June 19, 2015 (NASHVILLE, TN) – On Sunday, June 28 Tennessee residents are invited to experience the all new Ryman Auditorium daytime tour experience free of charge as part of a Community Appreciation Day sponsored by Ryman partners Nissan and SunTrust Bank. Complimentary self-guided tours will be available from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on June 28 with presentation of a valid Tennessee state ID at the Ryman box office. No reservations are necessary.
The Ryman’s self-guided tour includes admission to new state-of-the-art theater experience, “Soul of Nashville.” The show puts the audience at the center of the Ryman’s fascinating history as more than a century of legendary performances come to life on all sides of the room. The dramatic story of the building’s near demolition and rebirth climaxes with a new collaboration featuring Darius Rucker, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill. Once “Soul of Nashville” has provided an introduction to the Ryman story, visitors will enjoy five new exhibits: “Workin’ on a Building,” “Showplace of the South,” “Mother Church of Country Music,” “Ryman Stage to Screen” and “Ryman Renaissance.” Guests will see genuine artifacts and enjoy videos with hosts Charles Esten, Marty Stuart, Nicole Kidman, Ricky Skaggs, Robin Roberts and Trisha Yearwood taking them through each chapter of the Ryman’s illustrious history.
In addition to sponsoring the complimentary tours for Tennessee residents, Nissan and Suntrust Bank have partnered to provide free live music on the expanded Ryman plaza outside new restaurant, Cafe Lula. Nissan cars including a GT-R similar to the one featured in the smash hit movie franchise “Fast and the Furious” will be on display as well as a Suntrust mobile bank on wheels. Additionally, Nissan drivers who show a key or SunTrust clients who show a SunTrust-branded ATM or credit card at the Ryman gift shop will receive 10% off on their purchase. (Discount offer excludes media items.) The Ryman gift shop is open daily until 7:00 p.m. Everyone who attends will also receive a special giveaway item and the chance to win other prizes.
“The community takes great pride in the Ryman,” said Sally Williams, Ryman Auditorium General Manager. “We’re grateful to Nissan and SunTrust for providing Tennesseans the opportunity to experience the Soul Nashville and our other new exhibits.”
Tours start at 9:00 a.m. but visitors are encouraged to come early and enjoy the breakfast menu at Cafe Lula. Offerings include Yogurt Parfaits ($5) and The Donut “Whole” (slice $2.50, whole $25.) Cafe Lula, located on the Ryman plaza, is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
About Ryman Auditorium A National Historic Landmark, Ryman Auditorium was built as a tabernacle by Captain Thomas G. Ryman in 1892, served as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-74, and was completely renovated in 1994. The Ryman is open for tours during the day and at night offers a wide variety of entertainment performances, just has it has for over 120 years. The venue was voted the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Pollstar Theatre of the Year. Ryman Auditorium is owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE: RHP), a Nashville-based REIT that also owns and operates the Grand Ole Opry, and 650 AM WSM. For more information, visit ryman.com
About Nissan Motor Co. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 247,500 employees globally, Nissan sold 5.32 million vehicles and generated revenue of 11.38 trillion yen (USD 103.6 billion) in fiscal year 2014. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of more than 60 models under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. Nissan leads the world in zero-emission mobility, dominated by sales of the LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle. It is the best-selling EV in history with almost 50% share of the zero-emission vehicle segment.
About SunTrust Banks, Inc., Headquartered in Atlanta, is one of the nation’s largest banking organizations, serving a broad range of consumer, commercial, corporate and institutional clients. As of June 30, 2013, SunTrust had total assets of $171.5 billion and total deposits of $127.6 billion. Through its flagship subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, the Company operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states and a full array of technology-based, 24-hour delivery channels. The Company also serves clients in selected markets nationally. Its primary businesses include deposit, credit, trust and investment services. Through its various subsidiaries, the Company provides mortgage banking, asset management, securities brokerage, and capital market services. SunTrust's Internet address is suntrust.com.
About “Soul of Nashville”
“Soul of Nashville” utilizes cutting edge technology to surround the audience with moving images on multiple projector planes and sound that engulfs the senses and puts them in the center of the show. Through special effects, archival images and footage, performers from the Ryman's past become multidimensional right before the viewer’s eyes.
The show culminates in a finale that delivers a montage of photos, posters and video footage from the Ryman's contemporary history since reopening 20 years ago. Seamlessly, the energy captured in those performances transitions into a new arrangement of the traditional song, "Workin' on a Building," featuring a magnificent performance by the acclaimed Fisk Jubilee singers, who have a history with the Ryman dating back to 1892, and soloists Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill. The choir and stars appear larger-than-life on the screens as if performing a concert right in the room. By design, this experience makes an emotional connection with the audience who will then exit the theater and begin the rest of their tour experience.
About New Exhibits
“Workin’ on a Building”
Video host Trisha Yearwood tells of the famed meeting between Thomas Green Ryman and Samuel Porter Jones, and the inspiration that led to the construction of one of the nation’s grandest tabernacles. On display are artifacts documenting Ryman’s life, construction of the building and events that took place during the early years of the Union Gospel Tabernacle.
“Showplace of the South”
Most know of the Grand Ole Opry’s time in the Ryman, but some may not be aware of the performances that graced the stage long before the radio show arrived. Video host Nicole Kidman shares the fascinating story of the Ryman’s transition from a revival hall into a premier performing arts venue. At the forefront was longtime manager Lula C. Naff.
“Mother Church of Country Music”
The Ryman acquired a new identity when a soon-to-be world-famous radio program found itself in search of a new home. The Ryman’s new tenant brought a whole new fan base into the pews when they began broadcasting their clear-channel signal coast to coast from the stage of the old “Mother Church.” Hear firsthand accounts from Opry members Marty Stuart and Ricky Skaggs as they host the exhibit video, enjoy rare performance footage and see stage costumes and instruments on display.
“Ryman Stage to Screen”
Many remember hearing the sounds of the Opry resonating over the airwaves but do not realize how many times the Ryman has appeared on the big screen. Visitors will see clips from the concert tapings, television episodes and major motion pictures that have used the Ryman as their setting during a video hosted by Charles Esten. From “Coal Miner’s Daughter” to television’s “Nashville,” “Honkytonk Man” to “American Idol,” the Ryman has served as an important backdrop for many filmmaking projects over the years.
The last stop on the tour is an exhibit dedicated to the ongoing legacy of the Ryman. Video host Robin Roberts shares recent Ryman history and relates the importance of its continued tradition. Today, the Ryman hosts 200-250 events annually, and, just like the generations of the past, people sit in the same wooden pews to see the greats of their day perform and breathe new life into the room.