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Plant City Courier

Florida Opry regular season ends on high note


Published:   |   Updated: April 23, 2014 at 10:47 AM

PLANT CITY – The Florida Opry wrapped up its regular season April 12 with a show that featured a picking society and a singer-songwriter.

The Fort Green Pickin’ Society and musician Brian Smalley of Apopka closed out the Opry’s season with enthusiastic performances from the country and bluegrass genres.

“We’re really excited about playing the Opry tonight,” said lead singer Jim Ghent of the Fort Green Pickin’ Society of Wauchula.

“This is really a neat place,” he said, referring to the Opry’s venue, the 1914 Plant City High School Community Center.

Ghent said the picking society enjoys playing traditional country and bluegrass music with a contemporary twist.

Performances included adaptations of classics such as “I’ll Fly Away” and “Miles and Miles of Texas.”

“I think it went well, we had some very talented musicians coming in this year,” said Shelby Bender, president and executive director of the East Hillsborough Historical Society, which puts on the shows.

The Florida Opry is known for inviting local artists who perform country and bluegrass music, and Bender said this year they were pleased to welcome new faces and new talent to the stage.

“We’re offering something here that’s not being offered in a lot of other places so we’re helping in keeping up traditional music,” she said.

Bender credited master of ceremonies Randy Scott, a dozen regular volunteers and the Plant City High School Key Club for helping to make the Opry a success each month.

“They’re here every month helping us and they do a wonderful job,” she said.

The Florida Opry will return this fall.

The Oprys were founded in the late 1990s by Myrle Henry, who modeled them loosely after the Grand Ole Opry. The society bought the Opry from Randall and Mayda Dallman, who bought the show from Henry and produced the show for two seasons.

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