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Nashville Hits the Right Note

Dec 24, 2007
Whether you're interested in music or history, Nashville, Tennessee is rich in educational opportunities for student groups traveling to the region. While students are learning a lot in Music City, they're going to learn about Music City at the same time.

A visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum brings students face to face with the history of America's music through interactive displays, films, and costumes. The largest popular music museum in the world contains more than 600 instruments, including rare models and prototypes. Students can record their own hit song at the historic RCA Studio B on Music Row, where the likes of Elvis once performed. Groups may also book a private session and learn about the craft of songwriting with an accomplished songwriter, and schedule a performance on the grounds of the museum.

It's always exciting at the Grand Ole Opry. Regardless of whether you're a country music fan, you can't help but feel the energy in this historic landmark. Shows are held every Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. During the months of April - December, students may also catch a show on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Special performance programs can be scheduled to provide groups with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform in the Opry Plaza, adjacent to the Grand Ole Opry Museum.

While Nashville is known as the country music capital of the world, many rock, pop, and soul records have been recorded here as well. A visit to the Musicians Hall of Fame showcases the broader form of music known throughout the world. Some of the famous hall of fame inductees are Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and No Doubt - all who have recorded in Nashville.

Nashville is also the home of the world's largest floating musical theater, the General Jackson Showboat. The ship measures 300 feet in length and boasts four massive decks. Casual mid-day cruises feature a comedy and country music show performed in the two-story theater located in the center of the boat. Students can also admire the views of the Cumberland River from the decks. A student performance area is available in the boarding area.

While there's no shortage of music-related attractions in Nashville, the destination also features its share of historic sites. Belle Meade Plantation is not only an 1853 Greek revival mansion; it was once a world-renowned Thoroughbred horse breeding farm. In fact, the bloodlines of Sea Biscuit, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones, and Barbarro began here. Surrounding historic outbuildings include the 1890s carriage house and stables, as well as an original 1790s log cabin.

The plantation is also home to the Belmont Mansion, built in 1853. The mansion has been recognized as one of the most elaborate and unusual homes in the South. Its original owner, Adelicia Acklen, secretly conspired with both the Confederate and Union forces to emerge from the Civil War with her fortune intact. The mansion's Grand Salon is considered the most elaborate domestic room built in antebellum Tennessee.

Cheekwood, with its 55 acres, is more than a historic site. The estate was built by the Maxwell House Coffee fortune and has beautiful gardens and fine art exhibits. The botanical garden showcases horticultural collections, while the Museum of Art presents American and European art and is recognized as a center for contemporary art in the Southeast. A wide range of curriculum tours are available for student groups.

In addition to area attractions, Nashville offers a variety of performance opportunities through its festival events for bands, drill teams, choirs, and more. What could be more exciting for students than to perform on one of the many famous stages of Music City? Music Festivals and Gaylord Opryland Resort host Nashville On Stage for show choirs, held at the Grand Ole Opry. Classic concert choirs perform at the Gaylord Opyrland Resort and Convention Center. An awards dinner follows aboard the General Jackson Showboat. Other music festivals include the American Musical Salute, Heritage Music Festival, and the Nashville Music Festival. Cheer and dance drill teams can hone their skills at events such as Cheer and Dance Drill Team America in the spring or the Christmas Dance Spectacular, featuring the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.
About the Author
travel adventures Travel Adventures is staffed by educators who understand the needs of teachers. Serving over one half million students since our inception, we provide hassle-free travel arrangements while empowering teachers to create change by expanding the classroom to the world.
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