PRESTONSBURG – Billie Jean Osborne’s Kentucky Opry held a special performance in the Gearheart Auditorium on the Prestonsburg campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) on Saturday, July 11.
It marked a special occasion for the popular show. Twenty-six years ago, the Kentucky Opry held their first-ever performance in the Gearheart Auditorium in front of an invitation-only crowd. The goal was to create a groundswell of support to turn the dream into a reality.
It did just that.
It not only led to the creation of the nationally-renowned Kentucky Opry. It also led to the construction of the state-of-the-art Mountain Arts Center.
Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of Big Sandy Community and Technical College, welcomed the crowd. A classical trained pianist, Dr. Stephenson was put on the spot by Keith Caudill, executive director of the Mountain Arts Center.
He responded by playing a beautiful rendition of “America the Beautiful.”
“The Kentucky Opry is much more than an avenue of entertainment for Eastern Kentucky, its members serve as ambassadors of goodwill and highlight some of the best talent our region has to offer,” said Dr. Stephenson. “We are proud to work with the Mountain Arts Center and the Kentucky Opry.”
Susan Scott, an instructional specialist at the East Kentucky Science Center, is a member of the Kentucky Opry. Other members include Haley Sullivan, the 2014 winner of the Big Sandy Idol competition. Sullivan participated in the Big Sandy Singers and Band in 2014-15 and will continue her education at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. this fall. Kaitlin Good, a former Big Sandy Singers member, also sings for the Kentucky Opry.
Clayton Case, director of Fine Arts at BSCTC and a former member of the Kentucky Opry, also performed.
Dr. Stephenson said that a recent agreement with the Mountain Arts Center will allow the college’s Fine Arts department to work with the state-of-the-art center to inspire the musicians and artists of tomorrow.
“It’s an exciting time, and we are fortunate to have such a world-class venue for performing arts here in Eastern Kentucky,” he said.