Wednesday, September 29, 2021
– Mandy Barnett was surprised on her birthday on Monday with an invitation to become an official Grand Ole Opry member.
Barnett has appeared on the Opry more than 500 times over the course of nearly 30 years. Opry member Connie Smith joined Barnett on stage to lead the Opry audience in "Happy Birthday" and then read a birthday card that 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.
A visibly shaken Barnett said, "This is the happiest day of my life. I came here back in the '80s 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."
"Well, honey you've earned it," said Smith.
Barnett will be formally inducted into the Opry family later this fall. She is also scheduled to appear in each of the Opry's four "Opry Country Christmas" shows debuting this coming holiday season at the Opry House.
"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.
Barnett released her eighth studio album, "Every Star Above," which she released in May.