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Nashville   by Kelley Thompson

Nashville began in 1779 as a Wild West town and, within one hundred years, became the Athens of the South, with its very own Parthenon and statue of the Greek Goddess Athena. Nashville has reinvented itself, though, to become Music City.

That does not mean that Nashville is only for Country music fans, though. Many forms of music now dominate the tourism industry and play a big part in Nashvilles image overseas as the Country Music Capital of the World. And for good reason-the city has spawned or been part of the development of many types of music, including Country, Blues and R&B. Lets take a look at whats developing in this Middle Tennessee town.

Whats Playing In Music City

The new Nashville Symphony Hall is making its home at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which will open in September. The $120 million center is a building within a building. The entire performance space is surrounded by a two-inch isolation joint that prevents sound from getting in from the outside. Also, the buildings windows are specially designed to let in light but not sound. The $120 million price tag includes a $2.5 million pipe organ.

Opening this spring, the Musicians Hall of Fame will be the first museum and Hall of Fame honoring the musician. The 30,000-square-foot facility will recognize musicians of all genres and feature artifacts from legendary sessions. The space will also contain a gift shop, a mini-theatre for film screenings, a 5,000-square-foot performance hall, a functioning recording studio that will be part of the museum tour and a school of music that offers lessons to students of all ages and abilities.

Located on Music Valley Drive just across from the Gaylord Opryland Resort, the legendary Nashville Palace reopened in early 2006. It offers Opry Lunches that showcase the legendary stars who helped make Nashville the Music City that it is today. The venue also offers nightly showcases with the rising stars of Nashville and features both a lunch and dinner menu. The venue is open seven days a week, with live music everyday. From time to time, you can also find some of radios hottest singers gracing the stage.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museums new Ray Charles exhibit, which has been named one of the top twenty events by the Southeast Tourism Society, has been going strong since March and will remain open through December 31, 2007.

The exhibit will provide an overview of Charles career, focusing on his country music influences and his contributions to the growth and ennoblement of the genre. From the earliest known photograph of Charles through his final televised performance, the media-rich exhibit honors Charles as one of the most revered and recognized musicians in the world.

Gaylord Opryland Hotels has brand new experiences for overnight groups starting July 2006. A tour held in Jack Daniels Saloon will show the history and process of making bourbon, and includes a lesson on how to make a bourbon cake and a gift package at the end of the tour which includes a Petterpatch Tipsy Cake, a recipe for bourbon cake and a CD featuring Bluegrass music.

They also have another tour packaged for groups who overnight at the resort: Opry Legends. In addition to a Grand Ole Opry CD and commemorative Christmas ornament, one of the many Grand Ole Opry legends or members will greet the coach upon arrival to the hotel. They also offer a personalized tour by Minnie Pearl at the Opry Museum and a backstage tour of the Opryhouse when performances are not going on. The tour also includes lunch.


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