Oskaloosa.com

June 26, 2013

An important place on a musical journey

By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Homer Long has had a storied musical journey.

Long, a lifelong player of old time country music, is looking to celebrate is 100th birthday July 5.

During his years playing hoedowns and other events, Long and many others played numerous shows at the What Cheer Opera House.

Long's daughter Gloria Bartlett said this period of her father's musical career is perhaps the most interesting. She noted that her father, as well as her mother Helen, met Daryl and Opal Walker from What Cheer while playing in Fremont.

“They had invited mom and dad over to their house in What Cheer and then they got to playing on their front porch,” Bartlett said. “There got to be so many people that gathered around when they would have these jam sessions that they decided to move into the opera house and I think it was probably Opal and Daryl Walker that kind of made the arrangements to get into the opera house.”

Bartlett noted that her father and other performers had standing room only audiences at the What Cheer Opera House.

“They raised a lot of money and helped in the renovation of the opera house,” said Bartlett, noting that these efforts helped replace the stage curtains and renovate the bathrooms.

“I played there several years,” Long said.

Bartlett said her parents played with several other folks at the What Cheer Opera House and developed friendships that way. A lot of their shows at the opera house took place in the 1990s, said Bartlett.

“They had a lot of fun together just as a group of friends,” said Bartlett.

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Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com.