Turning Dreams Into Reality
by Kyla Duewel, Opry House Backstage Pass Tour Lead Guide
As a tour guide at the Grand Ole Opry House, I have the honor and privilege of showing people around one of the most sacred gems of country music. I absolutely love getting to know my guests, hearing stories of how they traveled hours to get here, or how they have waited their entire lives to step foot on the most famous stage in country music.
It’s extremely rewarding to hear personal stories of guests listening to the Opry as a young child or how they once waited four hours outside the Ryman Auditorium in the rain just to get to be at the Opry, as I have my own memories of listening to the show with my family as a child.
It is also gratifying to see guests who are not familiar with the Opry leave with a new appreciation for the history and evolution of the live radio show and country music.
The most rewarding experience I had came from a family of four generations ranging in age from 11 months to 94 years. The eldest was a great-grandmother who had followed the Opry since she was a child.
As they wheeled her onto the famous stage in her wheelchair, she began explaining how singing on the Opry stage was number one on her bucket list. Well, she was in luck that day because we were going to let her do just that.
As she started into a verse of “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, her 11-month-old great-granddaughter walked across the legendary circle of wood with her parents watching from either side. You could see the overwhelming joy on everyone’s faces, along with the tears of happiness that comes with such an occasion.
They later explained to me that was the first time the infant had walked in front of her great-grandmother and it happened during such an unforgettable moment in this 94 year old woman’s life. An experience like this exemplifies the magic of the Grand Ole Opry and how it can create lifelong, priceless memories for all generations.
Needless to say, I love my job and all the memories that I have seen crafted right in front of my eyes!
Until you make the trip, here’s a peek at backstage from Mike Wolfe (from the popular series American Pickers). He got a backstage tour of the Opry House from Opry Museum curator Brenda Colladay.