The common thread for The Virginia Opry's upcoming 29th performance season in 2020 is that ten bands whose leaders have performed for Appalfolks of America Association (AAA) have been inducted into The Virginia Opry in 2019.
Each band or the leader of the current band has performed on stage at Historic Stonewall Theatre (circa 1905) that was owned and operated by AAA from December 20, 1991 until AAA donated the theatre to The Town of Clifton Forge in 2003 when the town restored Historic Masonic Theatre as its name. AAA made more than $200,000 worth of improvements (thanks to a $130,000 matching grant from The Alleghany Foundation that required AAA to raise $39,000) to restore the theatre from a twin-cinema to a performing arts facility that featured a professional dance studio on the fourth floor before donating the theatre to The Town of Clifton Forge.
The following performers and bands have been honored by Appalfolks of America via its arts-education partnership with the Highlands Media Group, owner of 103.5 Big County, by being inducted into The Virginia Opry on October 5, 2019, during the opry's "Fall Harvest Jamboree" that completed its 28th performance season: Jana Allen, Brian Buchanan Band, Keith Bryant and Steve Hoke Band, Crimson River Band, Crossing County LinesVirginia Boys, Gentlemen South, Denise Glass, Charlotte Ivy, Michael Hoover and his Show Band, Moonshine Express Band, Robby Meadows Band, Joey Robinson Duo, Glen Shelton Band, and Ray Tucker and Friends.
Ten Bands Strong
Glen Shelton has been named as an emcee and vocalist for The Virginia Opry's 2020 performance season, and Glen will be featured in The Virginia Opry's second annual Virginia Entertainer Showcase Show following Keith Bryant's debut as the honored performer in the first Virginia Entertainer Showcase Show in May of 2019. A graduate of Liberty University in 1989, Glen hails from nearby Madison Heights, and as a vocalist and songwriter who has opened for more than 40 nationally prominent acts, he has written and recorded numerous Top Ten Christian Country songs.
As for his band, Vaughn Thomas, guitar; and Scott Cash, keyboard; both toured with The Statler Brothers from 1992 till 2002. Both have been Nashville session musicians, and both have performed on such TV shows as "Music City Tonight" and "Nashville Now." Also, both have toured with other nationally known recording artists, Vaughn with David Allen Coe and Scott with Patty Loveless. Pat Wertman on bass will round out the band when Glen is honored as a featured Virginia recording artist on The Virginia Opry's 2020 Virginia Entertainer Showcase Show.
During the time frame that Vaughn and Scott were touring with The Statler Brothers, Appalfolks of America restored the Historic Stonewall Theatre from a twin-cinema to a performing arts theatre that opened in May of 1992 with The Announcers performing to a packed house. Bob Good latte, a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, was in attendance, and later as a member of the U. S. House of Representatives, he sent a letter of commendation for Appalfolks and its outreach programs based in the Historic Stonewall Theatre.
Gentlemen South has built a strong reputation as a talented and interactive band in the Lexington, Virginia, area where Justin Peery and his eldest brother, Stephen Peery, reside. Stephen is the band's keyboardist who has performed with Martina McBride, Colin Raye and Mountain Thunder, the band that opened for The Statler Brothers Farewell Concert.
Justin owned and operated Empire Modeling Agency in New York City for a decade during which he produced runway shows for New York Fashion Week, directed and produced music videos, and developed his own talent as a vocalist and actor who was cast in an episode of "Law and Order." He is a multi-instrument musician, and both he and Stephen are songwriters.
Performing at such venues as the Academy Theater in Lynchburg and at The Patton Room at George's Hotel in Lexington, Gentlemen South has become known for performing a wide range of music from Frank Sinatra hits to hits by current country music and gospel music recording artists. Also, Gentlemen South has performed on The Virginia Opry in The Historic Masonic Theatre. Having been The Virginia Opry's keyboardist and a vocalist in the 1990's, Stephen rejoined The Virginia Opry in 2017, performing as a vocalist and the band's keyboardist.
The Brian Buchanan Band offers a unique blend of traditional country and original songs. Along with fellow Shenandoah Valley musicians, William Hayes on piano, Richard Adams on horns, and Sam Brown on drums, former Virginia Junior Opry member Brian Buchanan covers country standards from Bob Wills to George Strait, and everything in between. As a teenager, Brian performed for Appalfolks as the leader of the Virginia Junior Opry's Band.
The Robby Meadows Band has performed on the Grand Ole Opry, and Lisa, Robby's wife, has performed in the Cowboy Church in Nashville and on the Shenandoah Jamboree currently based at Cooter's Place in Luray. Robby's Pony Express Band served as the house band for The Virginia Opry in the Historic Stonewall Theatre for a performance season during which WKEY Radio Station in Covington broadcast The Virginia Opry's shows live. Lisa continues to be the band's lead female vocalist with Robby serving as the band's leader and bass player. Rounding out the band is William Hayes, piano; Kevin Hinkle, drums; Pat Burr, electric guitar; and Antony Van Pelt, fiddle.
Keith Bryant and Steve Hoke Band features Keith Bryant, Nashville recording artist and guitarist, as the vocalist, and Steve Hoke as the instrumentalist who invented the quadmister, a single musical instrument that enables him to play the fiddle, banjo, guitar and mandolin without changing musical instruments. Bryant, a native of Rockbridge County, soared to national prominence as a Nashville recording artist after writing and recording "Riding with the Legend," a song that reached Billboard's Hot Country Top 50 and a hit that continues to be a NASCAR favorite. He and Hoke have entertained R favorite. He and Hoke have entertained The Virginia Opry's audiences at the Historic Masonic Theatre each year since 2017.
Billy Fury, leader of Moonshine Express Band, is a vocalist and rhythm guitarist who began playing guitar at 12 before forming his first band at 14. Having played with a number of bands during the 60's and 70's, Fury helped form Moonshine Express Band in 1980, eventually becoming the leader. The band has opened for The Statler Brothers, Sawyer Brown, Mel McDaniel, Stonewall Jackson, Clinton Gregory and David Feasell in addition to performing on The Virginia Opry. Jerry Jefferies, Jr. is the drummer and a vocalist, and BinkJenkins is a vocalist and the band's bass player. Timmy Clifton is the lead guitarist, and Frank Alfred plays keyboard.
Crimson River, a gospel music band, performed on The Virginia Opry with the late Cory Hayslett as the band's leader. Currently, the band has regrouped with the Town of Clifton Forge's retired chief of police, Barry Balser, performing on bass, Howard Nicely on guitar, and Doug Shires, a vocalist, on drums. New members are vocalists and musicians: Angie Kimberlin, mandolin; and Tanner Seay, guitar.
Michael Hoover, was born in Washington D. C. but has lived most of his adult life in Virginia. After winning the prestigious East Coast Talent Search competition as a country singer, he won the International Elvis Tribute Artist competition, in Memphis by defeating 95 other Elvis tribute artists to claim the title of World Champion. He has performed his "Memories of Elvis" tribute show throughout the USA, Mexico, Canada and overseas, having toured in Nova Scotia, Europe and Japan. During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, he performed live concerts for five consecutive days, and he has appeared on the sitcom, "Rosanne," and opened for Rosanne Barr at the Circle Star Theater in California. Some of the other stars he has shared the stage with are Reba McEntire, Charlie Daniels, Diamond Rio, Chubby Checker, KC and The Sunshine Band, The Jordana ires and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Michael Hoover's Show Band features Doug Lester, the leader of the band who is a vocalist and lead guitarist. He has performed with such notables as Alabama, Faren Young, Billy Joe Royal, The Drifters, and Ronnie Dove.
Jay Reynolds, a former staff drummer for the Grand Ole Opry, has worked with Steve Warner, Jeanie C. Riley, Lori Morgan and Tommy Cash. Also, he has toured in England and Saudi Arabia and played for two Presidents, Richard A. Nixon and Ronald E. Reagan.
Michael Mathias, the bass keyboard player, has worked with Monti Rock, Ill, an actor, musician and entertainer. He has earned the reputation of being one of the best multi-instrumentalists and music educators in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Denise Glass, an award-winning vocalist, specializes in paying tribute to Patsy Cline. The photo on the front page of this brochure features her on stage at the Historic Masonic Theatre during The Virginia Opry's "Tribute to Patsy Cline." She has performed with Michael Hoover and his Show Band, filling the role that the Jordanaires filled for Elvis. A favorite at the Lee Theater in Pennington Gap, she had often graced that stage with her tribute show before performing on The Virginia Opry with the Doug Lester Band, the Show Band for Michael Hoover.
Joey Robinson, a vocalist who was the original bass guitarist for The Virginia Opry, has teamed with Justin Hubbard to form the Joey Robinson Duo. Both play acoustic guitars and sing, Joey as lead and Justin as backup.