The seventh day of our trip from Loganville, GA to Seabeck, WA, weattended the Grand Ole Opry, 80 years of continuously broadcasting "the program that made country music famous."
We were there with a couple thousand others, and we didn't know quite what to expect. Many in the audience had been there before. We were there because of our love of anything authentically American. The Grand Ole Opry certainly qualifies as authentically American.
The show was an eclectic collection of music, comedy, and conversation. Many of the acts included, and often starred senior citizens. The Three White Sisters, were accompanied on the piano by their 88-year-old father. They sang a touching song about the love of my father, which was appropriate since Sunday was Father's Day. Riders in the Sky, who I've enjoyed listening to on OPB radio, weren't able to reach some high notes, but their harmonies were amazing. One of the most remarkable acts was Bobby Osborn and the Rocky Top Express. I was a worried as he walked out on the stage, their lead singer is 87 years old. When he began to sing and play his mandolin, he had an amazing voice. He was backed up by his three sons on the guitar, banjo, and fiddle. They had incredible harmonies, timing, and made our experience 1000% enjoyable.
I couldn't help contrasting our evening to the day before when we attended Country Tonight Theater in Dollywood. They announced, "We have a 10-year-old to entertain you." I thought, "Oh brother, amateur hour." I was wrong again, he was a pro! We were entertained by his energy, enthusiasm, and stage presence. He was 4 years old when he first appeared on stage. A total professional; he sang as many numbers as any of the other featured artists.
These extremely diverse experiences show what that motivates us, that keeps us going isn't money. These old timers have more than enough, and what does a ten year old do with a bucket of money? What's required for excellence is a commitment to excellence, and a willingness to practice, combined with the love for what you are doing.
It's easy to see how loving the audience is essential for an entertainer. What about in your job, your work? You aren't working in front of a live audience and receiving applause. And still, no matter what you do you have a customer, your internal customers, as well as, your external customers. When you get your mind off yourself and onto your "audience", your customer, and love them with passion, the line between work and play blurs and you will have a song in your heart.
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