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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the Columnists.com, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
Humorists.com
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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Grand Ole Opry....
 


The Grand Ole Opry

Nothing is more associated with Tennessee than country music and nothing is more associated with country music than The Grand Ole Opry.

Many Southerners grew up on a steady diet of country music and love it. Others have an attitude that seems to vary from perplexment to indifference to hatred. A joke among newcomers to the Nashville area is, "If you live in Nashville long enough, you'll get to where you can almost stand country music."

Whether you love it or hate it, no trip to Tennessee or Nashville would be complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry, rightly billed as the "shrine of country music." This is the long-standing variety show where older country music stars got their beginning. Even now, some of the biggest names in entertainment are associated with the Opry and perform there. The show has become legendary and several shows are performed in the Opry House every weekend - unrehearsed.

A visit to The Grand Ole Opry will easily show why it has reached the level of legend that has come to be associated with it. At a mere $20 per seat, it is without a doubt the biggest professional entertainment bargain you will every encounter.

The Opry House itself is plain, comfortable and functional. The atmosphere is casual, more like a ball game or movie than a live stage performance. People much on popcorn and watch the 3-hour show, which is almost continuous with only brief pauses of a few minutes.

Fans leave their seats and walk forward to the stage to snap pictures of favorite stars. Yet, there is no chaos, but complete order and almost an awe of what is going on. The performers and audience alike seem to be caught up in the nostalgic aspects and enjoy being a part of history, something somehow greater than any one performance.

When attending it is necessary to "let go" and get into the spirit of the music to really enjoy it. It is folk music - music of the common folk. The songs are about loving, lying, cheating, drinking, and common life. It is interspersed with unsophisticated comedy acts, a bit of dancing for variety, and toe-tapping, fiddle and banjo playing. There are old stars and new stars. One night, for example, Loretta Lynn sang "Cole Miner's Daughter" and Vince Gill sang from his newest album at the same performance.

When you make a reservation for the Opry, you never know who will be performing. The lineup is announced Wednesday prior to the show. Probably the most interesting aspect of the whole thing is that it is live on the radio, and live radio commercials can be heard by the audience and seem to tie the various parts of the show together.

Part of the show is also carried live on television on a cable channel. The cameras are there filming, and monitors show the audience what the television audience is seeing. It is truly amazing how everything continues to flow and the show goes on without interruption.

Why is it called The Grand Ole Opry? It seems that way back in the 20's when the show first began, it followed a radio show of classical music. The announcer made a crack about the Grand Opera being followed by The Grand Ole Opry and the name stuck. It is, of course, about as far from Opera as music can get.

Nashville is now a cosmopolitan southern city with live theater, an orchestra, and a ballet. But the roots of Southerners and of Tennessee, and the heritage for which they will probably always most be known, is still the music of the common folk, country music.


Copyright 1999 Sheila Moss

 
 



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