Written by Marvin Glassman
Since he first wore a pair of round eyeglasses at age 13, Rick Schuler’s family and friends told him about his strong physical resemblance to singer/songwriter John Denver. Denver became famous for his best selling hit songs such as “Rocky Mountain High’, “Sunshine On My Shoulder”, “Annie’s Song”, among others.
Within three years after donning the Denver-like eyeglasses, Schuler discovered that he not only loved to sing and play the guitar, but that his tenor voice was the perfect match to Denver.
At age 16, Schuler created his first concert playing the music of John Denver and knew from that moment on, his career would be aligned to the songs of Denver.
“I love and am inspired by John Denver’s music and life story. John’s music is thoughtful and reflects his views on preserving and protecting our environment ,” said Schuler.
Schuler has been singing Denver’s music on stage for close to 40 years and will sing in his upcoming show titled “Rocky Mountain High Experience: John Denver Christmas Tribute” on November 26 at Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale.
Along with singing Denver’s hit songs, Schuler will also perform Christmas songs, such as “Joy To The World”, “Silent Night” and “Silver Bells” that Denver sang on his television special on Christmas music.
Despite being labeled as a “John Denver clone” in a newspaper, Schuler never calls himself “John Denver” on stage and feels strongly that to do so would compromise his integrity.
“I could never pretend to be John on stage as an impersonator. I want the audience to feel the spirit of John’s music and to be moved to love and admire his music,” said Schuler.
Inspired by Denver’s commitment to preserve and understand the preservation of the environment, Schuler has also become an archeologist. When not on stage, Schuler has joined other archeologists in Israel to find ancient Scrolls from the Dead Sea Scrolls.
“I am a Christian and, like John, I want to learn and share more about our environment. By going to Israel and joining others in learning about the Dead Sea Scrolls, I share a better understanding of what our lives were like thousands of years ago and how we can save our environment from being destroyed,” said Schuler.
Schuler has also recorded four albums of his self-written songs.
Schuler’s performance of Denver’s music has allowed him to meet both of Denver’s wives and children. Over his career, Schuler has performed with many members of Denver’s original band, including his back- up singer.
“I am totally devoted to preserving John’s songs and feel I am blessed to have those that knew and loved John to support the shows,” said Schuler.
John Denver had three children from his two wives. Denver died at age 53 in a plane crash near his home in California.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Rick Schuler performs in ‘Rocky Mountain High Experience: John Denver Christmas Tribute”, a two act concert featuring the music of John Denver on November 26th at 8:00 pm at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE 8th Street in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets range from $44-59. For tickets more Information, go to parkerplayhouse.com or call 954-468-3285.
Marvin Glassman is a regular contributor to South Florida Magazine. Marvin has written extensively on the cultural arts, especially comedy, music and theater for both Florida Jewish Journal and the online publication miamiartszine.com for over 25 years.