Gathered at the comfortable, historic Belcourt Theater in Nashville on Friday (June 14), Trisha Yearwood's fans honored her with a $1,086 donation to St. Jude Children's Hospital. Funds were solicited through various fan Web sites and chat rooms -- only $5 a person was requested -- and Yearwood herself was surprised and delighted at the gesture.
Three of her fans also presented her with an etched-glass award in appreciation of her talent and her voice. Yearwood graciously accepted the honor, noting that before she had won any female vocalist trophies of her own, some of her fans gave her a plastic statuette for female vocalist. "They said they voted for me," she said, adding that it sits prominently amid the numerous accolades she has earned since.
After the heartfelt presentations by her fans, a very relaxed and casual Yearwood raffled off memorabilia and hosted a light-hearted trivia competition that asked questions about her life and career. The winner took home a 1994 tour jacket, made exclusively for the band and crew, which had been stashed in Yearwood's closet. After that, five more fans -- as well as her band -- joined Yearwood for an impromptu version of "Name That Tune."
But the fans came for Yearwood's voice, and she obliged them with a few favorites and requests from years past. Her sturdy rendition of "There Goes My Baby" earned a standing ovation. She introduced "I Don't Paint Myself Into Corners" declaring, "I've recorded hundreds of songs over the last 11 years, and I can't remember the last time I have loved a song this much."
Halfway through the set, she reached down from the stage to shake hands with a young woman with Down syndrome. The fan used the leverage to pull herself up on stage with her favorite star. Always a class act, Yearwood paused to introduce her fan to the audience, hugged her and made sure she got off stage safely.
The audience applauded Yearwood, and this example of humanity is another reason why her fans continue to support her. She also took the time to introduce the five members of her band, her fan club organizers, her merchandise coordinator/designer, the lighting and sound personnel, the stage manager and the guitar tech.
Yearwood had just returned from New York City, where she sang "Could It Be Magic" in tribute to Barry Manilow at the 33rd Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame induction on Thursday. Garth Brooks, also honored at the New York City ceremony, did not join her at the Belcourt Theatre.
"I don't know what the next 10 years will hold," Yearwood told the delighted audience, but with confidence she stated, "The last 10 have been really cool, and I'm gonna keep on making music."
"Devil in Disguise" (excerpt)
"She's in Love With the Boy"
"Midnight Train to Georgia"
"Down on My Knees"
"Fairy Tale" (excerpt)
"There Goes My Baby"
"I Don't Paint Myself Into Corners"
"Wrong Side of Memphis"
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"