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Why We Can’t Wait to Celebrate Trisha Yearwood’s 20th Opry Anniversary

Twenty years after Trisha Yearwood became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, we’re taking a look back at our favorite moments ahead of her anniversary celebration on Tuesday, March 12.

1. She has tirelessly pursued her dream.

Music has been a passion for Trisha Yearwood since she was a young child — even before she received her first guitar, a modest instrument that her parents bought at Sears Roebuck, at 5 years old. When studying music business at Nashville’s Belmont University, Yearwood worked as a tour guide for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. In a 2015 Tennessean article, she admitted that she probably wasn’t the best at giving tours — she was too busy looking at stuff. A few decades later, she’d have an exhibit dedicated to her life story at the museum. How’s that for a full-circle moment? Not to mention, the lyrics of one of her earliest hits “Wrong Side of Memphis” is nothing short of prophetic:

I’ve had this dream from a tender age,
Calling my name from the Opry stage,
I can hear it sing loud and clear,
200 miles and I’ll be there

2. The Opry’s history is not lost on her.

The Grand Ole Opry has long been cherished by the Yearwood family. When Yearwood’s mother made a trip to the Opry from southern Georgia as part of a senior class trip decades ago, she wrote in her diary about seeing Hank Snow, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and others performing. “When I was inducted as a member of the Opry in 1999, she brought her diary and got Hank Snow to sign it. So it’s not only about me, it’s also about my whole family,” Yearwood recounts in the Opry Family Album.

Yearwood and Brooks perform on stage during their surprise 2015 appearance.

3. She loves a good surprise Opry performance.

Both Opry members, Yearwood and husband Garth Brooks have given Opry audiences a surprise of a lifetime not once, but twice when they showed up for unannounced performances in 2015 and 2016. At their 2015 show, the sold-out crowd was treated to a medley of classic country duets like “After the Fire is Gone” by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn and “Golden Ring” by George Jones and Tammy Wynette. After being introduced by Vince Gill on stage, Yearwood quipped, “I didn’t have a chance to bring my band or call them or anything, but luckily I live with a Grand Ole Opry member, so if you all would make welcome my guitar player for tonight, my husband, Mr. Garth Brooks!”

4. Her artistry is enduring.

Yearwood was among a class of female powerhouses who rose to fame in the 1990s, but her soaring vocals are timeless, transcending a span of musical eras. At her Opry induction, she sung a soulful rendition of the Patsy Cline classic “Sweet Dreams (of You)”. (Following her induction, Yearwood was gifted a necklace once owned by Cline herself.) In fall 2018, she released Let’s Be Frank, an album honoring the work of Frank Sinatra. Capturing the grandeur of songs by The Sultan of Swoon is no simple feat, but Yearwood did so brilliantly.

Yearwood performs on the Opry stage in 1999, the same year she became a member.

5. The night she was invited to become an Opry member was a historic one.

When Yearwood was invited to become a member of the Opry on January 16, 1999, it had been 25 years since the show moved from Ryman Auditorium to the Grand Ole Opry House. But the occasion marked a sweet homecoming and a new beginning for the Opry. The special weekend of shows served as a catalyst for a new era in which the show returns to its most famous former home every winter. It was an emotional night. When Ricky Skaggs extended the invitation to Yearwood, she said, “You don’t tell somebody to sing another song when you just asked them to become a member of the Opry, but we’re gonna try.” Who better to celebrate on a momentous occasion than the woman whose spirit embodies the Opry?

Celebrate Trisha Yearwood’s 20 years as an Opry member along with us on Tuesday, March 12. Yearwood will perform along with other artists including Rodney Atkins, Trace Adkins, Terri Clark, Mark Wills, and more. Tickets are still available for purchase.