Traditionally, the color of the famous barn backdrop of the Grand Ole Opry is red. However, this past Saturday, the color scheme changed just a little -- for a great cause.
"Opry Goes Pink" was the theme of the evening at the famous WSM Radio show in Nashville, as the night was dedicated to the honor and memory of women who have waged battles against cancer.
One such survivor was Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts who called the evening "A very special night." Serving as a celebrity announcer on the show, Roberts introduced such Opry mainstays as Martina McBride and Bill Anderson, who she playfully teased about his "Whispering" nickname. The evening was a homecoming of sorts for Roberts, who spent time as a sports reporter for Music City's WSMV-TV earlier in her career.
Another survivor of the disease is Gospel star Sherri Easter, who talked backstage about her battle with breast cancer. The singer performed a powerful ballad titled "Hear My Heart ," that was inspired by her diagnosis and battle against the disease. It was one of the highlights of the night's performances.
Many of the artists there have a personal reflection concerning cancer. Veteran Opry member Ronnie Milsap discussed the battle that his sister-in-law has waged against the disease, and fellow artists Kellie Pickler and Lauren Alaina both talked about how members of their families have fought against the disease.
The evening also proved to be memorable for donations made to Women Rock For The Cure. The Hard Rock Café made a donation backstage before the show, and longtime Opry sponsor Dollar General Stores made a donation on stage, as well. Women Rock For The Cure is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 by four friends with ties to the music industry.
One attendee of the night's festivities that was very emotional was Yolanda Smith. A Cancer survivor, Adams was brought to the stage by Roberts, who presented her with the Women Rock For The Cure's 2011 Honorary Young Survivor. Smith, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2010, was visibly moved by the honor. She credited her children for being a huge part of her making it through the battle. "Their joy, their energy and love for me gave me the strength to keep going when I felt like quitting," she said. 'I thought if I quit I would not only let myself down but I would let my kids down and that is something I never intend to do."
The evening was capped off with a powerful performance from McBride of her current single, "I'm Gonna Love You Through It," which is about a wife receiving mental support from her husband after being diagnosed with the disease. McBride says that the song touched her instantly.
"I remember the first time I heard it," she said of the track. "It was at a meeting where people from publishing companies play you songs they hope you record and it just stopped everyone in their tracks."
The evening also featured performances from Opry members Little Jimmy Dickens and Connie Smith. One of the performance highlights of the evening was Kellie Pickler's debut of "Stop Cheating On Me," a cut from her upcoming album on Sony -set for release in January 2012. The traditional-drenched ballad gave Pickler a chance to stretch her vocals as never before, and Big Machine newcomers Eden's Edge gave those in attendance a taste of their talent with their current single, "Amen." Member Hannah Blaylock was visibly moved when fans near the front of the stage began to sing their current single with them.
For more information on the Grand Ole Opry, log on to www.Opry.com, and for more information on Women Rock, log on to www.WomenRockForTheCure.com