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Virginia Opry opens new season

The Virginia Opry will open its 26th performance season on stage at the Historic Masonic Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m.

Established by Appalfolks of America in 1992, The Virginia Opry will feature Freight Train, a bluegrass band, and Charlotte IVy, a singer, songwriter, guitarist from Dallas, Texas, as special guests who will share the stage with The Virginia Opry’s band and vocalists.

The Historic Masonic Theatre (circa 1905) was donated to Appalfolks on Dec. 20, 1991, and Appalfolks recruited local comedians, musicians, and vocalists to form The Virginia Opry that made its debut during the Fall Foliage Festival. Appalfolks owned and operated the theatre for 12 years before donating the theatre to the Town of Clifton Forge in 2003 in exchange for a contract to continue as a producer and presenter.

During the 25 years of productions of The Virginia Opry such guest performers as Dan Seals graced the stage, and numerous musical groups, including Lonesome River Band and the Farm Hands, were featured as special guests.

A tour bus of country music fans from Fort Payne, Alabama, gave The Virginia Opry a standing ovation in the theatre, and William Nicely, a vocalist with The Virginia Opry at the time, currently serves as artistic director, vocalist, and emcee.

Nicely, a vocalist with Mountain Thunder when the group reached the national finals in “To Be a Star” television competition, toured with the group up and down the East Coast for J.F. Productions. Mountain Thunder opened for Dan Seals and Lonesome River Band at The Virginia Opry and for Tracy Byrd, The Statler Brothers, Martina McBride, Doug Stone, David Ball and Collin Raye at other venues. Nicely noted, “It’s great to be back singing country music.”

  1. Ray Allen, founder and president of Appalfolks, said, “We are fortunate to have William as our artistic director, and The Virginia Opry’s home is the Historic Masonic Theatre that has undergone a $6.5 million restoration that was completed in July of 2016.”

Tickets are $12, $15, and $20 and can be purchased online at www.historicmasonictheatre or by calling 540-862-5655.