BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Grammy Gallery in the Musicians Hall of Fame turned out to be quite the gala affair.
Visitors to the museum on Tuesday afternoon (March 29) were treated to rocking music, big dignitaries and stargazing as well as a vast new interactive space.
The museum’s creator Joe Chambers introduced Mayor Megan Barry to the hundreds in attendance. The Mayor said she’s looking forward to seeing yellow school buses lined up outside the museum. “This is now going to be the coolest field trip in town,” she said. “I am so proud of this project. I believe in this project. This takes the Musicians Hall of Fame to a whole new level.”
She added that she was delighted to be sharing the stage with longtime museum supporters Brenda Lee and Peter Frampton. “Frampton Comes Alive was the first album I ever bought,” the Nashville leader shared.
Brenda was at her second gig of the day, having presided at the announcement ceremony of the next Country Music Hall of Fame members that morning. She reported that Fred Foster spilled the beans on the selections of fellow inductees Randy Travis and Charlie Daniels during his remarks. (By the way, all three are native North Carolinians).
Peter and Brenda weren’t the only celebrities in attendance at the ribbon cutting. Mingling in the crowd like everyday folks were Ray Stevens, Mickey Guyton, Garth Brooks, BR549’s Jay McDowell (who curates multimedia exhibits for the museum), hit songwriter Buddy Kalb, session aces Bobby Wood and Bruce Bouton, producer/writer Shannon Sanders and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Allen Reynolds, not to mention such major industry honchos as Rod Essig, Joe Galante, George Flanigen, Jody Williams and Jim Ed Norman.
Another such honcho was on stage. Mike Curb had the vision and the finances to bring the Grammy Gallery to Nashville. The city kicked in a million bucks, too. Grammy Museum executive director Bob Santelli made the vision a reality.
Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow said, “Visitors will experience first-hand the mysterious process of making music. We are so looking forward to sharing the recording process.”
Individual stations in the Gallery teach various aspects of music creation via interactive videos and headphones. You can learn how to sing backup with Ray Charles & The Raelettes. You can learn to write songs with Motown legend Lamont Dozier and/or Nashville’s Desmond Child. You can learn how to produce with Mike Clink, to engineer with Manny Marroquin, to sing with producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and to mix via Garth’s “Friends in Low Places.”
There is also a space where you can to learn how to rap, as well as a performing stage with playable instruments. Want to dance with Tina Turner? You can do that, too.
One segment of the Grammy Gallery tells the history of the Grammy Awards. Another shows how a Grammy statuette is manufactured. A series of displays show how the design of the award has evolved. There is a rehearsal hall. There is a recording studio.
“It is no longer a static experience,” said Santelli. “It is an active experience.”
Music at the event was provided by the Nashville School of the Arts Pop Ensemble, who seriously rocked the joint, doing everything from Adele to Bruno Mars. “You are going to be wowed by this next generation of musicians,” commented Mayor Barry.
Working the room were Pam Lewis, Jed Hilly, Mark Miller, Butch Spyridon, Barry Mazor, Dave Paulson, Kay Smith, Terry Clements, Don Murray Grubbs, Nancy Shapiro, Diane Pearson, Debbie Carroll, Lori Badgett, Linda Chambers, Stuart Ervin, Alicia Warwick and hundreds of delighted “civilians.” All the stars hung around to pose for pictures with fans.
The Musicians Hall of Fame is located in the spacious lower level of historic Municipal Auditorium. Its exhibits salute the musicians of Detroit, Memphis, Los Angeles, Muscle Shoals, New York, Nashville and other music centers.
Its motto is, “Come see what you’ve heard.” If you haven’t been to it, make a date to go at once. It is one of the coolest attractions in town. And now it’s even cooler.