This blog is longer than usual but I wanted to take you on the journey with me. The performance is at the end...
Well, it’s been a week since the Enlightened Piano Radio Awards Concert at the Grand Ole Opry and I am still trying to feel normal again. I will have to say, from beginning to end, the whole weekend was a lot to take in and an amazing experience!
First and foremost, I want to thank each and every one of you who voted for me as Best New Artist. Though I did not win the title, I was a winner just to be nominated and I would not have had this experience had it not been for your votes!!! I will always be grateful.
You know you are in the Country Music Capital when you get off the plane and you hear live country music coming from every bar on your way down the concourse. Then you get to the hotel and more live country music is being performed in the hotel lobby!
When your shuttle driver and your hotel concierge both ask, "What brings you to Nashville?" and they get majorly excited when you tell them you are performing at the Opry (in Studio A), it starts to hit you...performing at the Opry is performing at the Opry, even if it's in the ladies' room! It's a big deal!
The Opryland Hotel is very beautiful with tropical greenery and waterfalls everywhere. The first thing I did when I arrived was take the indoor river cruise and I ran into fellow EPR artist, Mark Pinkus, who immediately put me at ease. Another thing about the hotel is that it’s ginormous (is that a word?) - VERY VERY big! With almost 3000 rooms, it can be quite daunting to find one’s way around. I mean…people, when you have the hotel map IN YOUR HAND and you still have to ask others carrying Starbucks cups how to get to the Starbucks, that is just TOO big!!!!
All the EPR musicians I have met are so nice, helpful, and encouraging!
THE BIG NIGHT!
So what is Studio A? It is right on the other side of the wall of the main stage! It’s most famous for being the set of the TV show Hee Haw. In order to get through the stage door, my name had to be on the security list, and I went through the same performers’ stage door that Reba McIntyre, Vince Gill, Carrie Underwood, and Dolly Parton had done the very night before for Reba’s 40th anniversary at the Grand Ole Opry!!!!!
It was really quite funny when earlier in the day I had gone for my warm up through the front door and a security guard escorted me through several tour groups saying “Excuse me please, excuse me” and they parted like the red sea as if I was someone famous! LOL!!!! Just quickly walking through the building made me appreciate the history and the privilege I was about to have that very few people would ever experience! I wish I could have had the time to jump in on one of those tours and listen to what they were learning about all the history within those walls!
I was soooo incredibly blessed to have twelve friends and family members from three states in the audience. I didn’t really realize how much it would mean to me until I was sitting there waiting for my turn to play. Seeing them all in the audience made all the difference in the world and helped calm my beating heart!
Another highlight for me was to have Eric Bikales accompany me on the flute. He also gave a performance of his own original music in the jazz piano category. Eric has toured for 30 years with Neal Sedaka. Our performance went well and was very well received. We've already had over 2000 views on Facebook! As you can see by the picture below many performers have played on the same piano we got to play in the concert!
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