CLIFTON FORGE, VA (VR) – The Virginia Opry will honor Ray Tucker, its founding director, at its “A Patsy Cline Valentine Tribute to the Grand Ole Opry” on Sat., Feb. 10, at 7:00 p.m. at The Historic Masonic Theatre.
Tucker, a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter from Selma, Virginia, formed a country music band while he served in the U.S. Navy in North Africa. Upon his return to the Alleghany Highlands, he formed Ray Tucker and the Country Boys, a band that played on local radio stations and on a TV station in Bluefield. He also formed another country music band, Ray Tucker and the Morris Brothers that performed for several years prior to forming the first Virginia Opry troupe of 10.
Currently, Tucker is the leader of Ray Tucker and Friends, one of The Virginia Opry’s 12 bands. His band performs musical benefits to continue the tradition that The Virginia Opry has established by performing benefits for The Clifton Forge Little League, the Alleghany Highlands Free Clinic, and other worthwhile causes.
M. Ray Allen, current director of The Virginia Opry and founder of Appalfolks of America Association (AAA) in 1985, recruited Tucker to form The Virginia Opry that made its debut on Oct. 17, 1992, on stage at the Historic Stonewall Theatre, renamed The Historic Masonic Theatre by the Town of Clifton Forge after AAA donated the theatre to the Town of Clifton Forge in 2003.
The Virginia Opry was honored by the Commonwealth of Virginia General Assembly on Feb. 17, 2017, via “House Resolution No. 397” which commended The Virginia Opry for producing country music shows in the Alleghany Highlands for 25 consecutive years.
Governor Ralph S. Northam signed “Senate Bill 283” on March 31, 2020, to designate The Virginia Opry as the official Opry of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
M. Ray Allen said, “The Opry has grown from its original 10 members to 71 members who comprise 12 bands, and Ray Tucker is highly deserving of the recognition he will receive on the first Virginia Opry show of our 33rd performance season.”
Denise Glass, a Patsy Cline tribute artist from Jonesville, Va., will be featured during the first half of The Virginia Opry’s first show of its 33rd performing arts season, and Nashville recording artists Bruce Allen, Jason Burke, Keith Bryant, and Glen Shelton will pay tribute to the Grand Ole Opry after intermission.
All five members are recording artists from Virginia, and all five performers have graced the stage at The Historic Masonic Theatre in the past. Bruce Allen and Burke are The Virginia Opry’s newest members, having been inducted on Dec. 7, 2023, when they opened for Charles Billingsley, another member who has 24 albums to his credit and seven No. 1 Christian music hits. Bruce Allen first performed as a guest on The Virginia Opry while Tucker was the director in the mid-1990s.
Tucker, who is 90, has pastored nine different churches during his career as a pastor, and he holds the title of United Methodist Pastor Emeritus. He and Nancy, his wife, reside at Scott Hill Retirement Community in Clifton Forge.
Tickets for The Virginia Opry’s show at The Historic Masonic Theatre on Sat., Feb. 10, are $15 for balcony seating and $20 for orchestra seating. The box seats have been sold out.
M. Ray Allen revealed, “Appalfolks is offering a Sweetheart Ticket Special for those who call the box office at (540) 862-5655 or visit the box office at 510 Main St. in Clifton Forge where they may purchase one ticket and receive a second ticket free.”
The online ticket purchasing system is not set up to accommodate the “Sweetheart Ticket Special,” Allen concluded.
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