Grand Old Opry entertainsPublished 4:19am Tuesday, November 29, 2011
By JEAN OUZTS
The 33rd-annual Golden-Ager-sponsored Climax Grand Old Opry got off to a clapping, stomping, and shouting good time Friday night, Nov. 25, at the Decatur Grady Head Start School (former Climax school auditorium).
A full house enjoyed the show, and also watched a future star in little 3-year-old Hunter Searan, as he took a closer look at the performers and kept time to the music. Hunter is the son of Donald and Jennifer Searan of Bainbridge.
Emcee Joe Salter/Kenny Rogers kicked the show off with a rousing welcome and then belted out, “Love Lifted Me.”
Then came Danny Lambert/George Strait with “Write This Down.” Gwen Wingate/ Minnie Pearl and Joe Salter/Kenny Rogers shared several jokes with the audience, who gave their approval with loud guffawing. Minnie also sang, “If Jesus Came to Your House.”
The Rev. Wayne McDonald/Hank Williams Sr. kept time to “Hey Good Lookin’” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” Greg Hurt/Ray Stevens brought the house down with that “Mississippi Squirrel!”
Paula Hurt/Chrystal Gale, with “Angel of the Morning” led to the Statler Brothers, played by John Collins, Danny Lambert, Greg Hurt and Keith Harrison.
The Judds, a.k.a. Melissa Salter Apperson and Bonita Salter Turner, sang “Love Can Build a Bridge” and “Rockin’ with the Rhythm of the Rain.”
Amy Phillips/Reba McIntire took the show to intermission with “Fancy.”
A big hit of the second half was Vera McDonald/Dolly Parton (complete with oversized hairdo!) singing, “Jolene.” Everyone was glad to see Keith Harrison/Conway Twitty back this year with “Hello Darling,” as well as Alma Hart/Loretta Lynn, with “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
June Carter and Johnny Cash, performed by Laycee Palmer and Ken Palmer, got married in a fever and then asked if you were a carpenter, which led to Greg Hurt/Lee Greenwood in the Grand Finale. Everyone there was “Proud to be an American,” while all veterans serving or having served stood up for special recognition of their service to America and keeping us free.
Backup singers were Jessica Hurt and Brittany Heard. Playing in the band were: Ken Palmer, Tracy Salter and Joey Salter, guitars; Sandra Sirmons, banjo; Jeannie Heard, keyboard; Danny Lambert, guitar; and Keith Harrison, fiddle, as well as the drummer, who asked to remain anonymous.
Providing excellent sound service, even when the lights went out, was Sam Sirmons. Several expressed appreciation to Sam and Sandra Sirmons for continuing on the tradition of the Climax Grand Old Opry, a pantomime show with local talent dressing and acting as opry stars past and present. A special, “Thank you,” to Sandra, for her assistance with this article.