The Grand Ole Opry launched its 90th anniversary with special shows Tuesday evening, kicking off a nine-month celebration of nine decades of great country music. Numerous events and occasions are planned throughout the year, including Opry appearances by some of the genre’s hottest stars and most enduring legends including Florida Georgia Line, Charlie Daniels Band, Scotty McCreery, Oak Ridge Boys, Old Crow Medicine Show, Rascal Flatts, Reba, and more. Details on the celebration will be updated throughout the year at opry.com.
“The Opry’s 90th anniversary comes at an exceptionally exciting time for the show,” said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager. “Fans around the world are engaged with our unique brand of entertainment like never before, and country music’s new stars, superstars, and legends continue to aspire to play the Opry stage and call it home. We want to officially invite fans and artists alike to come be a part of it all with us over the next nine months.”
90th ANNIVERSARY, ACTIVITIES, SHOWS AND EVENTS
Among the activities already announced for the nine-month celebration:
Backstage Displays – After artists shared stories of some of the seminal instruments and artifacts from the Opry’s history during Tuesday’s kick-off show, they were placed backstage at the Opry House as part of a display showcasing the Opry’s nine decades of music. Such artifacts include the fiddle played by Uncle Jimmy Thompson on the very first broadcast of what would become the Grand Ole Opry, a steamboat whistle used by Opry founder George D. Hay to introduce Opry broadcasts, and a guitar strap used by Opry great Little Jimmy Dickens, who passed away at the dawn of the Opry’s 90th year. Also displayed are items from more recent Opry inductees including Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, and Steve Wariner.
Cause For Applause – The Opry is set to celebrate country’s heart throughout the year, bringing the Opry’s biggest stars and loyal fans together to support nine important causes over the course of nine months. Called “Cause For Applause,” the initiative begins in April with “Thank God For Kids,” a partnership with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. During the month, Opry artists will visit hospital patients and Opry fans will be able to designate a portion of Opry show and special merchandise sales be given to the hospital in addition to a variety of other activities. Additional causes include “Salute The Troops” and “Playin’ for A Purpose,” and will be announced throughout the year.
Guest Announcers – The Opry is again inviting noted personalities from the worlds of sports, show business, and journalism to be a part of the Opry’s anniversary as guest announcers on the show. Those with musical interests are also invited to sit in with the band on a song. Past guest announcers have included Garrison Keillor, Larry King, Robin Roberts, and Dan Rather to name a few. “I’m With The Band” participants have included Paul Schaffer, Bob Schieffer, Charles Osgood, and Lester Holt, among others. FOX & Friends’ Elisabeth Hasselbeck is scheduled to visit as a guest announcer May 30.
Opry 90th Birthday Bash – The Opry’s official 90th Birthday Bash Oct. 2-3 will feature four Opry performances; Opry House Backstage Tours; an Opry member concert; a two-day Opry Plaza Party including exciting new artists on the Plaza stage, and fan red carpet entries and photo opps, among other celebration elements.