One of the country’s most storied venues, the Ryman Auditorium, celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. To mark the milestone, the city of Nashville proclaimed Wednesday, May 10th, “Ryman Auditorium Day,” a designation that was lauded by Vince Gill during a ceremony at the theater.
Famous as an early home of the Grand Ole Opry, the venue’s history began on May 10th, 1885, with a tent revival attended by riverboat captain Thomas G. Ryman. Moved by the experience, he financed construction of a church called the Union Gospel Tabernacle. After Ryman’s death the building was renamed in his honor and, as the host of the Opry from 1943 to 1974, it became the “Mother Church of Country Music.”
Emmylou Harris helped save it from the wrecking ball in 1991, and since then the venue has become one of the world’s finest listening rooms. Artists from Merle Haggard to Diana Ross have graced its stage, and the tradition continues today.
Upcoming events during the 125th anniversary include a yearlong residency by Little Big Town, shows by magicians David Blaine and comic Jim Jefferies, a five-night stand with Jason Isbell and 10 Christmas at the Ryman concerts with Vince Gill and Amy Grant.