Dolly Parton celebrated 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry over the weekend, capping off a week of performances by numerous artists, including Chris Janson, Margo Price, Dierks Bentley, Emmylou Harris, Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum and Hank Williams, Jr. and more, performing some of Parton's biggest hits. The country music icon was on hand on Saturday, Oct. 12, to commemorate the milestone anniversary, which she admits is hard to comprehend.
“This whole week is very special,” Parton said from the Opry stage (via The Tennessean). “I’m just grateful for all of it. Who knows when you’re starting how you’re going to turn out? Now, here I am at 73 years old looking back on my life and thinking, ‘I’m still here, and they’re still allowing me to feel like I’m important in the business.’ It’s a beautiful wonderful thing.”
"Dolly, it's Keith here. Happy anniversary. 50 years as part of the Opry family. Amazing. Amazing. I so wish I could be there tonight to celebrate with everybody. I'm in London, touring, doing what you've done for so long, traveling all over the world, bringing your music. You are such an inspiration, Dolly. You really are. So, congratulations. Happy anniversary. Here's to many, many more. I love you."
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Brooks and Yearwood offered their congratulations with a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Parton between them.
"We're just here with Dolly Parton," Yearwood quipped to the pretend Parton. "We just want to say congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry. It's pretty cool that you're a member. She's really excited. She's not saying much tonight. She's saving her voice 'cause she's gotta sing later, but you look fabulous."
Parton's love of the Grand Ole Opry began as a child, living in rural east Tennessee with her large family.
“My daddy loved the Grand Ole Opry so we had to listen to it back home, and me dreaming of being on it, and I remember that being special," the Country Music Hall of Fame member recalled. "But then the night that I actually became a member, after I was on Porter Wagoner’s show, and got to actually be member 50 years ago this year, it was one of the highlights of my whole life because it was a true dream of mine. I just wish Mom and Daddy could be here tonight — but I think they are.”0comments
Both the Friday and Saturday night shows were taped for an upcoming television special, Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Grand Ole Opry. The show will air on Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo Credit: Getty / Terry Wyatt