Imagine having the opportunity to sit on the historic stage of the Ryman Auditorium at a press conference of the official unveiling of the $14 million expansion and introduction to the daytime tour attraction entitled “Soul of Nashville” within the new 100 seat theater created specifically for it? To be honest, I got goosebumps just sitting there taking it all in as I looked out at empty seats in the auditorium wondering what it must be like for any artist performing there and in awe of who has stood upon that stage over the last 125 years of its existence. After the press conference, I was led into the new theater to enjoy “Soul of Nashville”.
“Soul of Nashville” is an innovative way to introduce music fans to the wonderful 125 year history of the iconic Ryman Auditorium. It was created by BRC Imagination Arts of California and “uses cutting edge technology to surround the audience with moving images on multiple projector planes and sound that engulfs the senses and puts them in the center of the show. Through special effects, archival images and footage, performers from the Ryman’s past become multidimensional right before the viewer’s eyes.” It is an absolutely incredible experience to behold. Not just a movie, but you almost feel immersed in it as characters come out of the screen. I’m still trying to figure out how they brought Lula C. Naff, the Ryman’s longtime promoter and manager from 1904-1955, seemingly back to life to host the multi-media experience. Lula was a remarkable woman and innovator way ahead of her time who helped to make Nashville a center for the arts in the region.
This film and multi-media experience takes us through the history of the Ryman through pictures and show posters. It also features a wonderful performance by the acclaimed Fisk Jubilee singers, who have a history with the Ryman dating back to 1892, and musical artists Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill. Each are brought to the screen larger than life, and almost like they are right in the room with you. My description doesn’t hardly do it justice, you have to experience it yourself truly get a feel for it.
In addition to the theater, there is a new cafe serving delicious food that is sure to be a hit for patrons taking in a show at the Ryman. Also, an expansion of the front entrance with the gift shop and new bathrooms.
After taking in the wonderful “Soul of Nashville” theater experience, there was a very nice reception held in the lobby area and we were given a chance to tour around the auditorium on our own. I absolutely loved the experience! I even had a fun photo op right on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium pretending to perform, because lets face it, with my lack of musical talent, that’s the closest I’m coming to being ON that stage!