Featured Destination: A Nashville Choir Trip with Napa High SchoolChris Forsythe
Nashville, TN is known as the hometown of country music, and it boasts a vibrant and diverse music scene that includes Hip-Hop, Jazz, Classical, Country and more. Nashville is a comfortable city to explore: it has deep roots in music, numerous performance opportunities and iconic musical sightseeing stops. So, take a spin through Nashville with the Napa High School Choir (CA) and get a sneak peek into what your group could experience on your Nashville choir trip!
Excitement was in the air as Napa choir students packed their bags and headed to Oakland International Airport on a warm Sunday in April, 2019. After a full day of traveling, the group arrived in Music City and drove to the choir’s comfortable hotel for a good night’s rest.
Monday, Napa Choir’s first full day in Nashville, began with a private tour at the Musician’s Hall of Fame. The group heard some of the greatest recordings of all time, including music from the Beach Boys, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix and many more. Before leaving the Musician’s Hall of Fame, the Napa Choir took advantage of a short, informal performance opportunity!
After a quick lunch, the group joined a local guide for a walking tour through the heart of downtown Nashville. Visiting iconic venues like the Ryman Auditorium and the Purple Orchid Lounge, located on Honky Tonk Row on Broadway, the choir learned about many Country Music Legends who call Nashville home. And, it found out how Nashville became known as Music City.
Thanking their guide for a fun tour, Napa Choir dropped in at the Frist Art Museum for a look a regional and international art. Then it was off to dinner at the Pfunky Griddle, where the students cooked their own breakfast-for-dinner – right on a grill in the center of the table!
On Tuesday, the group visited The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s 625-acre plantation. They also saw President Jackson’s tomb, where he is buried beside his beloved wife, Rachel. The group then departed for the Opry Mills Mall to enjoy shopping and lunch.
Next was a backstage tour at the Grand Ole Opry! Wowed by the history and walking where the greats have performed, the Napa Choir was inspired as it warmed up for its Pre-Opry performance that evening on the plaza outside the Grand Ole Opry’s main entrance. After singing for concert-goers prior to the evening’s Grand Ole Opry performance, The Napa High School Choir filtered into the great hall to enjoy a night full of country music!
On Wednesday, the group visited the Country Music Hall of Fame, a $37 million facility featuring over 40,000 square feet of exhibit space, including Elvis’ gold-encrusted Cadillac and Webb Pierce’s cowboy-themed convertible! In addition to a theater featuring early radio and television broadcasts, the Hall of Fame’s two-story wall displays every gold and platinum record ever to make the country charts.
When the group departed the Country Music Hall of Fame, the choir’s excitement began to build for its next visit, famous RCA Studio B! The Napa Choir had a great time in Studio B’s “Inside the Tracks Workshop”. Through this opportunity, the students got an unvarnished look into the life of a musician, from songwriting to performing. Next, collectively, the choir co-wrote and produced a song from scratch with Nashville recording artist Meghan Linsey and record producer Tyler Cain! The day ended with a tasty dinner at the Wildhorse Saloon, followed by energetic line dancing!
Belmont University in Nashville was first up for the Napa Choir on Thursday. The group participated in a 90-minute educational choir clinic with Dr. Jeffery Ames, Associate Professor of Music. Dr. Ames also serves as Director of Choral Activities for the university.
After sharpening its skills with Dr. Ames, Napa Choir explored Nashville’s Parthenon, a full-size replica of the original Greek Parthenon in Athens. Besides direct casts of the sculptures, dating back to 438 B.C., the group also saw Nashville’s Art Museum. It is home to a 42-foot replica of the goddess, Athena, from the original Parthenon, and houses breathtaking collections of world art.
The group rounded out the day with a dinner at Hard Rock Café Thursday evening, followed by a visit to Schermerhorn Symphony Center to listen the Nashville Symphony Orchestra perform a night of musical masterpieces!
On its last day, Napa Choir enjoyed exploring, sightseeing and shopping along Broadway in downtown Nashville, before heading to the airport and departing for California. All agreed they had an adventure-packed, inspiring Nashville choir trip to famous Music City!