Mandy Barnett received the ultimate birthday present last night (Sept. 28), when she was invited to become an official member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Barnett, who has appeared on the Opry more than 500 times over the course of nearly 30 years, will be formally inducted into the Opry family later this fall. She is also slated to appear in four Opry Country Christmas shows debuting this coming holiday season at the Opry House.
Opry member Connie Smith joined Barnett on stage to lead the Opry audience in singing “Happy Birthday,” before reading a birthday card which included Barnett’s invitation. “You’ve felt like family since we first met, and on this, your special day, we’re honored to invite you to become an official member of the Grand Ole Opry!” Smith read.
Mandy replied, “This is the happiest day of my life! I came here back in the 80’s and met so many of the greats that came before me like Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Jean Shepard, Billy Walker- and you Connie. I made my Opry debut in 1994 and I’ve had so many supporters who have rooted for me and been nice to me all these years.”
“Night after night, year after year, we’ve been astounded by Mandy’s magnificent performances. She loves the Opry and the Opry loves her right back. It’s a great match now and will be for years to come,” said Dan Rogers, Opry vice president and executive producer.
She has built a reputation for her devotion to classic country, R&B, and popular standards. A Tennessee Music Pathways historical marker in Barnett’s Tennessee hometown honors her contributions in making Tennessee the “Soundtrack of America.”
Barnett’s latest album, 2021’s Every Star Above, acts as a celebration of Billie Holiday’s Lady in Satin with arrangements by the late jazz maestro Sammy Nestico.
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