Reba McEntire will celebrate the 40th anniversary of her Grand Ole Opry debut this fall with two special shows at the Grand Ole Opry House. The two concerts will take place on Sept. 22, just a few days after the official anniversary of the day of her Opry debut.

McEntire made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry on Sept. 17, 1977. During that performance, McEntire -- who was then 22 years old -- sang a cover of Roger Miller’s “Invitation to the Blues,” from her eponymous debut album. McEntire was originally scheduled to perform two songs -- she was was also planning on performing Patsy Cline‘s “Sweet Dreams" -- but her time on stage was cut at the last minute, due to a surprise appearance by Opry member Dolly Parton.

"They came to me when I got there and said, 'Oh, we're going to have to cut you down to one song because Dolly Parton just pulled up into the driveway, and she's going to take one of your songs,'" McEntire remembers in a video clip shared by her label, Big Machine Label Group. "I said, 'Okay, she can take both of them -- can I meet her?'"

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Funny enough, McEntire almost didn’t get to even perform one song that night. When a guard mistakenly couldn’t find her name on the guest list, he refused to allow her admittance to the Opry. The young singer had to find a pay phone and contact her booking agent, who got her into the venue just in time.

McEntire first visited the Grand Ole Opry when she was just seven years old. On the night of her Opry debut, her family drove more than 700 miles from Oklahoma to see her perform.

“The Grand Ole Opry is a home,” she says. “It’s a family. It’s like a family reunion, when you come back and get to see everybody.”

In 1986, McEntire officially became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, during a televised special honoring the Opry’s 60th anniversary.

More details about McEntire's Opry anniversary concerts are available on the Grand Ole Opry's official website.

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