I'm back. I spent the last four days as a chaperon for the Downers Grove North High School choirs trip to Nashville, Tennessee. The choirs sang in the acoustically rich Belmont Baptist Church, a facility of Belmont University, a very music oriented school at one end of Music Row. Two professors from the college worked with the four choirs on Saturday morning.
Another objective of the trip was introducing the students to the musical heritage of the city. We visited historic RCA Studio B, the Ryman Auditorium (that's a Minnie Pearl hat and dress to the left), and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and attended the late Saturday program at the Grand Ole Orpy. Alison Krauss, John Waite, Ricky Skaggs, Little Jimmie Dickens, the Virginia Boys, Porter Wagoner, the Whites, and Bill Anderson were among the performers during the live radio broadcast.
The presentation in RCA Studio B reminded me of the opera lectures that we have at our library. Our guide, who knew much and loved her subject, spoke about the history of the facility and played excerpts from famous songs recorded there. With good stories and a little technical wizardry, she taught and entertained the students, faculty, and chaperons. I particularly enjoyed learning about acoustics (baffles were placed around the room) and seeing the piano that was used in many sessions between 1957 ans 1977. Of course Elvis was featured in the stories, but hundreds of other country and rock stars used the studio. It is interesting to think about how music that just seems to come from the radio or the Internet really comes from some special space.
Downtown Nashville has a handy convention center, hotels, restaurants, and entertainment. I see why LITA had its forum there last fall. We had a wonderful eating barbecue (vegetarian plates were available), shot pool, and line danced at the Wildhorse Saloon. We also had a time to wander along Broadway, where I found both the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and Lawrence Records (which has lots of old vinyl recordings).
I found the advice from Frommer's Nashville & Memphis by Linda Romine was useful for preparing for the trip. I wish I had actually taken it with me, too.
I would gladly attend a library conference in Nashville.
You can see more of my photos at Flickr.