The Northwest Opry is enjoying its new venue at the Nodaway County Senior Center.
And the traditional country music group, which changed locations after Movie Magic closed its doors earlier this year, hasn't missed a beat, members say.
In fact, according to promoter Charles Smith, the center provides a better location for the weekly shows, which take place from 2-4:30 p.m. each Sunday.
"We have a bigger parking lot with more handicap access," Smith said. "There is a good dance floor, and the acoustics in here are perfect."
Smith said that since the move last month attendance has been up among local seniors.
"It gives some good exercise. And they can come out after church, have a good time, and get home before dark."
The shows are free, but a donation jar placed by the door helps offset the group's travel expenses.
With a roster of about 10 regular musicians — some of whom have been playing together for more than 20 years — the group usually only meets for performances.
"Our practices are our shows," Smith said. "We've all been together long enough that we know each other."
The group, which is able to move easily through its two and a half hour set without benefit of a song list, typically plays twice a weekend in addition to scattered special events. Their other regular gig is Saturday night from 6-9 p.m. at the Andrew County Senior Center in Savannah.
The band mostly plays gospel-influenced country music and welcomes "walk-ons."
Anyone who wants to join in by singing or playing an instrument is usually welcome as long as they clear it first with Smith or his wife, Donna, who acts as the band's master of ceremonies. In addition to managing the group, Charles Smith also runs the PA and handles other behind-the-scenes chores.
"I enjoy doing the sound and promoting," Smith said. "It's nice to watch people enjoy themselves."
Northwest Opry was formed in 2004 and includes members from all over northwest Missouri and southwest Iowa.
Regular performers include Donna Smith; Rex Barnett, rhythm guitar; Jim Wymore, guitar; Gary Walker, guitar and bass; Jack Fisher, steel guitar, banjo, rhythm guitar; Caryl Walker, lead guitar; Bill Dudley, rhythm guitar; Morris Perkins, lap steel guitar and vocals; and Beth Perkins, vocals.