Like Mother, Like Daughter
Music has a way of bringing people together. It’s a universal language. And some artists, more so than others, have a lasting impact on the lives of their fans. The Judds, who will be appearing this month at Grand Oaks Resort in Weirsdale, is one of those groups.
On a warm June evening in Nashville in 2009, Wynonna Judd wrapped up her set to astounding applause. Following Wynonna’s performance, in an event that must have seemed magical to the thousands of Judds fans in attendance, Wynonna’s mother, Naomi, joined her on stage for the first time in years.
“We sang ‘Love Can Build A Bridge,’ says Wynonna, “and the audience was singing it back to us. It almost knocked me over. I have to admit, we left the stage and I felt like I was 3 feet off the ground. Talk about a collective group hug. I knew it would be a remarkable reunion moment, but the reaction from the crowd wasn’t expected. It was then that I realized that our music was still relevant to people’s lives.”
Sitting in her kitchen several days later, Wynonna called her manager and said “maybe we should celebrate this journey.”
“The idea was well received,” says Wynonna, “so we took a chance and put it all back together.”
The Judds’ Last Encore Tour, a celebration of more than two decades of country music hits, will make a scheduled stop in Weirsdale on October 15. The concert, taking place at the equine-inspired Grand Oaks Resort, will benefit the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that provides philanthropic support for Leesburg Regional Medical Center and The Villages Health System.
Fourteen number one hits, more than 60 industry awards and a music career that has spanned more than 20 years.
“As a professional, it’s been remarkable to celebrate this 25-year history,” says Wynonna. Reuniting on stage night after night with her mom is an experience Wynonna has a hard time putting into words.
“To look out and see four generations in the audience singing the same words we sang in 1984… sometimes I go offstage and just say wow. It’s like trying to take a drink out of a firehose or like having a wedding and reception every day.
And The Last Encore Tour is an absolute must for any “Juddhead.”
“The Judds are absolutely interactive and do a lot of audience participation,” says Naomi. “It makes it fun for the audience. And if you know anything about us, you know that you’ll never know what were going to be doing. That keeps everything pretty urgent.”
Wynonna agrees with a laugh.
“I never know what my mom is likely to do,” she says. “It’s a combination of everything you can imagine. Moments when it’s a bit edgy, and there’s some mother-daughter moments. Ten minutes later we’ll cry because we’re singing something emotional.”
With a laugh, Wynonna adds that sometimes the audience gets more than they bargained for. “You’ll get a lot of stories,” she says. “I’m 46 and run my own corporation and my mom introduces me like this: ‘Ladies and gentleman, my daughter, the little girl who used to hide her peas in her milk.’ and then takes off stage. I can’t tell you from one day to the next what she might say and do. It makes the tour very interesting. She’s not like all the other mothers, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
From an early age, Wynonna recalls her mother encouraging her and her siblings to be contributing members to the community.
“The most important gift we can give anybody is kindness,” says Naomi. “I think we’re here to grow and love and be of service.”
So it’s no wonder that the duo wholeheartedly agreed to the benefit concert to support the Alliance Healthcare Foundation.
“It was an absolute yes,” Naomi says.
“Fundraising events such as this concert and those we have planned for the future are essential for the progress and growth of our hospitals and the services we provide,” said Ted Williams, Central Florida Health Alliance Vice President/Alliance Healthcare Foundation in a press release. “With the challenges of operating a successful contemporary health care organization, the need for broad gift support from our friends in the community is greater than ever before.
“Our mission is to enhance the quality of health care in the communities we serve by securing financial support and enlisting people to make a commitment to our hospitals as their primary hospitals of choice,” added Williams. “We are committed to building community awareness through leadership and donor engagement.”
Funds raised through the foundation’s efforts are used for new equipment, research projects, construction and subsidizing care for those who cannot afford it.
“Our overall goal is to help our hospitals provide the highest-quality health services possible to our patients,” said Williams.
And those health services range from open heart procedures to neurosurgery to total joint replacement. The foundation is also planning to renovate and expand the pediatric services offered at Leesburg Regional Medical Center.
“Caring for our littlest patients takes a big commitment,” said Williams. “As a result of aging facilities, the need for enhanced and expanded services and technology has taken on a new urgency. The Grand Oaks festival featuring The Judds is a wonderful way to help support these endeavors.”
With dozens of much-loved songs, any good Judds fan can immediately rattle off the names of hit after hit. Their new music is already following suit to become beloved classics with the release of their first single in a decade, “I Will Stand By You.” Guests to The Last Encore Tour will be treated to a little bit of both—old and new alike, not to mention a selection of Wynonna’s biggest hits, including “Tell Me Why” and “Only Love.”
With a musical styling that’s hard to pinpoint, The Judds have gone down in history as the best-selling duo in country music history to date. Their music, which combines elements of bluegrass, traditional country harmony singing and Appalachian folk with pop and rock, has transcended generations. And one of mother and daughter’s greatest joys is sharing their music with their fans.
For Naomi, The Last Encore Tour is a chance to celebrate the relationship between The Judds and their fans one last time.
“There is nothing like music and laughter to connect people,” she says. “How I’ve missed that encounter with the very ones who’ve allowed us that awesome privilege!”
It’s also a celebration of a legendary relationship between a daughter and her mother.
“This tour gives me a chance to enjoy where my mom and I are in our relationship,” says Wynonna. “I look forward to celebrating our personal and professional journey… together.”
The Judds # 1s
Why Not Me
Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain
Mama He’s Crazy
Turn It Loose
Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days)
Girls Night Out
Love Is Alive
Change Of Heart
Let Me Tell You About Love
Young Love (Strong Love)
I Know Where I’m Going
Cry Myself to Sleep
Maybe Your Baby’s Got the Blues
Grand Oaks Resort – October 15
Tickets are $35 lawn seating, $60 guaranteed general admission seating and $125 VIP preferred seating. All major credit cards are accepted. To purchase tickets, visit thegrandoaks.com, call (352) 750-5500 or visit ticketmaster.com
Gates open at 10am and The Judds are scheduled to appear at 3pm.
Admission to the festival will include The Judds and other entertainment and events, including opening acts Rob Nichols, Norman Lee, The Calhouns and Donna Moore.
One grand prize winner will win the ultimate Judds’ fan experience!
Ocala Style is giving away 2 VIP tickets to the Judds’ October 15 concert at The Grand Oaks Resort in Weirsdale. Valued at $125 each, the tickets include preferred concert seating, access to the VIP lounge where you’ll enjoy complimentary food and beverages and a chance for a meet and greet with Naomi and Wynonna themselves. What more could any Juddhead ask for?
One runner up will receive a 4 pack of guaranteed seating tickets, valued at $60 each.
For your chance to win, go to Ocala Style Magazine’s Facebook page and “Like” us. Then click on our profile picture and leave a comment under our current issue. The topic? Share your favorite Judds memory.