Opry tribute promises knee-slapping good time

Published 8:45 pm Friday, March 15, 2024

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On March 23, the Paramount Theatre will be hosting a grand ole night of entertainment featuring nothing but local talent and already the community is showing they are looking forward to the event.

A Night at the Opry is a tribute to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, hosted by Roxi Manacoochi and featuring artists grown here in Austin.  Tickets have gone fast. Out of 621 seats, only 100 tickets were available as of Thursday afternoon.

“We have not had those kinds of numbers since long before COVID,” said interim Austin Area Arts Director Kelsey Ritchie. “This is a huge show that clearly the community wants to be a part of.”

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The idea came to Dylan Kaercher, the talent behind Manacoochi, during a day of simply listening to music.

“I was listening to Spotify and thought, this would be super fun,” he said, indicating the ability to draw on his own family background in music as well as fiddle player Brian Christianson, who has performed on the original Opry stage, and has moved back to Austin with his family.

The night will feature a house band consisting of Christianson, Wendy Larson, Pete Wangen, Peter Jacobsen, Kalle Ackerman and Curtis Gilbert. Alongside this house band will feature Lisa Deyo as Minnie Pearl and Logan Monahan as Porter Wagoner.

From there, the talent of the night only gets richer, including:

• Leslie Warnke from Shades of Blue

• Riley Olson from 507 Country

• Alyssa Jo Monahan and Dariel Felten from Bourbon Stiletto

• Amanda Corey

• Cindi Christianson

• Matt Mueller

“Everybody has a following so it’s like all of the followings coming together,” Ritchie said. “I think a lot of people are excited about the Opry theme. I feel like the older generations are really excited to see a tribute to that.”

While the line-up is indicative of the growing talent base in Austin, it’s also possible that it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Combined with the interest in seeing the shows, both Ritchie and Kaercher see the ability to grow the show in the future.

“I do think even with how many local musicians we have it was hard to pick and choose,” said Kaercher, who also said the show will be performing in Rochester as well. “There were also artists who we had reached out to and they hadn’t gotten back to us in time. We had already filled that spot. There are people from the talented musician pool in Austin that we’ll want to bring in at a later date.”

This also includes the possibility of reaching out and involving artists in Mower County as a whole to add to any possible future dates that may come to fruition.

What helps to make the show so noticeable to people is the growth of local talent in general, something Ritchie indicated. It’s that idea that locally generated music has been growing over the last few years.

Next Saturday’s show is proof of that.

“There’s something in the water in Austin and there’s so much talent here,” Ritchie said. “There’s music playing everywhere in town, but bringing them together to see more than just one group or one person at a time, I think, is what’s really exciting for everybody.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. on March 23, with the show starting at 7 p.m. A beer and wine cash bar will be available along with concessions. Tickets are $25 and available at https://www.austinareaarts.org/events/2024/3/23/a-night-at-the-opry

Merchandise from the local acts will also be available during intermission and after the show.