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The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, is carrying on its proud tradition of being the home of American music.
It’s been an essential part of American culture for decades.
And that longevity is exactly why Dan Rogers, Grand Ole Opry vice president and executive producer, drew comparisons to the strength and endurance of the nation.
“As long as there’s a Grand Ole Opry, we can count on there being a strong United States of America,” he told Fox News Digital in an interview just ahead of Memorial Day this year.
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Rogers said the Grand Ole Opry has “always celebrated the best in America” through traditional southern sounds and by introducing new modes of country music that speak to all Americans.
“We celebrate the past, present and future of country music in every show we do.”
“And I would say, by the same token, we celebrate the past, present and future of America every time that big red curtain goes up.”
Whether fans walk in through the front doors of the Opry House or performers come through the artists’ entrance, Rogers said the Opry experience is always a pure “celebration of America.”
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“The Opry truly is country music’s home and country music is so American.”
The Opry has made a strong comeback since the coronavirus pandemic forced artists to play to an empty house, Rogers said.
Yet even during that hard time, the Saturday night livestreamed broadcast was able to reach listeners, old and new, around the world.
Now, given the new (and renewed) enthusiasm, more listeners have been traveling to Nashville to attend the show in person (the Opry reopened in May 2021).
“Fans and artists alike are ready to celebrate country music’s most famous show.”
“We’re beginning to see all those people who discovered the Opry back when they could only tune in … from their home,” he said. “They’re buying a ticket and coming in and celebrating with 4,400 other people … [they’re] seeing this show in person,” he said.
“It’s a really, really exciting time,” he added, “because it feels like fans and artists alike are ready to celebrate country music’s most famous show.”
Rogers remembered watching the livestream — just as scores of worldwide viewers did as well — as the show was taking place right outside his office door.
To him, it felt like a “true win” for the Opry.
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“It was pretty phenomenal to think I just walked off that stage, and now I’m seeing people truly from around the world … commenting and saying things like, ‘Gosh, we’ve been waiting since this time last week,'” he said.
Artists should take a chance and come “be a part” of the Nashville limelight because, after all, “it can happen for you,” said Dan Rogers.
The Opry plans to continue offering a well-rounded experience for country music fans and developing new relationships with artists to carry on a “really beautiful mix.”
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And for new artists with big talent and even bigger dreams, Rogers shared encouragement, saying they should take a chance and come “be a part” of the Nashville limelight because, after all, “it can happen for you.”
Rogers started his career with the Grand Ole Opry as a graduate school intern in 1998.
He remembers the day he took a chance of his own, pulling out of his parents’ driveway in Xenia, Illinois, while Patty Loveless played on the radio — he never looked back.
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“It’s an example of dreams coming true for someone who’s willing to jump in the car and take a chance,” he said.
“It’s been a great, great run here at this wonderful show.”