A: Lots and Lots.
If I may employ an overused colloquialism, this is the calm before the storm. The weeks just before a National Preservation Conference are eerily quiet – registration happens online; the final program is at the printer; the set up instructions have been sent to the various venues; everyone pretty much knows what they are doing; and other than really really wishing that we could influence the weather, all is well.
Over the past year of planning and getting to know the city, one of the things that surprised me most about Nashville is that, although known by many people as the center of country music, it is really the center of the entire music industry. It’s entirely possible (even likely, considering that there are concerts unaffiliated with the conference going on all that week) that we’ll run into any number of famous musicians while there. But there are the famous faces, and then there are the songwriters we probably won’t recognize. Songwriters come to Nashville because of the creative atmosphere and the population thick with musicians and other songwriters. One of these artists -- ASACAP’s 2008 Songwriter of the Year, Dave Berg -- will join us at the opening plenary session on Wednesday, October 14, at the famous Ryman Auditorium. Dave will sing for us, and also talk a little bit about the history of country music and of the Ryman.
To get ready for this special event, check out some of Dave’s songs: Somebody, performed by Reba McEntire; If You're Goin' Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows), performed by Rodney Atkins; Stupid Boy, sung by Keith Urban; Emerson Drive's #1 hit, Moments; Rodney Atkins latest #1, These Are My People; Blake Shelton's top 15 single Don't Make Me; Sarah Buxton's debut single Innocence; Chris Cagle' single What Kind Of Gone; and Bucky Covington's latest single, It's Good To Be Us. (Berg's version of a few of these tracks can be found on his MySpace page.)
Wow. That’s a lot of hits.
Other musical acts confirmed for the conference include Amy Jarman, a traditional vocalist who will light up Christ Cathedral for the Preservation Story of Nashville and Middle Tennessee on Tuesday; HalfBrass, who will do non-traditional second-line style music at the Opening Reception at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts; and Last Train Home, performing at the Friday Night Fling party. Thanks to our friends at Middle Tennessee State University, we’ll also have music for you Wednesday through Friday at lunchtime in the Convention Center, including bluegrass (Off The Wagon), roots rock (Rollo Greb) and traditional country yodeling (McDonald Craig, who also lives on a Tennessee Century Farm). So, if you like music, you’ll really enjoy Nashville. If you haven’t registered, there is still time to do so at a discount, but that preregistration discount ends on October 9.
And if you're looking for me, I’ll be the one in my orange (yes, orange) cowboy boots dancing up a storm.
Lori Feinman is the associate director for conferences and training in the Center for Preservation Leadership at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The 2009 National Preservation Conference will take place October 13-19 in Nashville.