Old Church Opry House Brings 50s Band and Former T-Band Musicians to Ripley

RIPLEY – You may remember, or you may not, a group of young Falkner High School musicians who formed a band in the 1980s known as the T- Band. In either case you will want to be in the audience at the Old Church Opry House Saturday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m. when some of the original group will combine with Stanley Rolfe and his 50 Band for an evening of good down-home county music. In the founding days of the T-Band Stanley Rolfe was a teacher and coach at Falkner High School Participating musicians were students at Falkner. Four of the earliest members were David Foley, Nickey Nance, Stephen Harrell, and Terry McMillin. They sang together in church. Rolfe encouraged them to get other student musicians involved. He began to accompany them on guitar and sing with them. David Barkley, Kenny Graves and Terry McMillin were added and the band was formed. Rolfe and Ricky Gates rounded out the original group. New additions are Wayne Hussey of Tupelo and Ginger Harrell. Says Rolf, ” The band played local events, benefits, and some larger venues were added. The group performed in Humphrey Coliseum at Mississippi State University. They played in Jackson and performed the opening act for the then famous country duo, The Kendalls.” He added, “Not bad for a bunch of teenagers from Falkner and an old ball coach.” The vocalists in the band sing in the style of the Oak Ridge Boys, Gatlin Brothers, Satler Brothers and a little Southern gospel in the mix. Members of the 50 Band include Stanley Rolfe on electric guitar and vocals, Janet Rolfe, percussion and vocal, Larry Ridge, drums, Ricky Bates, bass, John Braddock, vocals, guitar, and harmonica, and James Simmons of Tupelo, vocals and keyboard. Simmons owns Lakeland Recording in Mooreville, and the band has produced several CDs. The group has been performing together about five years, and are well-known throughout Tennessee and Mississippi. Rolfe concluded, ” We expect a good crowd to welcome these musicians home and hear some toe-tapping, knee – slapping, make-you-want- to dance music.” A non-profit operation, The Old Church Opry House was set up in the old Ripley Presbyterian Church building at the corner of Jackson and Cooper Streets several years ago. Area businessmen Wayne Windham, Leon Borden, Bobby Hodges, and Bernice Clemmer organized and sponsored the building’s management and transformation into a community facility. There is no set admission. However donations are accepted and appreciated.

Jane Matthews/Southern Sentinel