MABOU: A local musician has found a way to bring a taste of Nashville home to Inverness County.
The “Ole Opry Show with Lynn Chisholm” will bring country music favourites such as George Jones and Tammy Wynette to life on the stage of Strathspey Place in February.
“It is a simulated Grand Ole Opry production. It’s pretty much like if you went to a Grand Ole Opry in Nashville,” said Lynn Chisholm, the Port Hood musician responsible for creating and writing the show, as well as organizing the eight local musicians and 15 cast members involved in the production.
Cast members will appear as musicians from every era of country music performing classics songs against an eight-piece band. The evening will be hosted by Genna Varner as Lee Ann Womack. The show will also include performers playing the roles of Little Jimmy Dickens and Minnie Pearl.
“We do it as if it’s just one big live show and these stars are still around and with us,” said Chisholm. “Cast members work so hard on trying to make their character real… with costume and wigs and voice and persona.”
Chisholm has been singing on stage since she was five years old. As a musician, she has been influenced by country artists such as Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, and Patti Loveless. She says her Ole Opry show was inspired by her experience visiting Nashville eight years ago, where she recorded with country music producer, Lonnie Ratliff.
“For me it was such a great opportunity. To go down to Nashville was one of my bigger dreams, of course, being a country singer,” said Chisholm.
It was during this visit that Chisholm saw the Grand Ole Opry show live for the first time.
“As I was coming back, I thought ‘when I go back home, I would love to do this with local people because there’s so much entertainment and good performers all around us here,’” said Chisholm. “And so that’s kind of where it started.”
February’s performance will mark the fifth year of Chisholm’s Ole Opry Show. The first performance was held at the Glencoe Station Hall, but audiences were so large that the show outgrew the venue and moved to Strathspey Place three years ago. Chisholm says the response from audiences has been one of her favourite parts of working on the project.
“It’s usually sold out and it just feels so good to know that country music is so strong here and that there are so many musicians and great people to work with,” said Chisholm.
The show has become an anticipated yearly tradition for many local country music fans. Chisholm says people have special memories associated with the classic songs they perform in the show, such as “Coat of Many Colors” and “Lyin’ Eyes.”
“These are old country songs that they’ve heard from their kitchens during their childhood,” said Chisholm.
“My father listened to Hank Williams from a little old transistor radio, and it was live right from Nashville.”
Chisholm says she has been performing with many of her cast members for several years, but they make changes for each show to keep things fresh.
“I try to change up the songs and the arrangement on stage a bit so that when you come to see a show it’s always a little bit different,” said Chisholm.
The Ole Opry Show with Lynn Chisholm will appear at Strathspey Place on February 4 at 3pm. For tickets and information, visit: www.strathspeyplace.com or leave a message at the box office by calling 902-945-5300.