GRAYSON—Yesterday was Carol Malone Day in Grayson, and you could tell it, even though her old friends called her Carol Ann so often her husband took up the habit.
There were signs in every downtown shop, a bank marquee calling attention to the celebration, and a morning ceremony on the shaded porch of Grayson RECC headquarters, all in honor of the community’s contribution to the world of fine arts.
Miss Malone, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Malone of Grayson, has been a pride of her town since she began singing in high school. Her career will reach a milestone Dec. 20 when she appears in the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
On hand were her parents; a pair of former home town music teachers, Miss Thursa Horton and Mrs. Beatrice Haight; her sister, Betty Lou Amos; niece and nephew Diana and David Amos; and all the folks from Grayson who felt they had a hand in watching over a little girl who has now grown up.
Mayor Robert Newland officially welcomed the opera star home and made official the renaming of a main thoroughfare in her honor. City Council gave earlier approval to changing the name of Railroad Street, the roadbed of former EK Railway, to Carol Malone Boulevard.
The setting for Friday’s ceremony—the porch of the former Bagby Mansion—was fitting. Miss Malone, in a long dress and an answering smile, gave every bit of the appearance of a southern belle on a plantation portico, carrying the red roses handed her by Mrs. Haight on behalf of Carol’s beau—the town.
Acting as master of ceremonies was Giles Robinson, a Graysonian who appeared with Miss Malone in one of her earliest roles. Both sang in the Stephen Foster Story at Bardstown when that traditional show was just becoming popular.
Robinson told a crowd of 75 people, including three separate television filming crews, of Miss Malone’s operatic career. He cited her selection to appear before the royal family of Japan; her appearance with “new Caruso” Luciano Pavarotti; and from his own repertoire of musical insight, some looks from backstage at Miss Malone’s climbing career.
Robinson told the gathered group Miss Malone will appear as Gretel in the Humperdinck opera “Hansel and Gretel” in her debut Dec. 20 and will be heard nationwide in that role at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 23, on the Texaco Metropolitan Broadcast.
He read the official proclamation, presented Mrs. Malone a scrapbook of her daughter’s career, and gave a copy of the proclamation and a street marker to Carol.
Miss Malone said she would probably be able to best respond in song, but because there was no music, would conclude with a few sentences. “Grayson is always my home, wherever I am in the world. And to have a street named in my honor pleases more than words could ever, ever express.”
Following the ceremony, she attended a reception inside the RECC hall.
Miss Malone’s career in music dates to days in grade school, when she took piano from Miss Horton and band from Mrs. Haight. She appeared, with her trombone, on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour. But it was after voice study at Morehead State College and Indiana University that her career carried her abroad, where she has become a permanent member in the Berlin Opera.
She and her husband, Dr. John Parker, chief surgeon for the U.S. Army Hospital in Berlin, will stay in the United States until Aug. 21. They will return here Oct. 9, and she will appear in the San Francisco Opera as Sophie in Straus’s “Der Rosenkavalier.”
Miss Malone will go to the Met in early December for rehearsals for the premier. She has performed the role of Gretel many times in Berlin since 1973.