Nashville, Music City USA and OVI Focus Meeting, Part 2

by RJSweeney on November 25, 2009

Part 2 of 4 on Nashville OVI by Rhonda Sweeney

OVI Board Meeting NashvilleOn Friday morning, we held our OVI Board meeting, chaired by new President Julie Benson. After lunch, several of us went on a driving tour around downtown Nashville to see the sights. We toured the Bicentennial Park, built in 1996, with a wall depicting Nashville’s history from prehistoric times to now, and then on the other side of the very long park, a geographical history. Beautiful fountains, bridges, and parks.

We went to the old Union Station, now a hotel, with beautiful stained glass ceilings and stained glass windows in the various rooms. Great reuse for a classic old building.

Next door was the old main post office, and they have reused the first floor and grand lobby for the Frist (after the former Senator) Art Museum. Great art deco design, inside and out, and again great reuse.

Went to the Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) to see their stained glass windows, including one Tiffany, saw the beautiful old Customs House, the new Sommet Center where the Predators ice hockey team plays, the CMA awards are given, and other concerts. It is right across from the Country Music Hall of Fame, and also next to their new Schemerhorn Symphony Hall, opened in 2006, and built to look like the grand opera houses in Europe!

They have redeveloped their riverfront, with boats that go to Opryland and back, and you can walk across the bridge to the new Tennessee Titans stadium, where the Titans were playing the Buffalo Bills at noon on Sunday. They are hoping to build a new baseball stadium beside it for their AAA team. They’ve maintained the old brick warehouse buildings, most of which are now restaurants, honky tonks with live music, or stores with various types of merchandise. Lots of night life!

Friday night was the Grand Ole Opry at the historic, and original venue right downtown, Ryman Auditorium, for two hours of country music of all types. It is broadcast on 650 WSM which goes to 38 states and parts of Canada, and also carried on XM Satellite Radio, so check it out!

There were four 30-minute segments with a “host” for each segment, and live commercials! Each singer or group usually sang one song, but some got two. We had Ricky Skaggs, the Whites, Josh Turner, Steve Warriner, and others. Two of the hosts were Country Music Hall of Famers – Bill Anderson and Little Jimmy Dickens! We sat on uncushioned church pews, as it used to be a tabernacle for revival meetings, and the building itself looks like a church!

They perform here in November and early December while the new Opry at Gaylord’s Opryland near the airport (huge convention center and shopping mall) are used for the Radio City Christmas show and other family shows. You can eat and drink in the Opry, and take all the photos you want! Loved the Grand Ole Opry!

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