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Fans pack Jesse Auditorium to see Wynonna Judd

Thursday, December 10, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 12:09 a.m. CST, Thursday, December 10, 2009

COLUMBIA — Wynonna Judd filled Jesse Auditorium on Wednesday as Columbians and out-of-towners alike came to hear the country singing star perform.

Judd performed in her "A Classic Christmas" tour, based off her 2006 album of the same name, as part of the University Concert Series.

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"I've been listening to her since I was four or five," said Jefferson City resident Jessica Fox, who came to the show with her mom. "My mom is a die-hard fan, and she's been pretty influential in my Wynonna taste. Honestly, I think Wynonna's kind of hard not to like."

Others who came to the show were not such devout fans, but respected her talent.

"I remember listening to her when she started out," Columbia resident Robert Hamilton said. "Her voice brings her fans, there's no doubt about it."

Many of those fans took time to purchase Judd's albums and T-shirts as well as fill out donation slips to her charity sponsor, World Vision.

After singing "Winter Wonderland," Judd asked the crowd how many had seen her perform live already.

"Wow, this is kind of humbling," Judd joked. "I thought you all knew me."

Nellie Dodd, a longtime fan, did not raise her hand, but she is certainly familiar with the soulful singer and her music.

Dodd, of Columbia, saw Judd perform live for the first time Wednesday night.

"I think the world of her," Dodd said. "She'll be just as famous as Loretta Lynn one day because, boy, can she sing. You can't teach what she does."

Dodd said she has an especially strong connection to Judd's music.

"I used to listen to Naomi and then the Judds together," Dodd said. "I lost my mom when I was pretty young, so I always thought it'd be so cool to sing on stage with your mom like that."

After a heart transplant in 2006, Dodd is thankful for her second chance at life and believes Judd's lyrics express a similar gratitude.

"You can tell she sings from her heart," Dodd said. "I think she sends each of us a message with her songs. You just have to listen."


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