where it is.Mary LedfordGaithersburg, Md.


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