Virginia Opry prepares for 29th season

Published: Feb. 12, 2020 at 5:50 PM EST
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You might not expect old time bluegrass music to be coming from a couple guys as young as Nathan Fender and his brother.

“It’s so weird," Fender admits. "I mean, everybody else is listening to pop and rap, you know that kind of stuff, and we’re playing with banjos and a fiddle.”

But when they take the stage with the rest of the Pico Road band – there are two more members; they’re at school right now – they’ll be stepping into a show with a long history.

“We started the Virginia Opry in 1992,” said founder M. Ray Allen.

That’s 29 years ago.

“We’ve kept the show a clean, family-oriented type of country music show," Allen said. "I tell people we’re more of a keeper of the star show than a boot, scoot and boogie show.”

“Basically, that was what we did was pull in the local people,” said Ray Tucker. He was the Opry’s first director.

“It resonates to me so well to know that we started on a shoestring," he said. "And today the Opry being known all over the state.”

And now, that's even with a bill in Richmond naming it the state Opry of Virginia.

But in the end it’s about the music.

“It’s going to go on for a while," said Fender. "It’s not leaving. That’s pretty cool, yeah.”

And maybe another 30 years of performances.

“Thirty more?" Allen laughed. "I’ll take it if I can get it.”

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