When the Cabarrus County Senior Center in Concord was approached about hosting the Opry Jam sessions on Wednesday nights 14 years ago, officials told the group they hadn’t had any success with Wednesday night programs but they could try.Price Yates was one of the original 14 musicians who started the Concord Opry Jam, playing country music as the group began to grow. Soon after they began people started coming to listen, watch and dance. Before long, the word spread, and the crowds grew. With approximately 100 to 150 spectators and 15 performers per night, there is no set order or script. Each musician’s name is written on a white board in the order they arrived, and that is the order for each set. When it is each performer’s turn, he sings the lead to the song of his choice while the other musicians play back-up and the crowd listens and dances. Some choose well-known favorites while others choose their own original songs. Tom Caudle even wrote a song that picks on his fellow artists titled “Wednesday Night Senior Center Jam Session Blues.”Yates, the unofficial emcee, said, “My favorite part is seeing the people every week. Some people tell me it is the highlight of their week.” He went on to say that a few couples have met at the jam sessions and have gone on to get married.The regulars are so united that Frances Goodman, who writes the artists names on the white board upon their arrival, also keeps up with the regulars who might not be in attendance. If Goodman knows someone is sick, she takes get-well cards around and makes sure everyone in attendance signs them so she can let them know they were missed. The program is free to the public from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday nights. The program runs 48 times a year, only missing the dates the center is closed. Details: 704-920-3484.
Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
Opry jam going strong after 14 years
Seniors enjoy fun, dancing and music on Wednesdays
The group jams during the Concord Opry Jam at the Concord Senior Center on Corban Avenue on Wednesday nights.
Frank Hinson (left) and Eleanor Waltrip dance during the Concord Opry Jam at the Concord Senior Center on Corban Avenue.
Unofficial emcee Price Yates, who was one of the original musicians, gets things started during the Concord Opry Jam at the Concord Senior Center.
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