First time in the Opry audience: I went to the Opry while on vacation with my parents when I was 15. Of course, I convinced my parents that instead of a beach trip, we should go to Nashville! My plan was to never go home, but they made me finish school.
Favorite Opry debut memory: How terrified I was, but how welcoming everyone was — from the security guard at the back door to Porter Wagoner standing side stage watching my performance. It was instant family, and that’s rare.
Favorite song to perform on the Opry: It will always be “She’s in Love with the Boy.” If I didn’t sing it in my two-song set, Porter Wagoner, who was my champion at the Opry, would walk out on stage and say, “Sing the one that brung ya!” And I would. I sing “She’s in Love with the Boy” every time I play the Opry now, always for Porter. I miss him.
Most-treasured Opry souvenir: When I became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1999, Bruce Hinton, CEO of MCA Records, along with Patsy Cline’s family, presented me with a necklace that had belonged to Patsy. It was in a frame, and I hung it proudly on my wall for 20 years. I decided to smash the glass for my 20th-anniversary performance, and I wore the necklace that night. Afterward, I had the necklace reframed in an accessible shadow box, so I don’t have to smash the glass next time!
Dream Opry duet: Honestly, it’s my husband [Garth Brooks]. I feel that the word “magic” comes up a lot in our relationship, but when we sing together at the Opry, it’s truly magical. I think it’s because we share our love for the Opry and our respect for what it represents. We both know how special those moments are.