Ceremony to remember Naomi Judd held Sunday at Ryman Auditorium

A celebration of life for Naomi Judd was held Sunday at the Ryman Auditorium.
Published: May. 15, 2022 at 12:50 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A celebration of life for Naomi Judd was held Sunday at the Ryman Auditorium.

CMT and Sandbox Live, in partnership with the Judd family, presented “Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration” at 5 p.m. The ceremony was broadcasted commercial-free on CMT and repeated at 9 p.m.

There was a procession down Broadway beginning at 6:30 p.m. Fans lined Broadway to say their goodbyes to Judd. The ceremony allowed fans a chance to hear The Judds music and remember what she meant to so many one last time.

“Our circumstances do not have the power to name our identity, because as my mother taught me we’re spiritual beings having a human experience,” said Ashley Judd.

Larry Strickland, Naomi’s husband, along with her daughters, Ashley and Wynonna Judd, embraced each other on stage while sharing fond memories of their mom.

“And mom would want you to know that it really was about family and for all of the fables and troubles you know. When we went over to family supper, she had a place for each of us said where everyone had to sit,” Ashley said.

Wynonna performed on stage and shared an emotional message.

“She was unlike anyone in our family and I miss her so much. But I will continue to sing, and I said I would I can’t imagine...this little light of mine I’m going to let it shine,” Wynonna said.

The celebration was hosted by Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America and a close family friend. Roberts was a former sports reporter/anchor at WSMV at a time when the Judds were appearing on Ralph Emery’s morning show on WSM-TV.

Fans poured into Ryman Auditorium to remember one of country music’s greatest. Marry Morgan and Bryanna Burks are lifelong fans of The Judds and didn’t want to miss the event. They both saw them in concert at the CMT Awards.

“My mom used to play her on the radio all the time,” said Burks.

“My heart is very heavy but I’m glad that there’s a big community of people that can come together and celebrate her legacy,” added Morgan.

Naomi Judd died on April 30 on the eve of The Judds’ induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Daughter Ashley Judd said last week that her mom took her own life.

The public celebration featured never-before-see performances and collaborations, with special guests, appearances and messages from some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Performers included Ashley McBryde, Brad Paisley, Brandi Carlile, Carly Pearce, Emmylou Harris & Allison Russell, Gaither Vocal Band, Jamey Johnson and Little Big Town.

Speakers at the celebration included Ashley Judd, Wynonna Judd, Larry Strickland and Martina McBride. Special messages will be given by Bette Midler, Bono, Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, Reba McEntire, Reese Witherspoon, and Salma Hayek.

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