Those in attendance at the Opry’s February 10 show witnessed something they’re sure to never forget. That day, Josh Turner started off his set by giving his 98-year-old grandmother-in-law Lois the chance to make her Opry debut.
Lois stunned everyone when she sat down at the piano and delivered a soaring rendition of “How Great Thou Art.” All of these months later, and people are still talking about the moment that Lois moved the entire Opry with her piano playing. The moment was so memorable in fact, that we even included it on our Most Memorable Country Music Moments of 2016 list.
It goes without saying that Lois’ debut has now gone down in the Opry history books. With 2016 coming to a close, the Opry decided to look back on the moment in its special Story Behind the Song series on YouTube.
Josh sat down for a short interview about the moment, saying that it was actually all his wife Jennifer’s idea. But surprisingly, Josh confessed that he shot down the whole thing at first.
“My wife asked me that afternoon about the possibility of her playing on the Opry that night,” he said. “And I was like ‘no way, don’t even think about asking [GM] Pete [Fisher].‘”
But when Pete came and talked to Josh and Jennifer before the show, the conversation turned to Lois. After meeting Lois, Pete was the one who asked Jennifer if Lois would play at the Opry during Josh’s set that night. Josh knew he couldn’t say no to that!
As Jennifer led Lois out on stage, she was excited but had no idea what to play. When she asked Jennifer for a suggestion, she told her to play a hymn. That’s when she took off on “How Great Thou Art,” and the rest is history.
Josh still can’t believe how many people have watched the video of Lois’ Opry debut, which as of press time has generated nearly 8 million views. “I had no idea that my grandmother-in-law would become an internet sensation,” he said.
Even though Josh was surprised by Lois’ internet fame, we honestly weren’t! She delivered a beautiful rendition of “How Great Thou Art” on the piano, which allowed her to reach so many more people than those who were at the Opry that day.
Tune in to the video below to hear Josh explain more of the story behind this history-making Opry moment. The video also includes some clips of the best moments from Lois’ performance, so you can relive all of those wonderful moments.