Marcia Campbell/Violet Hensley Facebook
If you’ve ever needed a reason not to give up on your dreams, Violet Hensley has given you one. Just three months shy of 100-years old, Hensley finally fulfilled her dream to perform on the Grand Ole Opry.
The Yellville, Arkansas, native learned to play the fiddle in 1928, just three years after the Grand Ole Opry first aired as the “WSM Barn Dance.” After getting married and raising 10 children, Hensley’s fiddling talents earned her a job at Branson’s Silver Dollar City in 1967. In the nearly 50 years the musician has been at the theme park she has achieved celebrity status by appearing in the park’s radio, television, and newspaper ads.
Hensley has also appeared on numerous television shows including “Captain Kangaroo,” “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee,” and “The Beverly Hillbillies.” But, until now, the one thing she always dreamed of doing had eluded her.
Sitting next to Opry legend Mike Snider Saturday night (August 6), Ms. Violet took her spot in the circle where thousands before her have stood, many of whom she listened to on a battery powered radio decades ago.
Playing a fiddle she built when she was 17-years old and wearing a dress made by her daughter, Sandra, Violet brought the crowd to their feet with her spot-on rendition of the bluegrass classic “Angelina Baker.”
After her Opry debut, Hensley took the time to teach the Opry dancers her “Mule Dance.”
— Grand Ole Opry (@opry) August 7, 2016
Watch Violet Hensley’s memorable Opry debut in the video below.