Dolly’s My People Fund Finishes “Smokies Strong”

Published May 5, 2017 / Last Updated May 5, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Parton’s My People Fund presents final checks to families and makes a long-term investment in future recovery efforts!

Smokies Strong, a title the people of Sevier County, TN, have more than earned in the aftermath of the devastating wildfires. They displayed their strength and courage on the very night the fires started and have continued to do so in the following months.

The Dollywood Foundation established the My People Fund just 48 hours after wildfires swept through the county on November 28, 2016. Each month, starting in December 2016, the My People Fund gave $1,000 to every family whose home was lost or destroyed in the fires. May marks the end of the Fund’s six-month pledge to assist the recovery efforts. Due to the tremendous outpouring of donations and support, the My People Fund was able to increase the amount of the final distribution checks from $1,000 to $5,000 (per family). In total, $8.9 million went directly to wildfire victims.

Dolly was on hand at the CARE MORE Assistance Center on May 4 in Pigeon Forge, TN, to present the last checks to three families and to say thank you to the dozens of volunteers who have staffed the effort. Dolly said,

“We started the distribution in December right around the longest night of the year and I know it felt dark and lonely for so many. But here we are in spring, a time for renewal and a time for hope. I know the money helps but most of all I want people to know we will always provide you a shoulder to lean on.”

In addition, Dolly’s My People Fund launched a partnership with the Mountain Tough Recovery Team to continue supporting these families in the coming months by providing $3 million for this effort. Dolly made this announcement during a special media event at Smoky Mountain Adventures in Pigeon Forge, TN, on May 5.

Wildfire Scholarship Fund

Additional contributions, outside of the My People Fund, helped establish and support the Wildfire Scholarship Fund. Thanks to these efforts, every high school junior and senior in Sevier County, whose homes were destroyed by the fires, will receive a $4,500 scholarship.

Today, recovery continues and rebuilding efforts are underway for the people who are and forever will be, Smokies Strong.

About My People Fund

The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund provided $1,000 each month for six months to Sevier County families whose homes were uninhabitable or were completely destroyed in the Smoky Mountain wildfires. Any family who lost their primary residence (renters and homeowners) due to the wildfires in Sevier County were eligible.

About The Mountain Tough Recovery Team

The mission of the Mountain Tough Recovery Team is to assist individuals and families recovering from the 2016 wildfires in Gatlinburg and the surrounding Sevier County area to rebuild and provide resources for other unmet needs for both homeowners and renters impacted by the fires.

Devastating wildfires claimed the lives of 14 people and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings in Sevier County, TN, on November 28, 2016.

Team DollyDolly’s My People Fund Finishes “Smokies Strong”

32nd Annual Dolly Homecoming Parade

Published May 2, 2017 / Last Updated May 3, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Parton will return home on May 5, 2017, for the 32nd Annual Dolly Homecoming Parade plus Dollywood and Smoky Mountain Adventures plan grand opening festivities!

Once again, the Smoky Mountain songbird will act as the Grand Marshal of the Annual Homecoming Parade given in her honor. Over 50,000 people are expected to line the route.

The line-up includes beautiful floats, lively marching bands, entertainers, veterans and more. Dolly will sit atop a specially designed float and wave to everyone in attendance.

This year, in honor of the grand opening of Smoky Mountain Adventures and in celebration of the 30th Anniversary at Dixie Stampede, eager parade watchers will have the chance to win tickets to both shows!

See Dolly’s Dinner Shows Giveaway

Grand Opening Events & Special Live Stream

Before the parade starts, Dollywood and Smoky Mountain Adventures Dinner & Show have special Grand Opening events planned. Dolly will welcome everyone to a special show at Smoky Mountain Adventures. As a bonus, portions of that event will be live streamed on Facebook.

Parade Information & History

Visitors should arrive early to get a good spot. The parade will start at 6 PM. It begins at traffic light #6 and it will head toward Sevierville to traffic light #3 along the main parkway in Pigeon Forge, TN.

In past years, Dolly’s parade floats have featured some of Dollywood’s newest attractions including Mystery Mine, Wild Eagle, and FireChaser Express. This year will mark the parade debut of Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures. Also, Dixie Stampede will celebrate their 30th anniversary in Pigeon Forge, TN.

Team Dolly32nd Annual Dolly Homecoming Parade

Honoring Sandy Gallin

Published April 22, 2017 / Last Updated April 22, 2017

The Lovelaces

Tim and Mary Alice Lovelace are a husband/wife writing duo who enjoy co-writing songs, news articles, and short stories.

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Dolly Parton pays tribute to manager and longtime friend, Sandy Gallin.

After graduating from Boston University in 1962, Sandy Gallin made his way from mailroom to senior vice president and board member of General Artists Corporation (GAC). He left GAC in 1970 to partner with his cousin, Raymond Katz, forming the personal management company Katz Gallin, later becoming Katz, Gallin & Cleary.

Dolly Parton met Gallin in 1976, after making a guest appearance on the Mac Davis show. She was interested in taking her music to a broader audience, and Davis recommended Katz, Gallin & Cleary, who, at that time, were managing Cher and Joan Rivers. In her 1994 book, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, she says of their team,

“I kept going back to them because they kept showing me more of what I was looking for.”

She was impressed and, of Gallin, she said,

“He’s got taste and I got talent.”

Their 25 year bushiness relationship went on to include the 1985 formation of Parton and Gallin’s film and television production company, Sandollar Productions. The company amassed numerous awards, including an Academy Award for the documentary “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt” and five Ace Awards for a variety of other productions.

Gallin is credited for convincing Parton to record her 1977 smash hit “Here You Come Again.” Having achieved her previous musical success in the country music genre, Dolly was concerned the song may be too pop. However, Gallin’s instincts proved right, and the song went to number one on the U.S Billboard Hot Country Singles and maintained that position for five weeks. It also went to number three on the pop charts, becoming Dolly’s first major crossover success, selling over a million copies. The song also garnered Parton her first ever Grammy award for best female country vocal.

Career & Achievements

In addition to Dolly Parton, some of the many talented acts Gallin was associated with over the course of his entertainment business career include Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey, Nicole Kidman, Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Donny and Marie Osmond, The Pointer Sisters and many, many more.

In recent years, Gallin took on the role of high-end home designer. His website states,

“After being at the top of the field in one industry, he changed careers, only to rise quickly to the top of his newly chosen design field after turning 70.”

He had designed numerous homes that were featured in The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest and The New York Times.

It’s been over forty years since Parton and Gallin met and became instant friends. They shared not only a successful business relationship, but also maintained their close friendship throughout the years.

Dolly shares her heartfelt sentiments,

“Sandy, you may be in heaven now, but you will never be gone from me. In the words of my own song, I will always love you.”

Sandy Gallin (May 27, 1940 – April 21, 2017) was 76 years young.

The LovelacesHonoring Sandy Gallin

Dolly’s America at University of Tennessee

Published April 20, 2017 / Last Updated April 20, 2017

The Lovelaces

Tim and Mary Alice Lovelace are a husband/wife writing duo who enjoy co-writing songs, news articles, and short stories.

Latest posts by The Lovelaces (see all)

University of Tennessee Announces Honors History Class: Dolly’s America

After hearing the legendary Dolly Parton speak at a University of Tennessee graduation ceremony, where Parton was given an honorary doctorate degree, Dr. Lynn Sacco proposed an idea to the university’s history department; a new course…Dolly’s America!

When asked about the University’s response to Sacco’s proposal, Dr. Ernie Freeburg, Head of UT’s Department of History, shared,

“This History Department was both surprised and delighted to learn that Dr. Sacco was proposing to have students dive deep into the life and times of Dolly Parton. One message we send our students is that history is everywhere, not just in wars and the White House, and that one of the best ways to know something is to study it historically.”

He adds,

“In the hands of a good historian like Dr. Sacco, a course on Dolly Parton raises so many fundamental questions worth asking in any humanities course—about how place shapes values, our ideas about success, the relationship between art and celebrity.”

Dr. Lynn Sacco

Dr. Lynn Sacco – University of Tennessee

Dolly’s America is a course offered to students who are currently in, or who want to participate in, UT’s history honors program. Dr. Sacco’s approach to this course gives students the opportunity to explore Dolly’s Appalachian culture. She utilizes, a full archive of Dolly’s life and career, as a primary source of information for the coursework.

“Students read first about the world into which Dolly was born and then about how Dolly relied on her East Tennessee identity to shape not just her image, but all of her work. By so doing, she brought East Tennessee culture to the world – and the world to East Tennessee.”

The course also highlights Parton’s business acumen. When asked some of the things her students are surprised to learn about Parton, Dr. Sacco replied,

“Everyone knew Dolly was successful, but they did not know how successful she has been for so long and over so many ventures: songwriting; producing television, theater, and probably more; amusement parks; author; philanthropist; performer.”

She also shared the biggest unexpected outcome of the course,

“I knew that most Tennesseans like Dolly. I didn’t realize how much UTK students LOVE Dolly!”

Dolly’s extraordinary life has now found its way into the world of academics, a new platform where she continues to inspire and be a testament of how sheer determination, hard work and being true to your roots can alter your life and the lives of others.

The LovelacesDolly’s America at University of Tennessee

WATCH: “He’s Alive, “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” “Hello God”

Published April 14, 2017 / Last Updated April 14, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Celebrating the hope and promise found in the light of a clear blue morning.

From her early days on “The Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour” to her record-breaking hits and beyond, Dolly Parton has been an ambassador of optimism. A trait she likely inherited from her grandfather, Reverend Jake Owens*. Like his renowned sermons, many of Dolly’s songs carry a similar message of faith and inspiration.

“Everything’s going to be all right that’s been all wrong.” Dolly penned these words in her song “Light of a Clear Blue Morning.” It came to her while driving home from one of her last business meetings with Porter Wagoner. As many know, Dolly wrote what would become her signature anthem, “I Will Always Love You,” as a farewell to her singing partner and dear friend when their business relationship ended. In contrast, “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” was a revelation of clarity and a promise of a brighter tomorrow. A message that she has shared across the globe in all aspects of her career. About the song, Dolly said,

“It was my song of deliverance. It was my song of freedom, and I knew that God was in it. I knew that I was free. And when the Lord has set you free ‘Ye are free indeed.'”

“He’s Alive”

During Easter celebrations, Dolly’s live performance of “He’s Alive” from the 1989 CMA awards is widely shared on social media. She recorded it on her 1989 certified Gold album, “White Limozeen.” The song won Don Francisco two 1980 Dove awards for Song of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.

“Hello God”

During her 2016 Pure & Simple tour, Dolly closed her show with a simple message of love and acceptance. In addition to the four staples of her Imagination Library (Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More) she encouraged people to pray more with “Hello God.”

In 2002, Dolly, backed by The Christ Church Choir of Nashville, performed “Hello God” at the 36th annual CMA awards in Nashville, TN.

About The Songs

The inspirational message of “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” is as relevant today as it was in 1977. Its message of hope for a brighter tomorrow will continue to uplift audiences at Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures. Dolly re-recorded the song for her new dinner theatre attraction opening in Pigeon Forge, TN, in May.

“Light of a Clear Blue Morning” by Dolly Parton first appeared on her 1977 release “New Harvest…First Gathering.” Also, it is one of 10 original songs on the 1992 Hollywood Pictures movie soundtrack “Straight Talk.” Additionally, it’s on Dolly’s 38th solo album, “For God and Country” released on Veterans Day in 2003.

Dolly released “He’s Alive” by Don Francisco on her 29th solo album “White Limozeen” in May 1989.

“Hello God” by Dolly Parton was released as a single on her 37th studio album, “Halos & Horns” in 2002.

*Dolly’s grandfather, Reverend Jake Owens, inspired “Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man.” She co-wrote the song with her Aunt Dorothy Jo and it appeared on Dolly and Porter’s fifth duet album, “Once More.” It is also part of the 2014 Dolly and Porter box set “Just Between You And Me.” Listen to a vintage recording of Rev. Jake preaching and a church singing “This Little Light of Mine” featuring Dolly’s vocals.

Team DollyWATCH: “He’s Alive, “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” “Hello God”