The timing of the trip was largely centered on two constraints: when I needed to be in Austin to for my first day of work and when we needed to be in Nashville to see the Grand Ole Opry live.
We arrived in Nashville around mid afternoon and checked into our hotel. We walked around Nashville a bit and there was still evidence of the extensive flooding that had wrecked the area only a few months before. In fact, the Grand Ole Opry House was still closed due to flood damage.
After stops for lunch and icecream, we made our way over to the Ryman Auditorium, the temporary home of the Opry.
I think my first exposure to the idea of the Grand Ole Opry was a play that our local community-theater group, the Alumni Players, put on when I was a kid. I got to be in the between-act chorus of mostly kids that they strung together. Our job was to sing tunes and entertain the audience while scene changes were happening behind us. I learned a lot of old songs this way.
I mostly remember that the whole experience had a very old-timey feel, complete with sarsaparilla and popcorn at the concession stand. My costume was a very cool pink skirt and jacket set with a frilly white shirt underneath. I also had the coolest hat of anyone there, which somehow ended up in the audience one night thanks to our antics. The show was really fun to be in, and although I didn’t actually know what the Grand Ole Opry was and couldn’t tell you what the actual play was about, I knew I had to see the real deal when I found myself passing through Nashville.
The Ryman is actually the original home of the Opry until the Grand Ole Opry House was built in 1974. Shows during the winter season are still in the Ryman and the theater inside is beautiful and well-preserved. Floor seating consists of arcs of church pews and there’s a large balcony with individual chairs.
We were there for the Tuesday night broadcast, so it was all aired live on the radio. There’s something you don’t hear very often anymore.
The show was really well done, with lots of performers.
I didn’t know most of them (I’m just so young like that), but I knew some of the younger performers who have gone mainstream more recently. On the right below is Lee Brice, who you might know if you’ve heard this song on the radio like I had.
Nashville is a beautiful city. Beautiful and humid. The Opry is certainly a Nashville institution, so I’m glad we got to experience it. I’d like to go back and see more of the city, but maybe during winter next time.