A website, tasteofcountry.com recently posted an interview that was done by Sam Alex with Lorrie Morgan. The article is titled, "Lorrie Morgan Opens Up About Opry Membership, Spanking Blake Shelton." The interview was posted earlier today and you can read the entire interview by going to the link posted above and scrolling down to locate it.
Lorrie said a few interesting things about Opry membership that caught my eye. In the interview she claims that the Opry has brought back the old rule that all members need to play 24 times a year, and for those who don't follow the rule, they get a stern letter from the Opry.
According to Lorrie. "They send out a letter that says you know, 'We are kind of demanding that you must be here so many times a year to continue your membership.' Because it's just not fair. People want to say, 'Hey, I'm a member of the Opry,' and not want to come back. The Opry takes dedication and it takes love. It takes love." She also says in the article that she tries to play the Opry at least twice a month.
Interesting that she is saying the same thing about performers joining the Opry and not coming to play on the Opry that Roy Acuff was saying 40 years ago.
Now as far as her comments, I have not heard of any such letter being sent or of the Opry insisting on 24 appearances per year. The standard that they have been going with since Pete Fisher took over as the Opry's general manager in 1999 has been 10 appearances. If the Opry is going to demand 24 appearances per year from their members, they are going to be in a whole lot of trouble. Of the 63 current Grand Ole Opry members, only 13 of them would have made the requirement: Bill Anderson, John Conlee, Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers, Vince Gill, Del McCoury, Jesse McReynolds, Bobby Osborne, Riders In The Sky, Jeannie Seely, Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Mike Snider and The Whites. Notice who is not on the list? Lorrie herself.
Considering that the vast majority of Opry members could not even make the 10 appearances previously asked for, how in the world do they believe 24 is a realistic number? And what are the consequences for those who do not make 24 appearances. Is it realistic to think that the Opry is going to fire 52 of its members?
Now, I do like Lorrie Morgan and appreciate her every time she performs on the Opry and I am looking forward to her new album and to her upcoming Opry appearance. And to her credit, she has increased the number of her Opry appearances over the past several years and I would be perfectly happy if she was on the Opry twice a month. To me, that is a very realistic number.
Maybe she is a little mistaken in her facts. If it is true that a letter has been sent out, maybe it was more in line of asking a few of the members where they have been lately, rather then asking for 24 annual appearances. On the positive side, imagine what the Opry would be like each week if Garth Brooks, Reba, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Carrie, Little Big Town, and all of the Opry's other big stars appeared 24 times. It would be an awesome show each week.