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Walters Family “Humbled” To Perform At Ryman

October 6, 2009


I have no doubt that my legs would give out if I were to ever walk onto the stage of the famed Ryman Auditorium while the assembled crowd applauded.  It is not that I have stage fright.  Instead my legs would buckle knowing where my feet were about to tread, knowing who else had walked that stage over the many historic decades that the Grand Ole Opry performed there. 

It is with that preface that I lead into this story about the Walters Family that was invited to sing on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium.  What an honor!!   Considering the Walters Family performance at the Ryman parallels the 84th Birthday Celebration of The Grand Ole Opry….now you feel the history and drama!

It’ll be a little different experience from the barn stage they usually perform on several times a week.

The Walters family will be in the company of greatness when they take to the stage this Friday at one of the world’s most prestigious music halls.


“Many artists wait their whole lives to perform there,” Kimberly Walters said.

The local country music band has been asked to perform at the Ryman Auditorium, the former home of the Grand Ole Opry.

“It’s dripping with history,” Walters said of the 2,362 seat theatre that has been home to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks, Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and The Judds.

The Walters family, which includes Kim Walters’ seven-year-old son, Schyler, will be packing up their musical instruments and heading to Nashville on Tuesday.

“It’s cool we’re performing there,” Walters said. “It’s very prestigious — you have to be asked.”

The family received the invitation after two Grand Ole Opry reps came to one of their shows.

“They scouted us out and gave us an invitation,” she said. “We were honoured to accept it.”

And they are not going alone.

About seven motorcoaches of loyal Ontario fans will travel to Nashville to watch the show.

“We’re very humbled by that. That’s a very nice thing,” Walters said.

The story of the Walters Family begins in the early 1960s when Shirley, the daughter of George and Ann Matheson, married Garry Walters after they met while square dancing on a television show.

Matheson bought the farm where the Walters Family Theatre now resides and the Walters family eventually settled there after years of renovations.

It was George Matheson’s fiddling that would lead the Walters Family to their ultimate destiny.

He inspired all the Walters children to learn how to play an instrument of their own.

Darren Walters, who can now play 10 instruments, began performing at age four with his siblings.

They called themselves the Walters Family Trio and played every weekend at dances, weddings and family affairs.

Darren Walters eventually taught his parents to play instruments so they could also join the band. Eventually they commissioned a tour bus and performed throughout the United States and Canada.

They started playing at dances and then larger venues like fairs, corporate events and rodeos.

In mid-1980s they were hired for a television special by CKCO. The program was syndicated across the United States.

The family watched what was happening in Branson very carefully, where people travelled to the city to watch the acts.

In the mid-1990s they established a base at the Paris Fairgrounds where they played several shows a month during the summer.

In 2000, they opened the Walters Family Dinner Theatre in a barn renovated into a 160-seat theatre, and the family thrived.

Next year the theatre will celebrate its 10th anniversary with performances by Marty Haggar, Jimmy Fortune, Merle Osmond and Walter Ostanek.

“2010 tickets are going like crazy,” Walters said. “For most shows, they are already half sold out.”

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