The Oriental Opry – From Coffeehouse to The Big House

Genuine. Organic.  Vintage. Authentic.

These are just a few words that hit the nail on the head when discussing the Oriental Opry, an event held at The Oriental Theater the second Tuesday of each month. Two Sundays ago, I met with Jane Manly and Joe Kellogg, the master-minds behind this great event that aims to strengthen the community through musicianship. After witnessing two captivating Oprys, I had to get the behind-the-scenes-scoop!

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Jane Manly and Joe Kellogg, organizers of The Oriental Opry. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Feb 2014

So how did The Opry start? The event actually stems from weekly jam sessions out of musician and friend, Rick Franz’s, garage. Jam sessions grouped with (Jane Manly and her friend, Vince Leclair’s,) suggestion of the band Dirt Simple taking the big stage at the Oriental Theater, and BOOM! The Oriental Opry was born last June 2013.

A variety show, The Oriental Opry aims to provide a variety of acts, currently consisting mostly of folk, blue grass, jazz and blues music. Coming up, Jane, the producer and organizer, is working on integrating other community acts, including magic and performances by kids in the community.

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Shots from the first Oriental Opry that DenverSpeax attended in January 2014 – we were instantly hooked! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

What makes The Oriental Opry so unique and special is that it’s “all about putting local musicians on the stage to create community; it’s about bringing people together”, Joe said best. Musicians reinforce this sense of community and camaraderie  by collaborating with each other on stage- many times without sheet music, simply supporting their fellow musicians. The musicians, Jane, and Joe rely heavily on word-of-mouth advertising for the Oriental Opry each month. No one participates in this event for the money – performers trust Jane’s producing skills and Joe as the MC, while musicians and viewers alike understand the mission behind The Oriental Opry.

Jane and Joe have created a supportive environment allowing musicians an opportunity to make the move from playing at the coffee house to performing in the big house. “The Oriental Opry allows musicians that are isolated to come together and collaborate”, explained the two, continuously stressing the importance of the community the event creates. Additionally, they described the amazing support they receive for the event from Oriental Theater owners Scott LaBarbera and Andy Bercaw. Lots of love toward them as well as Lara Moore for all of their assistance and belief in this fantastic event.

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Jeffrey Dallet and band at the February 12th, 2014 Oriental Opry event. See more photos by clicking on pic and visiting our Facebook page! Credit: Steve Mercer, Feb 2014.

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Nearly There jamming at the Opry! Credit: Steve Mercer, Feb 2014

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Come check out the talented musicians at the Oriental Opry – check them out by clicking on the pic above to be brought to their Facebook page. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Feb 2014

Once you experience this show, it will be easy to understand and feel a necessity to share in the mission; it’s not just another event – it’s a great time with some of the most talented musicians DenverSpeax has ever heard. They have a knack for entertainment, allowing you to forget to check the time on your watch and how many likes you got on your Facebook selfie that evening. The sounds are creative and captivating, all while giving you a sense of inclusion into The Opry’s community.

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Check out The Oriental Opry every 2nd Tuesday of every month at The Oriental Theater. March 11th, 2014, is the next Oriental Opry – don’t miss it!

For information on playing in the Oriental Opry, please contact Jane Manly for additional information via the Oriental Opry’s Facebook Page.

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