Charley Pride leads Arkansas lawmakers in song

February 12, 2009 10:38:25 AM PST
Country music singer Charley Pride dropped by the Arkansas Senate to lead lawmakers in a sing-along, and to praise the Little Rock hospital that removed a tumor from his vocal cords 10 years ago.

In town for a routine check of his vocal cords, Pride dropped by the Senate Wednesday and sang five of his hits including "Crystal Chandeliers" and "Is Anybody Going to San Antone" from the Senate floor.

"I enjoyed it. They were a great audience," the Country Music Hall of Famer said after the impromptu concert.

Pride said he was grateful to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where he had surgery in 1997 to remove a tumor from his right vocal cord. The Mississippi native said he visits Little Rock regularly for checkups following the surgery.

Gov. Mike Beebe, who joined lawmakers in the sing-along, gave the country music star an "Arkansas Traveler" certificate, which is given to out-of-state dignitaries and celebrities who visit the state.

"On behalf of the people of Arkansas, you're an ambassador on behalf of our state and we hope that you'll come back often," Beebe said.

State Sen. Steve Faris, who worked as a DJ for a country music station for 13 years, said he had invited Pride to visit the Senate because he knew the singer would be in town for the checkup. Faris said he credits UAMS for saving Pride's voice and wanted the singer to share his story with lawmakers.

"His career would have been over had it not been for them," said Faris, D-Malvern.

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