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For more than two decades, the folks at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center have covered the hotel and grounds in all things Christmas.And this year, the 25th anniversary of Gaylord Opryland's A Country Christmas, the celebration is kicked up another notch — from the nearly 2 million holiday lights entwined throughout the complex to the assorted themed activities, dining experiences and Christmas shows."This year we are celebrating on an even larger scale because of our silver anniversary," said Pete Weien, senior vice president and general manager for the hotel's attractions. "We are thrilled to have Louise Mandrell join our family this year, bringing her energy talent and passion for the holidays to our new dinner show. This is the most Christmassy resort in the nation, perhaps even the world."Comfort and joyMandrell, who stars in the show she has dubbed Louise Mandrell's Joy to the World Christmas Dinner & Show, replaces fellow country singer Pam Tillis, who performed the dinner series for the previous three years. Mandrell's evening will feature traditional Christmas songs, a bit of comedy, lots of dancing and a family-style Christmas dinner on which she worked with the resort's executive chef, Michael Swann, to create."The food was brought together on the principle of comfort food," Swann said. "The idea was to create a residential feel here at Opryland."The multiple-course menu includes apple salad with bleu cheese, orzo pasta and harvest grain salad, chicken roulades with cranberry corn bread stuffing, beef tenderloin pot pie, candied yams, old fashioned scalloped potatoes with mozzarella crust, green beans and bananas foster bread pudding with eggnog English cream or New York-style cheesecake with cherry sauce.As for the show, the singer intends to take audiences on a musical tour around the world. Country singer Barbara Mandrell, her older sister, helped Louise organize an evening of entertainment that would showcase all of the younger sister's talents."Barbara said to picture what I wanted the show to be about," Mandrell said. "I said that I have joy in my life and I play a lot of different instruments, so I would like to take people around the world. We start out with a very sophisticated number, and we dazzle them with clothes. Then we do a tribute to the military, and Lou the Mailman takes everyone on a journey to the North Pole."In addition to Mandrell's show, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes is back for another year, and ICE! featuring How The Grinch Stole Christmas! is making its final appearance in Nashville.ICE! will be back next year with a new theme, but until then, families can enjoy the 1.5 million pounds of ice painstakingly sculpted into scenes from the Dr. Seuss classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas! There are 20-foot ice slides, photo opportunities and a gift shop at the end that serves hot chocolate.Other Christmas activities on the resort's grounds include: the Brightest Star fountain show; gingerbread-making classes; carriage rides; an outdoor Nativity display; Rockabilly Christmas; kids holiday train; a craft show; holiday-theme spa treatments at Relache; and pictures with Santa. In addition, there's also NashVegas on the River and Tim Watson's Tennessee Christmas, both aboard the General Jackson Showboat.As for Mandrell, she's just happy to be included in the silver anniversary Christmas celebration."Just because the Rockettes are next door doesn't mean I can't kick as high as they can," she said with a laugh. "I am a Christian, and I get to share that light with people. I am so blessed."Reach Cindy Watts at 615-664-2227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louise Mandrell Flips for Christmas at OprylandPosted: December 5th, 2008 at 2:24 pm | By: Whitney Self This week I had the opportunity to attend Louise Mandrell’s “Joy to the World” Christmas dinner and show at Nashville’s beautiful Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Boy, is she a bundle of activity. “I’ve never been one to stop,” she told me in her dressing room following the show as she darted around her dressing room drying her hair, applying her lipstick and changing her earrings. Lucky for me, she paused for a quick chat before she was back out signing autographs for the hordes of fans lined up to meet her. I’ve seen my share of concerts and entertainers, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anyone with as much energy and spunk as Louise Mandrell. At 54, she has the enthusiasm of a teenager and the physique of a runway model. “I’m more fit now than I was when we started, and I’m having a blast,” she told me.The night began with a lovely dinner of stuffed chicken, green beans and the works. A divine desert and action-packed show followed, as Mandrell appeared in a stunning snow-white gown belting out “Joy to the World.” Before I knew it, she had changed into a sparkling sequined gown, with more wardrobe changes in store. She danced and sang for well over an hour, entertaining the crowd with holiday favorites and showing her vast musicianship as she played the fiddle, recorder and even an elaborate drum routine. As much as I enjoyed her singing, it may have been her dancing that impressed me the most, as her partners threw her in the air and flipped her over their shoulders. I’d even say Louise Mandrell gives the Rockettes a run for their money.
Long Lives the Queen: Celebrating Kitty WellsTom Roland January 13, 2009 Kitty Wells sat calmly, almost regally, in a back room of the library at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, quietly contemplating her life and career. The Nashville native has done quite a bit of reflection recently, thanks to a new exhibit at the Museum. "Kitty Wells: Queen of Country Music, Presented by Great American Country Television Network," which remains open until June 14, 2009, puts her history-making life in a big-picture perspective through exhibits of awards, chart reproductions, vintage TV footage and stage wear, including the peach dress she wore to the CMA Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House in 1976 on the night she was inducted into the Hall of Fame. "Things," she reflected, "worked out pretty well for us." That line alone proves that Wells is the Queen of Understatement as well as of Country Music. "Well," she explained, with a smile, "I let other people do the bragging. I'm not one to really brag and carry on like that." Of course, no one would blame Wells if she ever did engage in a little self-promotion. Before Loretta Lynn first told off her husband in song, before Tammy Wynette belted out her orchestrated declamations, before Dolly Parton stirred her pot of sonic fragility and glitz, Wells enjoyed a 14-year run of Top 10 hits that helped make it possible for women to achieve success as Country artists. Wells wasn't the first female to make a mark on this music. Patsy Montana sold a million copies of her classic "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," released in 1935. Lulu Belle Wiseman found acclaim on "The National Barn Dance," broadcast from Chicago over WLS radio, as half of the husband-and-wife team Lulu Belle and Scotty. But no woman nabbed a solo No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart until Wells, who achieved that distinction with "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" in 1952. "If it hadn't been for Kitty Wells," Barbara Mandrell suggested in a famous quote that's documented in the "Queen of Country Music" exhibit, "there wouldn't be a Dolly Parton or Tammy Wynette, and there certainly wouldn't be a Barbara Mandrell." The magnitude of what Wells achieved becomes clearer when you put her into the context of her time. Women earned the right to vote in 1920, just 32 years before her ascendance, and during her peak commercial years in the 1950s society still maintained a strict division of roles according to gender. Men worked for a paycheck to support the home; women tended the house and took care of the kids. The feminist movement had yet to develop, though the frustrations that sparked it were already brewing. "Kitty was always speaking for women," observed Patty Loveless, who covers numerous Country songs from the 1950s and '60s on her latest album, Sleepless Nights. "I do believe that she was a voice for all women during that time." Many women had only recently entered the workforce, during World War II, as men were called into battle and factories suddenly needed personnel to meet the military's needs. And when the soldiers came back home, many of those women found it difficult to return to the role of housewife. "After World War II, things began to change," the late Minnie Pearl is quoted as saying in the "Queen of Country Music" exhibit. "Women began getting fed up with their way of life." Coincidentally, Wells first achieved success thanks to a song about being fed up with "The Wild Side of Life." Recorded by Hank Thompson, this single spent 15 weeks at the top of the charts, with a lyric that castigated a woman for choosing liquor and "the glamour of the gay night life." Lured by the prospect of a $125 recording payment, Wells agreed to record "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," which rebutted Thompson's hit by placing the blame on philandering husbands. The timing in 1952 for release by Decca Records of this single was as perfect as Wells' interpretation of its message. Her performance was strong and defiant, stern but not harsh, pained but not defeated. The song lodged for six weeks at No. 1 (equivalent to the amount of time Faith Hill's "Breathe" and Carrie Underwood's "Jesus, Take the Wheel" spent at the top position in this decade) and opened the door for Wells to follow it with a series of singles that mined the divide in broken homes, including the post-split "I Can't Stop Loving You," the resigned "Release Me," the forlorn "You Don't Hear" and the divorce ruminations "Will Your Lawyer Talk to God" and "Mommy for a Day." Despite the disharmony of that subject matter, Wells enjoyed a home life marked by enduring love and stability. At 18, she married fellow singer Johnnie Wright in 1937, and the couple has stayed together for more than seven decades. Wright was part o
Country music legend Louise Mandrell will appear at Celebrate Santa 2009 in Gatlinburg, TN on March 16.This past Christmas season, Ms. Mandrell was the featured entertainer for the “Joy To The World” Christmas Dinner & Show at the Opryland Hotel where she sang her hits and songs of the season.“We are thrilled to have Ms. Mandell join us at Celebrate Santa and help us kick off our first annual event.”, said Michael Rielly, Director of Media and Public Relations for Celebrate Santa 2009.Ms. Mandrell will be available for pictures in the Santa’s Showcase vendor pavilion from 2:00PM to 4:00PM.
Mandrell, Clark, McCoy join Country Hall of FameNASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Barbara Mandrell, Roy Clark and Charlie McCoy will become the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.The CMA announced the selections Wednesday in Nashville. All three will be formally inducted in a ceremony this spring.Mandrell's hits include "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed" and "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool."Clark's hits include "Tips of My Fingers" and "Yesterday When I Was Young." He co-hosted the long-running TV show "Hee Haw" with Buck Owens.McCoy was chosen for his skill as a musician, especially on harmonica. He was one of Nashville's top session players in the 1960s and '70s.Inductees are chosen by more than 300 voters appointed by the CMA's board of directors.
By Associated Press 5:56 PM CST, March 5, 2009NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Irby Mandrell, Barbara Mandrell's father and longtime manager, has died in a Nashville hospital. He was 84.A spokeswoman for the country star said the elder Mandrell died Thursday at Baptist Hospital after a brief stay.Barbara Mandrell said recently that her father's support was unwavering when she began her musical career as a child, even starting the Mandrell Family Band to help her realize her dream.He attended a news conference last month announcing his daughter as one of the newest members to be inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame.Barbara Mandrell said in a statement that family and friends were at his bed when he "passed peacefully on to his heavenly home."A funeral service will be held Sunday at Forest Lawn Funeral Home in Goodlettsville.
March 5, 2009 — Barbara Mandrell’s father, Irby, who played a huge role in her landmark career, died Thursday at Nashville’s Baptist Hospital, two days after he was first hospitalized. No cause of death was announced for the 84-year-old, who played a significant role in Barbara’s life, not only as a parent but also as her manager. He began mentoring her in the business while she was still in school and continued to oversee her career even when she reached her peak in the early 1980s when she became the first person ever to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award twice. He also had a hand in the careers of Barbara’s two sisters. Louise enjoyed a successful run of hits as a country artist in the mid-1980s, and Irlene spent some time as a cast member on "Hee Haw." "Our family and some friends were standing around my daddy's bed at Baptist Hospital when he passed peacefully on to his heavenly home," Barbara said in a statement. "I'm speaking for all of my family, especially my sisters Louise and Irlene, when I say he was our hero and we will miss him always." Irby was on hand when Barbara was announced last month as one of the 2009 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She made a point during the ceremony of thanking him personally for his guidance. "It’s been all about Daddy and me," she said. "In 1970 when we got our first bus — that bus that was made in 1948 — I thought it was the most beautiful bus in the world. And [he] drove it, usually only about 10 or 12 hours — sometimes 14 or 16, sometimes 24 hours — and I’d sit and talk to [him], and we’d talk about someday we’d get a new bus." Ultimately, she got a new bus, a bundle of hit records and an NBC variety series, "Barbara Mandrell & The Mandrell Sisters." "Daddy all the way taught me — first booked the dates, went out and worked them with me, got me there, but he wore many, many hats," Barbara noted. Her Hall of Fame honor "is me being honored, and this is Irby Mandrell being honored, because he earned it." Visitation will be held at Forest Lawn Funeral Home in Goodlettsville, Tenn., from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. The funeral is slated for 3 p.m. Sunday. Barbara was slated to appear Friday at the Country Radio Seminar, where she is to be interviewed by Brooks & Dunn’s Kix Brooks. A spokesman for the CRS announced Thursday that despite her personal tragedy, Barbara intended to honor the commitment.
March 9, 2009 — If ever you could count on someone, you can certainly count on Barbara Mandrell. The day after her father died last week, she refused to cancel an appearance at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, where she not only chatted with Kix Brooks for over an hour, but carried on with a sense of humor and style. Others have backed out of more lucrative engagements for less significant reasons than the death of a loved one. And family friend Clint Higham told Barbara’s daughter, Jaime, that no one with CRS would be offended if she didn’t feel she could make the "Life Of A Legend" discussion. Barbara didn’t even consider backing out. "I told my daughter to give me the phone," Barbara recounted, "and I told Clint, I said, ‘I will be there because my daddy told me to be there.’ And he told me years ago to be here." Barbara’s father, Irby, managed her career for more than 35 years, booking her even before she was a teenager and coaching her on everything from stage presence to business conduct. The Mandrell family, including Barbara’s sisters Louise and Irlene, scheduled Irby’s funeral for Sunday. But even amidst the grief last week, the show still had to go on. And it wasn’t because Barbara was being heartless. Showing up on Thursday is what Irby would have expected. "He had open-heart surgery three times in his life," she told attendees. "Either the first or second time, they were getting ready to do the operation, and I was scheduled to go to London. And I said, ‘Well, obviously, I’m not going to London.’ And I began to speak of something else, and he said, ‘Oh yes, you are.’ He said, ‘When you make a commitment or an agreement with someone, you honor that. They’re counting on you.’ He said, ‘The deal is, Barbara, in your life, if you’re not in the hospital or in the grave, in the ground, you do what you said you would do. You be there.’" In that earlier instance, Barbara literally boarded the plane to London at the same time her father’s surgery was beginning. This time, she knew she needed to be at CRS, where she talked with Kix about everything from her early years to sex to joining the Country Music Hall of Fame. "She is not wanting to make this a somber appearance," Kix noted in his introduction. And she did not. Dressed in a gray pantsuit, Barbara told jokes, turned the tables by asking Kix questions and made a point of praising radio. Despite the enormity of the moment, she dabbed at her eyes just twice — and one of those times, she was talking not about her father, but about her late friend Patsy Cline. Barbara is "one of the classiest ladies I’ve ever met in my life," Kix said. She’s "not just really important to country music — she is important to gospel music, she is important to America, she’s important to entertainment, she’s important to people. She’s an inspiration on every level." Barbara’s Hall of Fame induction will occur in May. She’ll join the Hall alongside Roy Clark and session musician Charlie McCoy.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Longtime WSMV-TV anchor Dan Miller died Wednesday night of a heart attack in his hometown of Augusta, Ga., at the age of 67.
Fans at the Lulu Roman Concert Friday night got a special treat. Saturday's headliner Louise Mandrell came in early and attended Lulu's concert as a surprise to Lulu. Lulu spotted her from the stage and introduced her to the audience. Lulu and Louise taped many Hee Haw episodes together.Saturday's afternoon show with Louise Mandrell and Triumphant Quartet was outstanding. The afternoon show was sold out and the evening show was very well attended. The Triumphant Quartet delivered a great show and they were a terrific group of guys. Louise Mandrell was not only an outstanding singer and showman but down to earth and most sincere. Louise only performs at Christmas time in Nashville as she spends most of her time close to home so her performance at Bearcreek Farms was a rare occassion. She also shared many intimate details of her family and thoughts on her father's recent passing.
I’ve never laughed as much as I have at a funeral than I did for today service for longtime WSMV anchor Dan Miller.His longtime friend, one-time on-air colleague and Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak was one of four speakers at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, on West End Avenue. Pat shared several of Dan’s e-mails of funny observations and random thoughts.Former WSMV news director turned priest Mike Kettenring shared many funny stories, including the time Dan gave elections results on a chalkboard, and Dan’s unusual Oreos diet.And Dan’s brother, Lynwood Miller, and Dan’s colleague Rudy Kalis also shared some awesome stories. All also spoke of Dan’s love of the community, love for his family and gentle spirit.And Vince Gill — after some funny comments of his own — sang the most beautiful version of Give Me Jesus.Music Row was well represented, with Faith Hill, Barbara Mandrell, Deborah Allen and others there.Broadcasters present and past included Bob Mueller, John Dwyer, Davis Nolan, Rhori Johnston, Kristen Priesol, Hope Hines, Chris Clark, Demetria Kalodimos, Terry Bulger, Teddy Bart, Karlen Evins, Charlie McAlexander, Eddie Stubbs, Joe Fisher, Keith Bilbrey, Carol Marin, Lonnie Lardner, Tammi Arender and others.
Louise and Irlene will be on Crook & Chase Thursday 7/23/2009 at 8:pm eastern(RFD-TV)
A long time Mandrell fan, just gettin the word out.