Dianna Parks will pay homage to a teacher she has never met when she leads “I Can’t Let Go: A Tribute to Linda Ronstadt” April 11 at Rochester Civic Theatre.
Parks, who has performed Ronstadt tribute shows before, this time has put together a 12-piece band to play some of Ronstadt’s more rock-oriented songs, spanning 1967 to 1980.
“She’s been my teacher,” Parks said of Ronstadt. “I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent studying this music, not just enjoying it, but analyzing it.”
It’s especially important for Parks to perform the music because Ronstadt herself, who is suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, is no longer able to sing.
“I feel so privileged to to able to share it,” Parks said. “I want to do it justice. It’s not about me at all. I want to serve the music.”
Parks, who said she bought her first Ronstadt record on a school trip to New York City, has chosen some of the singer’s biggest hits for this show, including “You’re No Good,” “When Will I Be Loved,” “It’s So Easy” and “Heat Wave.”
“I wanted this to be a rock concert,” Parks said. “She always described herself as a balladeer, but she also was just inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.”
Performing with Parks will be Carl Stephenson and Kevin Kleist on guitars; Erick Straubmuller on keyboards; John Wheeler on pedal steel; Dave Van Hook on drums; Tim Hildebrandt on bass; Bob Sanborn on mandolin and harmonica; Tiffany Strande on violin and vocals; Becca Stiles-Nogosek on vocal; Steve Lalama on banjo and dobro; and Kevin McGarry on saxophone.
“I’m just giddy that I have friends who want to do this with me,” Parks said.