The other night I went to the Grand Ole Opry and took my grandson. I feel that children need to be exposed to performing arts in real life, not just on television. Of course, the first thing he did when found out the Opry was live on television was to call his dad and tell him to look for him in the audience. So much for the importance of reality to an eight-year-old.
What made me think about going to the Opry was an email I received from an elderly gentleman who was mad because he read a magazine article that said management of the Opry didn’t want any gray hair in the show. The gentleman, whom I presume has gray hair, declared he is going to tell all his friends and they will never come to the Opry again.
I suppose that if you only see the Grand Ole Opry on TV, you might get the impression that all the older stars are gone. They are not. Most of the show is still made up of the same guitar-twanging folks that make it as much a historical event as an entertainment spectacular — at least the older stars that are still alive.
Don’t worry, there is plenty of gray hair at the Opry along with the rhinestones and sequins. Much of the show is still centered on stars that have been at the Opry for a lifetime. However, when the TV cameras are on, the newer entertainers are in front of them, as they are the ones with the big hit records. Pretty young blondes who are as talented as they are pretty can quickly steal the show.
Personally, I like both the old timers and the young’uns. If you don’t bring in new talent, the show will eventually die. But, I can see where it would be hard to step back and watch others receive all the adoration and airtime after spending an entire lifetime helping to make the show a success.
Don’t raise your hand now, but I wonder how many people are like me and don’t go to the Opry very much, if at all. We really should go more. It is the best professional entertainment value around. With two and a half hours of continuous entertainment, you certainly get your money’s worth. People come from all over the country to see the Opry, but because we live close and can go anytime we want, we never do.
Some people say that they grew up on a steady diet of the Grand Ole Opry and love country music. Others claim they hate it. I think it sort of grows on you after you listen to it for a while. When you go to see the Opry, you have to get into the spirit of the music and tap your toe or clap your hands. In other words, give it a chance. Remember, it’s folk music, the music of common folks.
We might as well face it. The newer stars will probably continue to steal the show. Now while their careers are burning bright, they are awed by success and glamour. Some day, however, their limelight too will fade. We hope they will receive the respect they deserve and not feel they have to resort to lawsuits and negative publicity to have an opportunity to continue to perform.
My grandson had a really good time. I don’t know if it was the fiddle playing and singing, seeing a live broadcast, or if he thought going to the Opry was a cool thing to do. Of course, it might simply be that a child likes going almost any place as long as it involves eating popcorn or hotdogs or both.