|Lorrie Morgan’s Christmas gift|
|Monday, November 12, 2012|
Country star sings for the holidays
By KEN BECK
Country music vocalist turned jingle belle Lorrie Morgan says Christmas was “very magical” in her home as a youngster, thus she hopes to recreate the same atmosphere at her upcoming Nashville holiday extravaganza.“It’s just gonna be a classic Christmas show. We’ll sing Christmas songs, and the stage is gonna be beautiful. We’re gonna have some special guests that will drop in and out on various days. It will be very family friendly, a very pretty Christmas show,” says the Lebanon resident of her Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas Dinner & Show, which runs Nov. 16 through Dec. 25 at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.
Morgan, 53, the daughter of late “Grand Ole Opry” legend George Morgan (“Candy Kisses”), claims three No. 1 hits (“Five Minutes,” “What Part of No” and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength”), and while she will sing them at her holiday show, the slate will feature songs from her 1993 “Merry Christmas From London” album as well as her own Yuletide favorites, including “My Favorite Things,” “Ave Maria,” “Blue Snowfall” and “Up on Santa Claus Mountain.”
Among friends and family who will be making appearances during her 50-minute set are Pam Tillis and T.G. Shepard, son Jesse Keith Whitley, 25, and daughter-in-law Ashlee Hewitt Whitley. Each evening will begin with a traditional holiday meal with all the trimmings prepared by Gaylord Opryland chefs.
“Christmas was always very magical when I was young. My dad and mom made everything that way. Christmas was extra special. It meant my dad was gonna be home from the road because he was gone all the time,” said Morgan, who grew up in Madison. “We were by no means upper class, just middle-class people. My parents worked very hard to give us a good Christmas. Elves were always around ringing bells.
“Mom played piano, and we would sing Christmas carols. We’d string popcorn on thedownstairs tree. Upstairs, mom had a beautiful white-flocked tree with all blue and gold lights. We made Christmas cookies and decorated. We were so traditional. We were very blessed children,” she says of herself, her three older sisters and brother.
“When I was a little girl we would go to Midnight Mass every Christmas Eve, and we would get to that part as we all sang ‘Silent Night,’ and big old tears would be coming down my dad’s face. How much he loved that song and how emotional he became when we would sing that in church.”
Of course, the major venue where she experienced music with her father was at the “Grand Ole Opry,” where she’s now a member of the world-famous radio show.
“The ‘Opry’ was always fun because there were lots of artists in during the holidays. The big tree was always up on the stage. For a young girl who dreamed of being a country music singer, I was in a magical land,” she reminisced.
As for what made the best Christmas gift she received as a child, she answers, “a little beagle puppy when I was about 14. I named her Darby.”
While she is preparing for her holiday marathon, Morgan just concluded a tour out West with her pal Pam Tillis to boost their current “Grits and Glamour” album. In early January the two are planning to do an acoustic concert from Morgan’s house in Wilson County that fans can view on their home computers for a fee at a web site called stageit.com.
Morgan has lived in the Lebanon area for the past four years, which is a convenient 30-minute drive from the stage of the “Grand Ole Opry.”
She and her husband moved here, she says, because, “I think the hustle and bustle of the city was really getting under my skin. Everywhere I went was traffic. I had no privacy. The houses were close together. I wanted to spread out a little bit. We found a great lot on the lake and moved my dogs and me and my husband out to Wilson County and absolutely love living by the lake.”
She found her current home because her husband, who does landscaping, was working in that neighborhood at the same time they were looking for a new place. He saw a house for sale and suggested that check it out.
“So we went and looked at, and I turned it down first time, but we ended up getting it, putting a pool in and making a paradise of the backyard,” said Morgan, noting their pets include four dogs (two Great Pyrenees, a pit bull and a Chihuahua), an African gray bird (named Claude Banks) and koi fish.
The couple shops and dines locally, but she has one yearning. “They don’t have sushi in Lebanon,” said the singer, who loves to cook.
“My husband and I absolutely spend so much time in the kitchen cooking. We have a garden, and the turnip greens are coming up. I have herb gardens, and in summertime I’m always swimming. Right now the pool is covered up and the turnip greens are coming up.
“And I spend as much time as I can with my grandbabies. I have four of them. The youngest one is 3 months old, the next is 10 months, then 15 months and 6 years, and one more is on the way, and they are all boys,” she laughs. “I’m gonna have enough for a little basketball team.”
Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas Dinner & Show
Country singer Lorrie Morgan entertains Nov. 16-Dec. 25 in the Tennessee Ballroom as part of Gaylord Opryland’s 29th annual “A Country Christmas” celebration. Tickets are $69 for ages 12 and older, $39 for ages 4 to 11 (plus tax and handling fees). To make reservations, call 1-888-777-OPRY or go online to www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-opryland/a-country-christmas/lorrie-morgan-christmas-show/