Another Grand Ol’ Time at the Ky Opry! {Jonathan advances to the Finals!}



Well, we had another wonderful time at the Ky Opry this past weekend.  Jonathan was one of the top 6 in the beginner’s division during this semi-final round.  The top 3 in his division advances to the final round this weekend.

And Jonathan made it to the top three!!

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We just had Eli with us on this trip.  Adam and Luke decided to stay with my brother and his family for some “cousin time.”

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It was a packed house this time because the top 6 winners from all four categories were performing (beginner, junior, adult, sr. adult)!

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Here’s my favorite part of the Opry…

I get a coke and popcorn before every show!  YUM!  Smile

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The music was great as always!  So many talented singers singing so much wonderful country music!  Jonathan sang Tim McGraw’s “Live like you were Dying.”  It was the first time he had every sung with a live band.  He said the music was so loud in his hearing aids that he had a hard time hearing himself sing.  So he seems to be straining a little when he sings.  He also messed up on the words a little too. 

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But overall, he did a GREAT job!  I am amazed that that is my sweet little 12 year old boy up there singing.  I can see his confidence building on stage with each performance.  He is so in his element and loves singing more than anything else.  He has learned so much by being a part of this competition.  Such a great learning experience!!!


(This is a shortened version of the song because they have to keep their performance under 3 minutes and 30 seconds.)





While the judges were tallying up the votes, we had the pleasure of listening to the Ky Opry band play!

Clay Campbell is the owner of the Ky Opry and an amazingly talented man!  They put on a great show!

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You would not believe the talented young people that play on that stage every week!  This young lady, Carson McKee (only 12 years old!), is one of the most amazing fiddle players I have ever heard!  I could listen to her play for hours!  That’s her brother on the fiddle too, and another young man on the banjo.  They are so, so good!


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Here is clay singing with one of the beginner division contestants, Laney Evans.  She is such a doll!awana 086



Here are the winners from each division…

awana 068Skylar Cain, Jonathan Hutcherson, Laney Evans

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Caylee Hall, Clint Fisher, Lauren Smethwick




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Austin Cunningham, Drew Baldridge, Marshall Dowdy, Brandi Gibson




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Maddawg, Dennis Wayne Bass, Dee Dee Guthrie



Now we head back to the Ky Opry this coming Saturday for the Finals!  Jonathan will compete against all the other contestants from the other divisions as well.  He will be singing a slow song and a fast song.

We are so thrilled to be a part of this competition and have already gained more blessings than words could express!  We have made so many wonderful new friends and made so many great family memories.


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Many, many thanks to Clay Campbell for hosting such a wonderful event and investing so much time and energy into encouraging and mentoring so many amazing singers!

Eli loves getting to see “Tay Tampbell” each time! Smile

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On Sunday mornings, the Ky Opry hosts “Cowboy Church”, and we had the honored of attending.

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Eli was EXTREMELY proud of his Cowboy Bible!

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We sang many wonderful hymns that took me straight back to my childhood.  I could hear my mom singing them in my ear.  My heart was overflowing with joy and gratefulness to God.  It doesn’t matter how we sing his praises, it just matters that we praise Him!

Carson Wright is another amazing young man who plays the mandolin.  Such a precious, talented kid!

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Jonathan sang with the band that morning. He sang “How Great Thou Art.”  He had already started singing when I thought, “Hey!  I can video this on my iphone!”  So I quickly started filming, but didn’t get the first verse or so.  If you listen closely, you can hear Eli singing beside me.  It’s not the best picture, but I think you will enjoy hearing Jonathan sing. 

My cup runneth over, y’all.





After church, we ate lunch with our new, sweet friends, The McKee family.  When we were finished eating, the kids got out their instruments and started strumming away.  They are truly amazing!!!  Eli enjoyed dancing to the music.


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Jonathan listened and loved hanging out with his new friends.  He is begging me for a guitar.  He has taken piano lessons for 6 years, but wants a guitar so bad he can taste it!  (His birthday is this summer, so I guess you know what we’ll be buying.) Smile


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Stay tuned for next week!  The competition is really tough this round, so it will be a great show!  Thanks for letting me share this fun time in our family’s life with you!




  1. SO COOL! I bet you are such a proud momma! Your boys are all so handsome.

    Congrats Jonathan!

    p.s. I’m a mom of four boys too (but not nearly as creative as you), so I love following your blog.

  2. Traci, I am just over the moon happy for y’all! Jonathan is precious and just tugs at my heartstrings. I wish I could give him, and you, a big ol’ hug! Thanks for sharing this journey with us….I’ve really enjoyed being along for the ride. What a privilege!
    I know we’ve never met, but I love y’all!
    Sharon @ mrs. hines class

    1. Thank you so much, Sharon! Thanks for following along and letting me share this special time with you.
      Love you too!

  3. Hi Traci,

    Congrats to your son, first of all… I am so happy for you and your husband!! It’s very evident that God has blessed him with a beautiful gift!

    Secondly, I was supposed to be there that night, and was hoping to be able to “look you up”. :) Lauren Smethwick is our best friends’ niece. Unfortunately, at the last minute, we were unable to go. I just talked to them last night, and if we don’t have a Mother’s Day celebration this Saturday night, then we will be there! If so, I will try to find you. I would love to say hi and give you a hug. You’re such an inspiration. God also gave you an awesome gift, didn’t He?! :)

    Congrats to Jonathan… and to y’all, too!

    Selena Bragg

    1. Oh, Selena! I hope you get to come this week! I would love to meet you. :)
      Lauren is a beautiful and talented girl!

      And yes…God did give me an awesome (and undeserving) gift! :)


  4. Ah, Traci…..just so, so precious (again!). I feel like I was right there with you….so proud of him and the young man that he is becoming. You can tell how his confidence has improved over the week – he’s developed quite a stage presence. Your heart has to be exploding right now. Thanks for sharing! XO

    1. Thank you, Tammy! And I am so proud!
      Jonathan’s stage presence has definitely improved over the last few months. I love seeing him grow and mature in something he loves so much.


  5. I just listening to these videos of Jonathan singing! He is amazing Traci! You must just be such a proud momma! God is really using him for big things!

  6. Traci – God is Good! It’s so exciting to see such a young person, like your son, with a heart for God! And his voice – what a talent he has been blessed with. I hope it carries him far!

  7. Way to go Jonathan! This is amazing! He has such a beautiful voice Traci :) This is one of my most favorite country songs ever and he does an awesome job singing It! Actually, these are 2 of my favorite songs of all time. How Great Thou Art is another favorite! What a talented boy you have! So exciting! Can’t wait to see how things go next week! Best wishes to Jonathan!

    1. Thank you so much, Becky!
      How Great Thou Art is my all time favorite song too! It gives me chills every time I hear it.
      HE is so great!

      Blessings to you!

  8. SO HAPPY for ya’ll!!! Whooo hoooo….way to go Jonathan!!! Can’t wait for the next one!!

    1. Thank you, Linda! Wish you were there with us! You would love all the wonderful country music. It reminds me of being at the campground with PaPa and Grannie. :)

  9. I just echo all the other posts, as I loved hearing Jonathan sing again! His wonderful voice, heart, and stage presence are such a winning combination!
    Thanks so much, Traci, for sharing this journey with your readers; it has been such a blessing to me! I pray God will just continue to use you and your family to shine His light and love.

  10. Jonathan is a winner! He has a great voice and stage presence…enjoy every minute of raising those boys! I enjoy your blog so much and look forward to reading daily! Blessings!

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Tanya! And I am truly enjoying raising these boys! I am blessed beyond measure. Not with just earthly treasures, but eternal ones!
      Praise Him!

      Have a blessed day!

  11. Congrats Jonathan :o). I hope you are able to talk to the staff about the music problem. I have played the songs over and over I love his voice so much. Jonathan just remember to have fun, smile and God will take care of the rest. I could hear Eli in the back ground, how sweet that he is such a fan of his brother. Thanks for taking the time to share this with all of us. God has touched your lives and it is so beautiful.

  12. Oh, Traci, waht a fine young man (and men) you have and are raising! These are two of my favorite songs and, well, I’m just working my way through the tissues and my heart is just overflowing with joy! The hand of God is very apparent on Jonathan. The Lord has much in store for him. Thank you so much for sharing. Going for other box of tissues now :)

    1. You are so sweet! Thank you for sharing your heart with me and following us along on this journey.
      It’s such a blessing to me.


  13. Jonathan’s voice always touches my heart and brings tears to my eyes. I could hear his joy for the Lord when he was singing How Great Thou Art. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your family with your readers. I truly feel blessed to be a part of your life.

  14. Delighted for you all, thank you for sharing such a special tradition, the Opry. It sounds wonderful and I know my Mom and I would have such fun being there too.

  15. Once again Congratulations to such a wonderful young man that is blessing the lives of many. One that doesn’t even know him here in Tn is blessed and I get the chills every time I hear him sing. God is moving in his life and touching the lives through his music.

    Thank you and God bless to you and your family.

  16. I love hearing Jonathan sing. How Great Thou Art was my grandparents favorite hymn and he touches my heart when he sings it.

    You are blessed and thank you for sharing your family with us!

    Hugs from Louisville and Good Luck Jonathan!!


  17. CONGRATULATIONS, Jonathan!!! I LOVED listening to BOTH of his songs – you must be such a proud momma!!! “How Great Thou Art” is truly one of my most favorite hymns ever…we sang it at my wedding :) He did such a beautiful job!! Can’t wait to hear about finals!!!!! :)

  18. Congratulations Jonathan! I just love hearing him sing. Thanks for sharing this with us Traci. What I wouldn’t give for my 12 yr old to ask for a guitar instead of the latest “greatest” video game.

    Can’t wait to hear how next week goes! Good luck Jonathan!

  19. Oh Traci, my heart is full of joy for you! I know that you and Cy are so proud of Jonathan, Chris and I are proud of him too. What an amazing young man of God you are raising. Love you, sister.

  20. I just watched the video of your very talented & sweet Jonathan, singing the Tim McGraw’s song (which I absolutely love) & have goose-bumps! I’m so excited for Jonathan & for this wonderful experience that your entire family has been having. Congratulations to Jonathan & to all of you.

  21. Wow is all I can say. Chill bumps. This boy has a future definitely! How exciting for your family.
    Best of luck!

  22. Wow is all I can say. Chill bumps. This boy has a future definitely! How exciting for your family.
    Best of luck and many blessings ahead!

  23. I am so proud of Jonathan for making it to the finals!! But, I must say that I’m not suprised in the least!! :) So glad I’ll get to follow along with you guys by your blog! Miss getting you see you all! Tell Jonathan I said “Way to go!! Awesome!”

  24. Wow!! I got goosebumps listening to Jonathan singing How Great Thou Art! That last note almost brought me to tears! What an amazing young man that you and your husband are raising!

  25. Just wonderful!!!!! Traci, you get him that guitar!!! Do you know how many hundreds of thousands of dollars of music scholarships for college go unused??? AND you don’t have to major in music either! One of my daughters who is in eighth grade sits in first chair flute, plays piccolo and guitar too! She has now asked me for piano lessons!!! MY Gosh, I cannot believe that we are going to have to get a piano too! She has three guitars right now. One thing I do suggest is a classically trained guitar teacher for Jon. That way, he can play in the jazz band in high school or junior high, if they have it. Just rock and roll trained or country doesn’t give you enough. If you are classically trained, you can do anything on your guitar! Good luck to Jonathan, although he probably doesn’t need it! He is amazing!

  26. You just can’t help loving this boy. Best of luck next week. No matter what happens he is star already, in so many ways.
    God Bless.

  27. Chills, tears of joy and my hand held up. PRAISE GOD!!! Yes indeed, HOW GREAT THOU ART!!!!

    Traci – I am always immensly blessed when I hear Jonathan sing and that precious Eli – I could just barely hear him, by my oh my! Can you imagine duets down the road??!!!

    I can’t wait to hear about the finals! GO JONATHAN!!


    Marilyn C.

  28. Hi Traci!!
    Congratulations to Jonathon!!!! He is an amazing young singer :) I had goose bumps hearing him sing “How Great Thou Art”… love that hymn! Allll the best to him this weekend! What a Mother’s Day gift that would be for you to have him win! Either way, love hearing him singing for Jesus!!!!

  29. My husband and I are pulling for Jonathon! Are prayers are with him he has such music in his voice. Can’t wait to hear how he made out this weekend.

  30. Traci, I do not know you personally but have been following your blog. That son of yours did amazing at the competition. I am sure you are very proud. You have definitely been blessed with a fine young man there. All of his performances were great ,but HOW GREAT THOU ARE was very touching. You can just see the joy of the Lord in his heart. Keep up the good work.

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