The Daily Herald Staff Writer
When the March 3 show “Walking with Patsy,” begins at 8 p.m. at The Roanoke Rapids Theatre, the lights will be shining on a Hall of Fame musician.
Deb Kiger, who has been performing the Patsy Cline tribute, “Walking with Patsy,” since 2004, will be headlining the show, but only after The Country Music Opry Band, led by vocalist and guitarist Marshall Stephenson, starts the music.
Stephenson, who got his first fiddle at the age of 8 and began playing banjo not long afterward, said playing the theater is a far cry from where he began.
“I played 8 hours a day (as a boy,)” Stephenson said. “I drove my Mama and Daddy crazy until they made me leave the house. So I played behind the barn and scared the cows.”
A long musical career has followed, including meeting Roy Rogers and Dale Evans in 1957. Last year alone, he completed his 9th cd of bluegrass music.
The pinnacle, so far, he said, was his induction into the Carolinas Country, Bluegrass and Gospel Hall of Fame in 2010, which Stephenson said was a pleasant surprise.
“I never gave (hall of fame) a thought,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson promises a high-energy show combining bluegrass and traditional country, and said his band will perform for about 40 minutes prior to Kiger going on stage. After Kiger, the band will close the show, featuring songs such as “Orange Blossom Special.”
“We’ll give them a variety,” Stephenson said. “The key to putting together a good show is the selection of songs. I’ll put together some songs people will enjoy.”
Concert promoter Jim Babson, of Hilton Concerts, said he’s excited for the theater crowd to see Stephenson and the band perform.
“After listening to many country music bands on the east coats for numerous years, I have found the Country Music Opry Band delivers the best high-driving quality classic country music I have ever heard,” Babson said.
Stephenson said he’s not intimidated by playing a venue with the history and size of the theater.
“It’s a bigger venue,” Stephenson said. “It seems like the more people you have you get pumped up, and I think I do a better job. It makes some people nervous but when the chips are down that’s when I feel like I do my best.”
Babson wants the Valley to know that in addition to this show, tickets are also on sale for a return performance of Keith Henderson’s “Illusions of the King,” at 3 p.m. March 24 at the theater.
“With the success of Keith’s previous visit and the rave reviews he received, it was obvious he would return,” Babson said. “The fans have requested he return to the theater.”
Tickets are available at www.hiltonconcerts.com, by calling Showclix at 1-888-71TICKETS Monday through Friday or at the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce, located at 260 Premier Boulevard, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.