Guitar-picking banker to play Saturday

Published 9:10 am Tuesday, November 3, 2009

David Courey had been playing at an event in Albert Lea when a woman approached him and said, “You’ve got to do something about that John Denver music you play. I thought it was him.”

So Courey, who loves to play his guitar and sing whenever he has the chance, decided to do a tribute concert. Since he feels the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center is under-used, he wanted to have it there, he added.

A member of the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau board, he started working with Susie Petersen.

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“But this isn’t about me. So I asked, ‘Who can we benefit?’” Courey said.

Because the Freeborn County Historical Society is raising money for an expansion project, Courey met with executive director, Pat Mulso.

“The historical society is doing a lot. It’s ranked one of the top 10 museums in the state,” he said.

Courey will present “An Evening Tribute to John Denver” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center to benefit the museum.

He’ll be joined by vocalist Beth Crosby of Minnesota Lake. She is the host of ”The One O’Clock Hour with Beth Crosby” and the nightly program, “Wings of Worship,” on the Kinship Christian Radio network. She also serves as an on-air announcer for KJLY Christian Radio in Blue Earth.

“Her voice matches well with John Denver songs,” Courey said, adding he met Crosby at church.

The two will perform “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Starwood in Aspen,” “Annie’s Song,” “Back Home Again,” “Grandma’s Feather Bed,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Follow Me,” “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” “Looking for Space,” “Poems, Prayers and Promises,” “Christmas for Cowboys,” “Aspenglow,” “Rhymes and Reasons,” “Perhaps Love,” “Rocky Mountain High” and “This Old Guitar.” Behind the performers will be clips of John Denver as well as scenes from Albert Lea and Freeborn County.

Courey has been playing the guitar since 1976 or ’77. “I grew up with John Denver music,” he said. “My cousin taught me a few chords and someone gave me a guitar. I picked the rest up myself.”

While attending the Illinois State University in Normal, he showed up at a nursing home, offering to play music for the residents.

“As a Christian, I wanted to bless people with my music,” he said. “I’ve been playing for nursing homes ever since.”

Courey has been working in the financial industry since 1986. He has worked in nearly all aspects of the banking industry and moved to Albert Lea in 2005 from Helena, Mont., where he was president and CEO of a credit union for eight years. Courey resides in Glenville and is the chief financial officer at Farmers State Bank, working out of the Albert Lea office.

Tickets for “An Evening Tribute to John Denver” are $12.50 per person and may be purchased at the Freeborn County Historical Museum, the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce office, Albert Lea Convention & Visitors Bureau and Farmers State Bank.

Courey said he ended up in Albert Lea after his car broke down when he was traveling between Montana and Illinois. He spent 2 1/2 days in Albert Lea while his car was fixed and while here, saw a small advertisement reading: “CFO needed for small bank.”

“Four months after that, I was on my way to Albert Lea,” he said. “God wanted me here.”

He got involved in the community right away through the CVB and Chamber of Commerce ag committee. He started playing guitar at a number of places right away, including St. John’s Lutheran Home and Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea, the Pelican Breeze and area senior centers.

“At least once a week I play somewhere,” Courey said.

He hopes to someday do something more with his music, perhaps offering guitar lessons to kids, he said.

In addition to John Denver, Courey enjoys playing the music of James Taylor, easy-listening music, bluegrass and Gospel. He’s also written some of his own songs.

Saturday night’s concert is sponsored by Farmers State Bank. Coffee and bars will be served downstairs in the theater starting at 7 p.m.

“We hope to fill the place,” Courey said.