West Texas church born again as honky tonk - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

West Texas church born again as honky tonk

SNYDER, TX (KCBD) -

It's a good old fashion honky tonk and it's also the very first venue that brought live music to Snyder. The history of the Belle Opry House is far from traditional.

Before the dance floor, bright lights and stage the Belle was the home of church pews, hymnals and sermons which is not a typical transformation for a small West Texas community.

The 15,000 square foot white church was built back in the 1920's but closed down several years ago.

"It was originally the first Church of Christ," explained Suzanne Swiney who purchased the building.

"We bought it about three years ago and decided that we would open up a music venue kind of known as honky tonk," added the Texas country music enthusiast.

"To me this was an empty building and she looked so sad, so abandoned, and I was just feeling sad at the time when we bought the Belle I found out I was diagnosed with breast cancer," said Swiney.

The project was put on hold, but after battling breast cancer - and beating it - she got back to work. The Belle finally blossomed.

"So we went on this journey and I wanted to bring live music. I wanted to bring friends together for just good times, and that's kind of what we did. For some reason, the Belle seemed to be in my mind a picture of somebody just blossoming into a beautiful belle."

In April of 2009, the first concert kicked off at the Opry House and since then bands have been taking the stage and leaving their mark on the famous wall of the legendary Belle.

"We've had Josh Abbott, Casey Donahew, Jason Boland. We've had some huge names come play here," said Swiney.

Not only did the Belle bring life to Snyder's music scene, but it is also helping better lives through their new group called We Care.

"In October, we have what you call 'Save Second Base.' We bring a bunch of bands in and we had a great turnout last year. All the money we make goes to Cogdell to help them pay for mammograms."

For more information on events in Snyder click here

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved.

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