Nashville, Tennessee is said to be the birthplace of country music. If the locals were asked, they would reply that the Grand Ole Opry is more specifically where country music was first played. I had the privilege to visit this famous stage and see for myself the uniting power it truly possesses. I have seen many concerts in my life, but never have I seen anything quite like what I saw at the Grand Ole Opry.
We stayed in the Holiday Inn at Vanderbilt because a college visit to Vanderbilt University was the primary reason we were in Nashville. On Wednesday night, we made the fifteen minute drive to Opry Mills and ate dinner in The Aquarium because the restaurant ensured a fantastic, underwater dining experience.
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It was very appealing and my entire family enjoyed it. After, we made our way to the Grand Ole Opry for the show.
We arrived early to ensure we had plenty of time find our seats and get comfortable before the show began. There were many people performing that I had not heard of, but I was excited to see the concert nonetheless. After fumbling around in the aisles for an embarrassing amount of time, a man with a shaved head who looked to be in his forties helped us with finding our seats. He had obviously been here before.
On my right were people with deep southern accents and on my left was a family who sounded like me, a northerner. There were individuals dressed in fancy, elegant clothing and those in jeans and cowboy boots. I didn’t take a survey, but I’m sure there were differences in political ideas in that auditorium as well. Myself being Chinese and my brother being Korean were only two of the nationalities present that night. Basically, we were all different. We came from different places and times and, therefore, had contrasting opinions on just about everything.
The music in the show varied from modern country music to blue grass. I’ll be honest in saying that I like the modern music by Rodney Atkins much better that the blue grass by Ricky Skaggs. My father liked the blue grass and was awed by the old school music by jimmy Dean who performed a song named Life Has Turned Her That Way. My dad insisted that the song was old school, and, even though I generally don’t care for old music, the song stuck to me.
It was amazing to me that so many people could gather together and enjoy music from various places and times. That night, we celebrated diversity, but not just our ability to be different. We proved that we could come together and revel in something we all have in common, music.
Music has the power to reach across all variations of people. A good song can get similar reactions from people of different origins, religions, and ages. Sitting in that theater made me realize that wherever I go in the world, no matter how different everyone seems, we all have something we can bond over.
Driving back to the hotel on that dark, warm night, I knew that I would always remember the way music can speak to people and how, even five hundred miles from where I live, I still felt at home.
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