FALL 2016 SCHEDULE
Our performances are always on the third Saturdays in the Spring and Fall in the months of March, April, and May, September, October, November. The show is from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM.
September 17, 2016
The Steve Anderson Group: This is our longest lasting house band. Steve is a local self-taught musician who knows how to deliver those old-time country classics. Our house bands appear regularly at the show to set the stage and get the show going, and develop their own fan base. Steve is well loved by our audience. He is accompanied by other Opry regulars including Bobby Belloni on bass, Jan Biggs on guitar and vocals and Anne Hibbs on fiddle.
Peter, Paul and Mary Review: Perhaps, there is no musician who has appeared more on our stage than Gina Forsyth. She is one of the most versatile musicians in this area, and can perform with anyone who needs a great fiddle player, singer or guitar picker. When we heard that Gina had teamed up with two other musicians to perform all the great songs performed by the great folk trio, Peter, Paul, and Mary, we immediately got in touch with the group to invite them to appear on our stage. Every once in a while, we present something a little different, but always entertaining. Folks like myself (I don’t want to say old) will have a hard time avoiding singing along.
The Bagasse Boys: For those of you who don’t know, bagasse is the sugar cane fiber that is left after the juice has been squeezed out, but knowing these guys, an obvious play on words is highly suspected. This is a very entertaining group that has previously appeared on the Opry stage. They perform a style of bluegrass that goes beyond the traditional norm for that genre. We heard them recently, and were so impressed at how far they had progressed; we had to book them in.
Big Easy Playboys: Zydeco is a very unique Louisiana form of music. It was invented in Acadiana north of Lafayette around Opelousas. It features elements of Cajun music and a strong blues influence. It is the contribution of the French speaking African American and Creole population of Southwest Louisiana. The hard driving and high spirited unique Louisiana music form makes listeners want to get up and dance or clap their hands, and it is always infectious. It also is a great example of the richness that diversity brings to our cultural heritage.
October 15, 2016
Chris Talley Band: This group is the latest addition to our house band lineup. Chris is a very versatile musician who knows and can surround himself with some of the finest musicians in this area. We never know what exactly Chris will bring to our stage. His versatility and exceptional skill has always given us a treat. He has performed bluegrass, country, Western Swing, and even Beatles songs with a country twang. We have decided to just trust him to bring whatever he chooses to our stage. We know it will be good and entertaining, and an audience pleaser.
Slick Skillet Serenaders: This group of young musicians wowed the audience outside the festival grounds at the Abita Springs Busker Festival last April. For those of you who don’t already know, Busking is playing out on the street for tips. That is a time honored tradition in New Orleans and the buskers are some of the finest musicians in New Orleans. As an added bonus, they perform traditional music. This group is a “Jug band” which is a very catchy rhythmic bluesy style that is a lot of fun to hear. Traditionally, someone play into a jug put the bass sound into the music. Today, a tuba often serves that purpose.
Rick Ledbetter: Rick and his band are returning to the Opry after a too long absence. This is strong solid Country music. Rick has a very powerful voice and is well versed in several musical genres. He also has a strong background in radio broadcast journalism. We are glad he has agreed to return to our show and will be a real audience pleaser.
Messy Cookers: Traditional New Orleans Jazz has become an important part of our show, and some of the strongest performances on our stage have been delivered by some of the great Jazz bands we have had the good fortune to have here. This is a return performance by a strong group of young musicians who perform this great genre. Interestingly, our show started out featuring Country and Bluegrass music, but we discovered our audience loves New Orleans Jazz. It is also interesting to note that Country music greats like Jimmie Rodgers, the father of Country music, and Merle Haggard performed with New Orleans Jazz musicians.
November 19, 2016
Last Chance Bluegrass Band: These guys perform that good ‘ol hand clapping and foot stomping bluegrass music as well as anyone around. As one of our three house bands, they have become an important part of our Opry family and are helping us keep that part of our musical heritage alive.
Western Sweethearts: Accomplished musicians can perform a variety of music styles, and this group is no exception. The band leader Matt Bell and his wife, Joy Patterson team up with other musicians to perform Jazz as the Bad Pennies Pleasure Makers, Country music as the Wasted lives, and now they will bring another style, Western Swing, to the Opry. This style is an interesting blend of country and older styles of popular music. It was made popular by people like Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. Matt and joy always bring something strong to the stage and they will do the same in this configuration.
Necessary Gentlemen: Is it Bluegrass? Is it Country, or is it something else? This is another very talented group of young musicians who can’t be put into a box and perform in a particular formula or style other that their interpretation of what they are playing. We heard them at the Covington Farmer’s Market and we booked them on the spot. Strong vocals and great arrangements highlight this group and we welcome them to the Opry stage.
The All-Female Jazz Band: They don’t actually have a name yet. When we heard of this group, it became a must for our stage. The group was organized by Shaye Cohn. Shaye is one of the most versatile and talented musicians in New Orleans. She has performed with several groups and is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist. She provides strong background leadership in the groups in which she performs. You might be familiar with her name, but musicians and people who follow New Orleans music closely are fully aware of her talents and contributions. Shaye organized this group for a specific function and is a conglomerate of members of several different groups who are all strong musicians. This will prove to be a great cap on a great season.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU
We hope you will come and be part of the Abita Springs Opry experience. To sit and hear great traditional styles of music drawn from our diverse and wonderful musical heritage is more than a treat. Don’t forget, we always have great food available. Gumbo, hot dogs, homemade baked treats, and beverages prepared by local charitable organization provide great lagniappe.
The hundred-plus year old Abita Town Hall is the perfect setting for our show. The wooden building provides a warm and fitting venue for the music heard there. It also provides great acoustics, and our production crew headed by Kent Birkle assisted by Rob Bentley, Kenny Delbert, and Monique Coincoin do an outstanding job of filling the hall with perfect sound.
THERE'S MORE MUSIC IN ABITA SPRINGS
Opry Outreach: The Opry presents music at other events besides the stage show at the Town Hall. Every August, we have performances at a five week series each Saturday at the French Market in New Orleans. The series is titled, “Opry at the Market.” We have been doing this for five years, and we are grateful to the Marketing Director for the French Market, Amy Kirk for inviting the Abita Springs Opry each year.
Busker Festival: Besides the opry performances, we are excited about what is rapidly becoming a premier musical event in this area, the annual Busker Festival. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, Buskers are musicians who perform on the streets for tips.
Bryan Gowland developed the idea when he noticed how our audience responded to the New Orleans buskers whenever we had them on stage. It is rare whenever one of these groups does not earn a standing ovation. The first of those groups that performed at the Opry was Tuba Skinny with Erica Lewis. Once we got wired into that musical community, we began to include some of the buskers each season, and it was soon after that that the Busker Festival was born.
We are very proud of this event. We are also very proud that the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Foundation provides support for the festival. WWOZ Radio videoed and streamed the event live through WWOZ.org. We were viewed and heard by listeners from around the world. WWOZ has pledged to live stream the festival for this year.
The buskers that you see on the Opry are usually young musicians from different locations around the U.S. who gravitated to New Orleans following Katrina. They have become an integral part of the New Orleans music scene. Many of them are now performing regularly in clubs on Frenchmen Street or the Quarter , but still perform on the streets. They have made it their business to learn traditional New Orleans Jazz, Country and other "roots" genres.
They perform at the Opry and at the Busker Festival because they need exposure, encouragement, and respect for being the next generation undertaking the very important task of keeping our precious musical heritage alive. They exemplify the mission statement of the Abita Springs Opry, “The Preservation and Presentation of Louisiana Roots music.”
The lineup for this year’s Busker Festival includes, The Bad Pennies Pleasure Makers, The Loose Marbles, Slue City Strutters, Shotgun Jazz Band, The Deslondes and Tuba Skinny.
LISTEN TO PAST PERFORMANCES
Hello Opry fans, We are ready to kick off a brand new season of our beloved Abita Springs Opry. We will soon be enjoying that great Louisiana roots music. We are now in our twenty-seventh season and proud to be going strong. Our music committee works hard to provide you with great shows. This season, we will have some new acts, and others that have proven to be crowd pleasers in the past.
As I stand by the door at the conclusion of each show, I like to get feedback from the audience. Often, our fans will comment on specific performers or the type of music that was heard at the show. Audience demand for particular performers is an important determiner in who we invite to play on our stage. We invite you to comment and make requests. This can be done on our home page, or our Facebook page.
Let us know what you like, who you want back, and you won’t hurt our feelings if you did not care for a particular act. You are very important to us. We love our audience, and want you to leave our Town Hall having enjoyed your selves and want to come back.
Through the years, some members of our audience have become regulars, sitting in the same seats season after season. Iit is always nice to see the faces of our audience members who have become our friends. We want your Opry experience to be “down home” in a family-like atmosphere.
Many of our musicians comment on what a great audience we have at the Opry. In and around the New Orleans area, great music is commonplace, and we are flattered that our audience remains loyal, and it remains our goal to “Preserve and Present Louisiana Roots music.”
Get your tickets
If you want to get a big serving of our musical gumbo, tickets are presently on sale. We offer season packages as well as single show tickets. The season ticket holders from the previous season get first dibs, but as of August 1, they are sold on a first-come-first served basis. By the day before the show, we are usually close to selling out. We are always trying to make sure that we have as many seats as possible, and very seldom turn away folks who show up the night of the show.
If you happen to make a last minute decision to come to the Opry, The worst case scenario is the big screen closed circuit TV on our front porch. We also have outside seating available. Also keep in mind, that we have a live act on the front porch for an hour or so before the show.
For ticket information, please contact Kathy Armand at 985-892-0711. All tickets are $18. We have not raised our prices for several years, and intend to keep them at that price. Please keep in mind that the choicest seats go first. Nothing pains us more than to turn folks away because of a sell-out. We always try to find a way to get people in.
The Petty Bones
The Zion Harmonizers
We believe this is another season of great traditional music. Please remember that we sell tickets on a first-come-first served basis. All seats are $18.00. We have not raised our prices for several years, and have no plans to do so any time soon. To purchase tickets call Kathy at 985-892-2342 or drop by the Abita Springs Town Hall during working hours.
Y'all Come! See you at the Opry
Anytime Access to the Opry
We always want to remind our fans that most of our past performances are online and can be enjoyed anytime on your computer. All you have to do is visit our home page at www.abitaopry.org. Locate the words;
"LISTEN TO PAST PERFORMANCES"
click on it and the listing of downloaded shows will appear on your screen. From there, you can scroll to any show or pick out any particular act that may appeal to you and enjoy.
We provide the web service and cover the cost of video taping and provide the shows to St Tammany Parish Government access TV channel 10 and Southeastern Louisiana University, channel 18. The channels mentioned are available to Charter Cable TV subscribers in several surrounding parishes.
Our mission to "Preserve and Present Louisiana Roots Music" is taken seriously. Making the Abita Springs Opry available to as many people as possible is a way of fulfilling our mission and gives that much more exposure to these great musicians. We have a valuable musical cultural tradition, and it is worth keeping alive.