With 2009 ending, and no more Grand Ole Opry shows for the year, I wanted to take a look back on how many appearances each Opry member made during the past year, and also look at which non-Opry members appeared the most times. During 2009, if I did my math right, there were 199 Opry shows. These include the Friday and Saturday shows, the Tuesday Night Opry, Opry Country Classics, and the Opry matinee that they did during CMA week. It should be no shock to anyone that the Opry member with the most appearances in 2009 was Jimmy Dickens. Even though he missed shows due illness and being in the hospital, the 89 year old Dickens performed at 145 shows this past year. Just an unbelievable number considering everything with him.
As far as everyone else, here is the complete list, in order from most appearances to the least:
96-Bill Anderson, Jimmy C. Newman
95-Jim Ed Brown
63-Jack Greene, Riders In The Sky
32-Vince Gill, Del McCoury
30-George Hamilton IV
16-Mel McDaniel, Lorrie Morgan
13-Charlie Daniels, Steve Wariner
12-Charlie Louvin, Pam Tillis
10-Trace Adkins, Joe Diffie, Craig Morgan, Stu Phillips, Ralph Stanley, Carrie Underwood
9-Diamond Rio, Larry Gatlin, Mel Tillis, Montgomery Gentry
7-Charley Pride, Josh Turner
5-Dierks Bentley, Terri Clark, Alison Krauss
3-Roy Clark, Patty Loveless, Loretta Lynn, Ronnie Milsap, Brad Paisley
2-Billy Grammer, Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood
1-George Jones, Reba McEntire
0-Clint Black, Garth Brooks, Wilma Lee Cooper, Tom T. Hall, Alan Jackson, Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton, Jeanne Pruett, Ricky Van Shelton, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt
Some interesting numbers there, especially among some of the newer Opry members. One person that I found interesting was Mike Snider. In 2008, he appeared at the Opry only 20 times, yet he was up to 121 this past year. Also in 2008, Jimmy C. Newman had the most Opry appearances, at 115.
The other number that I find disturbing is that 31 Opry members, almost half of the Opry roster, made 9 or less Opry appearances this past year.
Among non-Opry members, these are the ones who had the most Opry appearances in 2008:
13-Cherryholmes, Mandy Barnett, Emily West
11-Dailey & Vincent, The Grascals
10-Darryl Worley, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Gene Watson
9-Jamie O'Neal, Mark Wills, Rhonda Vincent
8-Chris Young, Point Of Grace
7-Buddy Jewell, Keith Anderson
6-Holly Williams, Aaron Tippin
When you look at those members who are in the top 10 in Opry appearances, 2 are over the age of 80 (Jimmy Dickens and Jimmy C. Newman), and several more are well past 70 (Bill Anderson, Jim Ed Brown, Jack Greene, Jean Shepard). As as been noted in the past, the younger Opry members have got to step up and make regular Opry appearances to keep the show vibrant and moving forward. Of the members with no appearances in 2009, Wilma Lee Cooper is ill, and Barbara Mandrell, Jeanne Pruett and Ricky Van Shelton are retired. As far as the rest, Clint Black last appeared in 2007 with 2 appearances, but before that the last time he was at the Opry was in 2003. Garth Brooks has made 3 appearances since 2000, Tom T. Hall has not been to the Opry in a decade, Dolly Parton has made 4 appearances since 2002 and Randy Travis has appeared just 3 times since 2001. While Reba McEntire made 1 appearance this past year, before that the last time she was on the Opry was in 2000.
Just the opinion of this writer, but if you are not going to be a part of the show, then leave and make room for others. There is just no excuse for joining and to have the prestige of being an Opry member and then not showing up to support the show. Or even worst, to show up for a special event or when the Opry is going to be televised and you are going to be on the tv portion is just wrong. Let's hope that Pete Fisher continues to make wise choices this coming year on new Opry members and to pick those who will be there and support the show. As has been noted in the comments, Opry prices continue to go up, the show is shorter and the line-ups have been pretty weak at times. With over 65 members on the Opry's roster, and only 12-15 artists on each show now, you would think it would be pretty easy to have a quality line-up each week. The fans who are paying the high prices for tickets expect that and I agree.
As always I look forward to comments and opinions.