"Can your hear me now?" he said to the technician adjusting the sound system. The soundman nodded, and the Backporch Reunion Band flew into a rousing rendition of "New Heartache From An Old Sweetheart."
The band was back at the museum Saturday night for another fundraising concert. The event was sponsored by the Kelly Historical Society.
The concert was held in the sanctuary of the former Centerville Baptist Church, which houses the museum. Before the music began, bandmembers and the audience enjoyed a hot dog dinner in the former church fellowship hall.
"This is the type of thing we used have around here years ago," one patron said.
In addition to local residents, a number of the band's avid fans attended the sing. People from as far away as Fayetteville and Hampstead drove to Kelly to hear the classic country, Southern gospel and bluegrass sounds of the "Backporch gang."
"We try to play a little bit of everything," said Rocky Watts, the band's leader. "Everybody doesn't like the same thing."
In addition to venues like the museum, the Backporch band plays at churches, rest homes and "wherever we can have a good time."
"If you can't laugh at yourself and have fun," Watts said, "what's the use?"
While the band is paid for some concerts, they often play for free. For the two concerts at Kelly, all proceeds were donated to the Kelly Museum and Historical Society.
Watts said the band enjoys playing at the museum.
"One of the things I like about Richard (Smith, who organized the event) is that he just tells us to do what we want to," Watts said. "We try to mix it up so everybody can have something they enjoy, and it seems to work."
The audience Saturday contained listeners ranging in age from six to nearly 90. Before the first song was finished, heads were nodding and feet tapped against the carpet of the old church. Two young girls wiggled and squirmed on the front row, quietly clapping their hands.
When the band broke into a lively bluegrass number, they jumped down and began dancing with each other, giggling as Watts wagged a finger at them in false remonstrance.
When a bass guitar played by Watts' wife Joy developed a problem, Watts stopped the music and joked with the audience and the band while Mrs. Watts' tinkered with the bass.
"What I love about doing stuff with home folks," he said, addressing the audience, "is that you can stop if you need to, and sometimes, we need to a lot."
"Sunnyside of the Mountain," "Sweet Mountain Caroline" and other tunes make up the band's portfolio.
Several members play multiple instruments, but the banjo, lead and bass guitars, dobroe, and mandolin are their main instruments.
Watts said he loves making music, as do the other members of the band, and "if it ever quits being fun, then it's time to stop.
"It's all about having fun," he said. "If I start looking at it like a job, then I'm going to push the instruments under the bed and sell all the equipment. If you can't smile, what's the good in it?"