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Vernon opry celebrates 25 years of live country music


Special to The Dispatch



On Saturday, March 8, the Back Street Opry in the historic Lamar Theatre in Vernon, Ala., will celebrate its 25th anniversery with a free Grand Ole Opry-style stage show. Featured artists are the Silver Eagle Band from northeast Mississippi, with special guests Wayne Brown of Tupelo and Amory's Kaitlin Aldridge. The show also includes a homecoming performance by Ben Hall and Hanna of Nashville, Tenn., along with a guest performance by J.P Cormier of Ontario, Canada.  


The Silver Eagle Band consists of Amory's Fiddlin' Matt Butler and Steve Butler on lead guitar, Pontotoc's Dale Stacey on pedal steel guitar, and Chester Sewell, also of Pontotoc, on vocals and rhythm guitar. Gary Sewell of New Albany will be on bass guitar and Tupelo's Ben Brown on drums. Country Jack Harper of Leland will be the "singin' emcee." 


The Back Street Opry show Saturday is dedicated to the memory of the late Howard Reeves, publisher and editor of the Lamar Democrat. In addition to being a local philanthropist, Reeves was an avid supporter of the Opry for its entire 25-year history. 


Reeves passed away in early February as he was preparing for the anniversery show. In the past 25 years there have been few Saturday nights that Reeves was not in his second row seat cheering on any and all acts on the historic stage. He assembled a vast collection of photos covering the history of the Opry, one of the last of its kind in the area. 


Thanks to an arrangement with the Lamar Democrat, admission will be free to the family-style performance that begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 205-712-1119. The Lamar Theatre is located at 115 First Ave. NE, adjacent to Courthouse Square in the heart of downtown Vernon.  




About the performers 


Wayne Brown and Kaitlin Aldridge are popular performers from previous shows at the Back Street Opry and are thrilled to have been asked back for this special event. J.P. Cormier is an award winning multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter from Canada and formerly toured with The Sullivan Family from St. Stephens, Ala. He studied at Northeast Community College at Booneville. 


Ben Hall grew up in Okolona, graduated from Oak Hill Academy in West Point, and is a recent graduate of Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. He is a national award-winning fingerstyle guitarist. He is now employed by the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. He and Hanna formerly toured with Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie Louvin at the Grand Ole Opry.




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