When country music singer and Grand Ole Opry star Lorrie Morgan thinks about Christmas, she remembers magical days of childhood and family and music, and backstage scenes with her dad, the late George Morgan, at the Opry.
These days, she’s preparing to stir Christmases past and present into the mix of “Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas Dinner & Show,” which she will host from Nov. 16 to Dec. 25 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, as part of Gaylord Opryland’s 29th annual “A Country Christmas” celebration.
“It’s going to be an old-fashioned Christmas show. The staging is going to be beautiful, the songs great, and we’ll have a live choir every night from churches around Nashville. My nieces and nephews will be in the show and maybe an occasional grandbaby,” says Morgan, 53, who has four grandchildren.
There will be guest appearances by country music friends, including Pam Tillis and T.G. Sheppard, as well as her son Jesse Keith Whitley, 25, and daughter-in-law Ashlee Hewitt.
During her 50-minute set, Morgan will perform holiday favorites like “Toyland,” “Ave Maria” and “My Favorite Things,” plus some of her No. 1 country hits, including “Five Minutes,” “What Part of No” and ”I Didn’t Know My Own Strength.”
“Her rapport with her audience is just so genuine,” says fellow Opry member Jeannie Seely. “She loves performing like her dad did, and like I do, and it shows. The people love her.”
The daughter of country music balladeer George “Candy Kisses” Morgan, who died in 1975, Lorrie made her own performing debut at 13 on the Grand Ole Opry. She recalls many holiday highlights there, such as an onstage Christmas tree and a bustling backstage area full of country music stars making joyful noises.
“Everybody would sing Christmas songs instead of their hits,” she says. “They would be sitting in dressing rooms, singing harmony on Christmas carols. It was a great time backstage.”
Morgan’s other projects include a new documentary, Beyond the Interview: Lorrie Morgan, which will chronicle the ups and downs of her roller-coaster life and career, including her marriage to country hit-maker Keith Whitley and his death in 1989. She’s also working with her good friend Pam Tillis on a duet album, “Grits and Glamour.”
Every Christmas brings back memories of how her parents always made the holiday special for her, her three sisters and their brother, she says.
“Christmas was the big time of the year at our house. It was a fairytale world,” Morgan says with a smile. “We woke up to candy and singing and country ham. It was just a great time of our lives.”
For more information about Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas Dinner & Show, call call 1-888-777-OPRY (6779).