Long Live The Grand Old Opry
On May 4, 2010, Nashville’s venerable War Memorial Auditorium hosted the Grand Ole Opry’s regularly scheduled Tuesday night show in the wake of the disastrous flooding of the Opry House last weekend. I was in attendance to lend my support to everyone, and it was an unforgettable night and a testament to the healing power of music. The show exemplified all that is good and “real” about country music and our
city. After opening remarks by Grand Ole Opry President Steve Buchanan, Gaylord CEO Collin Reed and Tennessee Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, (who later played “Tennessee Waltz” on piano with the Opry band), Marty Stuart opened the show with a rousing version of an old Flatt and Scruggs tune, appropriately retitled “Let The Church Roll On.”
Many of the Opry staff musicians have lost irreplaceable instruments, amplifiers and more in the flood, but they carried on nobly, battered but unbowed by the tragedy and everyone played straight from the heart all night long. Performers included Chris Young, Suzy Bogguss, Restless Heart, Jack Green, Jim Ed Brown, Jimmy C. Newman, and Jeannie Seely, who had lost “everything” in the flood. All of them sang with passion and commitment befitting the occasion and then some.
The show was emotional but uplifting and everyone in attendance was touched by a collective sense of history in the making. The musical tradition that the Opry represents to our community is a living, breathing thing and is bigger than any building or any trials we may endure. As Marty Stuart and Connie Smith performed a stunning duo version of “Wayfaring Stranger”, followed by the entire
cast singing “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”, it was clear to all in attendance that this was the beginning of the healing process our city so desperately needs. I also must tip my hat to all the Opry management and staff who have showed so much class during this extremely difficult time. As President of the Nashville Musicians Association, I am so proud to represent the finest musicians in the world and I know that “Music City” will persevere through these hard times and emerge stronger than ever before.