A public memorial service for Naomi Judd has been set for this Sunday evening at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, with CMT airing it live and commercial-free at 6 p.m. ET/3 PT.
The lineup of participating artists who will perform or otherwise pay tribute will be announced in the days leading up to the event, with organizers for now promising “some of the biggest names in entertainment” will have a part in saying goodbye to the singer, who died April 30.
Naomi’s daughters, Wynonna and Ashley Judd, are participating in the program, which is being co-produced by CMT and Sandbox Live. The show’s executive producers are Margaret Comeaux and Leslie Fram of CMT, Jason Owen of Sandbox Live and Patrizia DiMaria of Ladypants Productions.
Said the CMT producers in a joint statement, “We are sincerely privileged to work alongside Wynonna and Ashley to present this live celebration of life for their mother Naomi. While we all continue to deeply mourn the loss of such a legendary artist, we are honored to commemorate her legacy alongside the country community, her friends, family and legions of fans across the world at the perfect venue: The Mother Church of Country Music. This special will celebrate her timeless voice, unforgettable spirit and the immense impact she left on our genre through the best form of healing we have — music.”
Naomi’s final performance was shown on the CMT Music Awards program April 11, in a pre-taped rendition of “Love Can Build a Bridge” with Wynonna shot earlier in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The Judds walked the red carpet together before the live telecast, promoting a short reunion/farewell tour that had already gone on sale.
Authorities and Judd’s family have still not given an official cause of death for the singer, although the statement given out by Ashley and Wynonna hours after their mother’s death attributed it to “the disease of mental illness,” and the senior Judd had written candidly in her memoirs of dealing with what she called crippling depression.
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