The Ryman Auditorium is in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. It first opened its doors in 1892 as a church called the Union Gospel Tabernacle. It has a seating capacity of 2,362 people. The design of the auditorium was to make the most of good sound quality.
The history of the Ryman begins back in the 1880's when a famed traveling evangelist, Sam Jones came to Nashville and set up a tent and began to preach. Captain Thomas Ryman was a river boat captain and a Nashville businessman. He thought that the preacher was affecting his business, which was contrary to what the preacher was teaching. Captain Ryman came to a revival meeting with plans to heckle the preacher, but instead something the preacher said touched his heart.
That is when Captain Ryman decided to raise money for a permanent place for Sam Jones to preach. It took 7 years and $100,000 dollars, but in 1892 the auditorium was complete.
In the lobby you will see a bronze statue of Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl. Their life size figures are sitting on an original 1892 oak pew.
As you can see above it is a spectacular view of the stage. See how the seats just wrap around the stage.
Captain Ryman died in 1904,and that was when things changed for the Ryman. Not only was it used for a church, but it was also used for jazz events, operas, boxing matches, and livestock sales. A lot of the national talent would come to give shows. This went on from 1904 to 1943. Because of the acoustics the Ryman Auditorium became known as the Carnegie Hall of the South.
In 1943 the Ryman was rented out on Saturday nights for a live popular radio show that was looking for something bigger. This change the Ryman and country music.
From 1943 to 1974 the Ryman became known as the Mother Church of Country Music. Top performers such as Bill Monroe, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline played on its stage. This helped to mold country and blue grass music to what you see today. In 1974 the Grand Ole moved to its present location in Music Valley.
The Ryman remain vacant until in 1994 where it reopened after a major renovation to become a museum and concert hall. It has become a draw for international stars and a stepping stone for emerging artists. In Feburary of 2011, it was named Pollstar "Theatre of the year". This is the highest honor in the live music venue industry.
The view from the balcony are very good, and even the farthest seat away from the stage has a good view.
This view above is to give you some idea what the balcony looks like from the entry way of the second floor.
This is the view of the stage from the second floor entry way.
There are several displays on the second level. This is one of Johnny Cash that shows his clothes, pictures, and more. There are more displays this size and several shorter ones hidden behind the top back pews.
Below is a video about the Ryman Auditorium. I found it on YouTube and thought they did a good job making it. To watch the video, just click on the arrow in the middle of the screen.