What a tremendous start to my spring travel season! Nashville is such a beautiful city with a great music scene, but has a small town feel. The choir and orchestra arrived on a beautiful Thursday morning and after breakfast we hit the pavement for an historical walking tour. The guide was so knowledgable and we learned about the connection between the planning of Nashville and Athens. The grand scale of the architecture, paying homage to that great city, all of a sudden seemed so approachable. And to hear about the Civil Rights movement events that took place in Nashville as we were sitting in front of the court house, was so impactful for all of us. From there we headed to Vanderbilt University for two outstanding clinics. The clinicians were so detail orientated and by the end each group had made great gains in preparation for a recording session later in the day. We took a few hours off to get some lunch and have the students decompress after their clinics and then it was off to the famous RCA Studio B for tours and recording sessions. As you drive down Music Row, you can almost hear the sounds of all the great artists that built the music scene in Nashville. So much history in these simple and intimate recording studios. Despite having ridden on a bus for 13 hours and been on the go all day, the groups focused and delivered really great performances during their sessions and everyone goes home with their own CD. Could there be a better souvenir?! After all that work it was off to Dave and Busters for some food and fun!
Day 2 started off a little breezy and chilly – but that southern sun shone bright and it warmed up into a beautiful day. We headed to the Country Music Hall of Fame where we toured the museum and then set up on the plaza for the performances. They attracted a big crowd who were treated to some great orchestral selections as well as offerings from the full choir, the chamber choir and the men’s and women’s a-ccapella groups. From there it was off to the Wildhorse Saloon for a barbecue meal (I mean we are in TN, after all) and some awesome line dancing. You get a high school choir, a big dance floor and a line dance instructor and you are in for a lot of fun!! From there we walked over to the Rymann Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. The history of the building is very impressive, but it is the acoustics that are the real star. The curved walls, high ceiling and wooden pews create just a spectacular sound. A walk through “the district” took us to the riverfront and then to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner before heading over to the friday night show at the Grand Ole Opry. What a production that is – no one in our group had ever been there before, and it was enjoyed be each and every one of us. We were lucky to see some true veterans of country music as well as be there for Michael Ray’s debut. Another great day, time to hit the hay!
Day 3 was also the same day as the Country Music Marathon and so our events were scheduled on the outskirts of Nashville to avoid any traffic closures. I don’t think any of us were too disappointed not to be running 26.2 miles as it was quite warm, and Nashville is surprisingly hilly! We started at the Belle Meade plantation. A beautiful property that was, in it’s time, the number one Thorough Bread Horse breeding location in the country. The original log house, a few out buildings, the carriage house and mansion are all available to be toured and the docents are extremely knowledgable. From there we headed out to Opry Mills for lunch and some down time before a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry. Which was especially fun having just seen the show the night before. Everyone got to stand in the famous circle in center stage and those dressing rooms are none to shabby! We then boarded the General Jackson Riverboat for a dinner cruise. It was a beautiful night to be heading down the cumberland river and the entertainment was very high energy. A perfect way to end the trip!
Super City, Super Students, Super Fun for their Choir and Orchestra Tour!!