The band starts playing at 6:30 p.m. and the fun begins!
The dance floor at the Sciple’s Mill Opry is packed with friends and family, as well as visitors from throughout the state, who enjoy country and gospel music, with a little bit of rock and roll!
“We all just really enjoy getting together and making music,” said Ed Sciple, owner of Sciple’s Mill and ring-leader of the Sciple’s Mill Opry.
Supper is potluck and everyone enjoys some of the finest of home-cooked dining in Mississippi. The DeKalb community has been enjoying the Sciple Mill Opry since 2004 when the family decided to find a permanent location for dad’s band to play.
The Opry is a family tradition that started with the late Edward Sciple’s love of music. Sciple was a life-long musician and had a band most of his life.
“Their band actually started playing at the old country store where the Opry is now, around the mid 50’s and 60’,” Sciple said. “They would gather up there and people would come out and hear the music.”
In 2002, the original band started getting together and playing about once or twice a month at different houses and locations where they could find.
“We had this old store building that was being used mostly for storage so we cleaned it out and started having music, Sciple said. “The response was so good that we started playing every Saturday night. We played every Saturday night for years.”
It wasn’t long before the popularity outgrew the space and they expanded the building to include a stage and a dance floor. The band typically performs gospel music for the first 30 minutes to an hour and then classic country, blues and some rock and roll for the rest of the night.
Current band members include: Sciple on drums, Ruby Bolen playing the piano, Frank Weaver on bass, Wayne Eldridge playing guitar, Stanley Pearman on lead guitar, and James Thomas playing guitar.
“We also have guest musicians that come join in and play at various times,” Sciple said. “We never know who is going to show up.”
Another featured musician that joins the band at every opportunity is Sciple’s 10-year-old grandson, Seth Holmes, who can play piano, drums and the harmonica.
“Seth has grown up at the Sciple Opry and has always loved music,” Sciple said. “His favorite is the piano and he is a Jerry Lee Lewis fan. He started playing piano around six years old. If he is not hunting, fishing or playing sports, then he is usually playing music.”
Visitors can expect to find a family friendly atmosphere, with no alcohol or smoking allowed. Sciple says they always have good food of some type, and every few months, the Sciples host a special cooking” that is very popular. They cook everything from barbeque, fried catfish and chicken. But it is the “chittlins” that always brings a big crowd.
Visitors always seem to enjoy themselves and there are regulars that come every time they open the doors. While there, guests are invited to tour the Grist Mill that has been in the Sciple family for five generations.
In 1860, John and Helen Sciple bought the mill around 1860 and it has been in the Sciple family since then. The original mill was built on the site around 1790 by a Dr. Hunnerly, and has been in continuous operation, with the exception of a tornado in 1973 that destroyed the building and several floods. Ed Sciple began operating the mill in 2009, when his father’s health began to fail.
Sciple’s Mill still grinds for the public today and they still charge the exact fee for grinding as they did in 1790. The mill is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 12 noon to grind corn for the public.
The Opry is held on the first and third Saturday of each month beginning around 6Ed:30 p.m. and ending around 10:30 p.m. The entry fee for the Opry is $5 and there is no fee to tour the mill. For more information, contact Ed Sciple at (601) 743-2295.
This article was published in the May/June issue of Mississippi Magazine: