Smoky Valley Bluegrass Band, Tallgrass Express to perform at the McPherson Opera House


At 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 18, the McPherson Opera House presents an annual favorite event –Blast of Bluegrass – featuring the marvelous talents of bluegrass musicians from all over Central Kansas. This year’s show features performances by the “Smoky Valley Bluegrass Band” and “Tallgrass Express String Band.”
Performing traditional and contemporary bluegrass tunes, the “Smoky Valley Bluegrass Band” are Don Alvord, guitar; Dan Bruce, banjo; Matt Dudte, fiddle; Mason Ruble, bass; Wayne Ruble, mandolin; Dave Ruble, banjo; and Rollin Schmidt, dobro. Mason and Wayne Ruble are recognizable for their many years playing with the Kansas Bluegrass Association’s youth band, “TrebleMakers.” And during his time at KBA, Mason was featured playing banjo in the band, “Salty Dogs,” on Steve Harvey’s hit TV show, “Little Big Shots.” With lyrical vocals and a lively, old-time acoustic style, “Tallgrass Express” shares a mix of familiar classics plus original songs celebrating the Flint Hills – taking listeners to a world of stunning landscapes, skilled cowboys and spunky cowgirls, western romance and humor, runaway horses, and prairie walks among native birds and wildflowers. The band features rancher-songwriter Annie Wilson of rural Elmdale, named the “Flint Hills Balladeer” by Kansas in recognition of her many songs about the Flint Hills landscape and ranch life. Other members include the talented Carl Reed of Manhattan, Brent Entz of Walton, and Derrick Doty of Cottonwood Falls. The band has now recorded 46 songs on three CD volumes in their all- original “Songs of the Kansas Flint Hills” series. As member Annie Wilson asserts, “The Flint Hills are worth singing about!”
“Blast of Bluegrass” is an annual fundraiser for the McPherson Opera House and has become one of its most popular events. “Having to rely on donations to cover almost one third of our operating budget, we very much appreciate these performers donating their time and talent for the benefit of the Opera House,” said McPherson Opera House Executive Director, Diane Fallis. “It’s always a fabulously fun show. We encourage everyone to come join us for a good time – and we thank everyone for supporting this beautiful facility!”
Tickets are $20 and $30 (all inclusive), reserved seating, and can be purchased at, by calling 620-241-1952, or stopping by the box office at 219 S. Main St.

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