Longtime Grand Ole Opry background vocalist Carol Lee Cooper of the Carol Lee Singers marked the end of her career with the venerable show on Saturday night (3/24).
During an Opry segment hosted by Cooper’s friend Marty Stuart, Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher presented Cooper with a framed print commemorating her years of service to the Opry. Stuart and his band the Fabulous Superlatives then treated Cooper and the audience to a rousing rendition of “Carol Lee,” penned and sung by band member Kenny Vaughan. Afterwards, as Cooper sat center stage, Stuart held her hand and closed the segment with the gospel standard “The Unseen Hand.”
“For thousands of Grand Ole Opry fans over the years,” Fisher said, “the sound of the Carol Lee Singers has become wonderfully familiar over the Opry airwaves. For all of us at the Opry, Carol Lee has and always will be family. We are so pleased to celebrate her long Opry career with her tonight and look forward to hearing about her future successes.”
“This wonderful Opry family will always have a special place in my heart,” Cooper said. “I’m proud to have spent so much of my life here around the music and people I love. I am blessed to have so many good things and interesting projects in store for me, and I already look forward to sharing them with everyone here.”
Cooper first appeared on the Opry stage with her parents, longtime Grand Ole Opry members Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, in 1956. She formed and has led the Carol Lee Singers, named by Opry patriarch Roy Acuff, on Opry background vocals since 1972. The Carol Lee Singers’ other members, Norah Lee Allen, Rod Fletcher, and Dennis McCall, will continue at the Opry as “The Opry Singers.”