Country singer Mandy Barnett was surprised on her birthday, Sept. 28, with an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry. The Always ... Patsy Cline star received her invitation from Opry member Connie Smith, who came onstage under the guise of leading the audience in singing “Happy Birthday” to Barnett.

Upon completing the song, Smith read from a birthday card she brought out onstage with her: “Wishing the happiest of birthdays from all of us at the Opry to one of our favorite voices to have every taken this stage. You made your Opry debut — people, I don’t know if you know this — nearly three decades ago and have played the show magnificently more than 500 times. You’ve felt like family since we first met.”

Smith began to get emotional as the birthday wish transitioned into Barnett's Opry invitation. “On this, your special day, we’re honored to invite you to become an official member of the Grand Ole Opry,” she finished with a laugh-slash-yell and a wide grin, then embraced Barnett as the future Opry inductee began to cry.

"This is the happiest day of my life," Barnett said, going on to share with the audience about her career and her first time hitting the Grand Ole Opry stage, back in 1994.

"Billy Walker had me on the show," Barnett recalled. "There were so many great supporters, like yourself, Connie, that just rooted for me and [have] been nice to me, and I just appreciate it.”

Barnett will officially join the Grand Ole Opry later this fall; she's also scheduled to appear during the organization's upcoming Opry Country Christmas shows. The former Dollywood performer released her most recent album, Every Star Above, in May.

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