Danny Boy at the Grand Ole Opry

Maureen Houston, Jenna Mullins, John Bradley and Ray Houston pictured at the Grand Ole Opry last year.
Maureen Houston, Jenna Mullins, John Bradley and Ray Houston pictured at the Grand Ole Opry last year.

Recently, a Derry Journal reader shared her story with us, about her love of Elvis and overcoming her fear of flying to visit Graceland. Today, Mo Houston extends her story to recall the moment her husband sang at the Grand Ole Opry.

Anyway, indulge me one more time please and let me tell you the sequel to that amazing day-because there was one other person whose dream became a reality on that trip.

The famous Grand Ole Opry stage.

The famous Grand Ole Opry stage.

My husband Ray is well known in the town, indeed anyone who has ever passed through the Richmond Centre is bound to have seen him as he works there as a member of the security team.

What most people don’t know though, is that Ray has the softest, melodious tenor voice. I know, I’m biased, but it’s true.

Every St Patrick’s day, he’s there, in uniform, entertaining the crowds, even at his work.

So, as well as being an Elvis fan, (how could he not be, being married to me?), Ray along with my brother John is a big country fan.

Ray Houston singing 'Danny Boy' at the Grand Ole Opty.

Ray Houston singing 'Danny Boy' at the Grand Ole Opty.

So after Graceland, we setthe next day off for Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry.

At 9am in the morning we were at the Greyhound station for the three hour journey to Nashville.

We were in great spirits and while waiting for the bus Ray got into a singsong with a lovely, very old southern gentleman, who couldn’t believe what was happening.

To quote him, “You Irish folks know all the Motown songs!”

Needless to say, the bus journey was memorable, to say the least, until we parted company with him in Jackson.

Finally, we arrived at the Opry, where, of course, we had tickets for a backstage tour. And what a tour.

We were shown into all the stars’ dressing rooms and into the green room, where we made sure we sat on every chair - just in case we missed where some of those great artists had sat before us. Then, into the main auditorium and onto the stage where all those performers had sung - Dolly, Johnny Cash, Elvis (I’ll try not to mention him again!)

There were quite a few people on the tour, mostly Americans, and a lot of the crew getting ready for that night’s show.

Our guide then asked if there were any singers amongst us. What’s a girl to do? Of course I pushed Ray to the front of the stage. By this stage, Ray was getting pretty nervous. “What will I sing?” he whispered to me.

They’re Americans, I replied, “Sing Danny Boy.”

And so, on that spot where all those stars had stood, my lovely husband belted out Danny Boy. It was the best I’d ever heard him sing it.

When it came to that last high high note, he hit it pitch perfect, and I thought my chest would burst with pride.

All the people who were there, staff, crew, tourists gave him a standing ovation.

Ray’s claim to fame is that he has sung on stage at the Grand Ole Opry - you all know what mine is ... remember the bed on the Lisa Marie plane?!

We flew home the next day after the best wedding, best holiday EVER!

You know what? Dreams can, and do, come true - so never lose sight of them.

And just a final thought for my lovely hubby - YOU are my second favourite singer in the world!