The week ending today, Saturday 7 May, is the anniversary of the Great Flood of 2010. A year ago portions of Nashville, Clarksville and the rest of West and Middle Tennessee, and of adjacent States, got inundated by lethal raging waters of the Cumberland River and its tributaries.
AND THEN my fellow Music City residents truly showed their mettle. And showed it big-time!
Tuesday evening the Third of May they had a special edition of the Tuesday Nite Opry radio show on WSM. The day of week was particularly significant, as was the venue, the Grand Ole Opry House. You see, dear reader, The Grand Ole Opry show performed in the House on Saturday, 1 May A.D. 2010, as rain poured down, with no end in sight. More than one Opry cast member commented that night. By Tuesday the Fourth the House was inundated (Cumberland's flood crest having happened just before midnight on the Third), and the Tuesday Nite Opry scheduled for then was in need of an alternative location. Opry staff and cast -- and Nashvillians in general -- did not fold hands with a "Woe is us, we're ruined; stop everything!"
Instead, they located an alternative performance hall downtown in War Memorial Auditorium -- actually a former home of the show (1939-1943; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Memorial_Auditorium, http://nashville.about.com/od/historyandsites/a/GOOpryhistory.htm or http://www.originaloldradio.com/show_history_for_grand_ole_opry.html for details).
The Opry family showed that "the show must go on!"
Fast forward to this week. On Tuesday the show took a subtitle: "Play on, Nashville!" This wasn't just a reflection on the disaster of a year ago, nor a celebration of Nashville's resilience and the rebuilding that's taken place in the ensuing year. Several charitable organizations got linked to the performance; both live and radio audiences were strongly encouraged to contribute, that repairs which remain can get done. PLUS that further funds go to assist victims and survivors of horrendous tornadoes which ravaged Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and other southern States -- not a year ago but merely last week!
I can simply imagine how those unfortunate souls are still in shock. We Nashvillians were there a year ago. May our resilience then be an inspiration to them NOW!
I didn't get to listen to the entire show, but I did hear the beginning and ending. If for no other reason than that I heard Brad Paisley and Trace Adkins this show was worth the listening. But references in word and song to WHY the evening was so special caused it to be not just worthwhile but unique and valuable!
Speaking of Brad Paisley, here's a link to a report on the "Play On, Nashville!" evening, with special attention to this beloved member of the Opry cast. http://www.theboot.com/2011/05/04/grand-ole-opry-play-on-nashville/ And if you haven't heard it yet and are a Country Music or Opry fan, you need to hear Brad's latest hit single: "This Is Country Music (and We Do)"! Just like the Opry expresses Country and related American music genres, Brad's song presents and CELEBRATES certain enduring themes of Country song lyrics, and concludes with him singing well-known phrases from certain famous songs by famous artists. Here's a video of him singing "This Is Country Music" and accepting Entertainer of the Year at the 2010 CMA show (but get some Kleenex, to wipe your eyes):