Thursday, October 15, 2009
Local Life - The Ryman Auditorium
This is the building the Opry show was held in from 1943 -1974.
The Ryman was the brainchild of Captain Thomas G. Ryman. It was originally known as the Union Gospel Tabernacle (1892) and was used for religious revivals, operas and lectures. It was renamed the Ryman after the captain's death in 1904. Then in 1963 it became known as the Grand Ole Opry House. The building has been on the National Historic Register since 1971 and was named a National Historic Landmark in 2001. The building did suffer from some neglect for a while but in 2004 it was completely restored.
It's an interesting building to visit. The concert hall area is lovely with it's old dark wood bench seating and subdued lighting. You can feel the ambiance and almost here the music that has gone on within it's walls. You can take a peek back stage and wonder at whose footsteps you are walking in. Upstairs are revolving exhibits, the current one being "Johnny & June at the Ryman." They met backstage at the Ryman in 1956 and thus began what became one of the most enduring partnerships in country music history.
While the Ryman now quietly stands guard like a wise old grandpa over the younger generations of country music it still bursts forth on occasion as host to bluegrass festivals, funerals of departed musicians
and sell out concerts.