|A few of the concerts at the bandshell include:
1937-1968 Summer Sunday Concerts:
1961: Jim Reeves & The Nashville Symphony Orchestra
August 22-24, 1969: WMAK Music Festival (See list below)
August 23, 1970: WMAK Music Festivals (See list below)
1986 Tennessee Homecoming '86 Concert: with Pat Boone
June of 1998 - The Dixie Chicks: at The Bandshell
|The Centennial Park Bandshell
|Just a few of the concerts took place at Nashville's Centennial Park
|June 1998: The Dixie Chicks Live at the Bandshell
Pictures courtesy of Misty
|1986: Pat Boone returns to the Bandshell
TENNESSEE HOMECOMING '86
(above: page & text from concert program)
|The Unforgettable Jim Reeves Live CD
with songs that he recorded with
The Nashville Symphony Orchestra
at Centennial Park on August 16, 1961
|Pat Boone was born in 1934, and grew up in Nashville.
He sold more records than any other artist except Elvis
Presley in the 1950's. From 1955 to date (1986), only six
artists (Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Stevie
Wonder, Elton John & James Brown) are ranked above
him in total single sales and their relative chart positions.
He had a total of 60 hits
|Jim Reeves only performance with an orchestra.
He was an international star, known all over the
world. Jim Reeves died in a plane that he was
piloting near Nashville on July 31, 1964
|For 32 years the sound of music filled Centennial Park
on summer Sunday afternoons.
On July 25, 1937, electric organist Leon Cole stepped
out on Centennial Parks's bandshell stage and
introduced himself to a handful of Nashvillians who
were scattered on the lawn.
It was Cole's idea to offer the city a free outdoor
summer concert. The idea worked and concert
attendance grew in the following weeks.
At Cole's request the Tennessean's new publisher,
Silliman Evans Sr., agreed that his paper would sponsor
In those early years, the concerts featured mostly
community singers and amatuer musicians, but they
sometimes shaded the stage with better-known
Following World War II, the park concerts began
attracting well-known stars as Nashville became a major
recording center. Nashville jeweler Fred Waller became
the master of ceremonies. He was succeeded by
Tennessean staff columnists Bill Maples and Elmer
The featured performers read, like a Who's Who of
popular and country music. The entertainers included:
Minnie Pearl, Roger Miller, Tex Ritter, Chet Adkins,
Brenda Lee, The Jordanaires, The Everly Brothers,
Mother Maybelle and the Carter Family, Bill Monroe,
Ray Stevens, Eddy Arnold, Ernest Tubb, Marty Robbins,
Boots Randolph and many others.
Dozens of talented young artists got their start at the
park's bandshell and went on to various degrees of
success in show business. The most successful of the
young amateurs was Pat Boone. Both Pat and his wife,
the former Miss Shirley Foley (daughter of country star
Red Foley), were named "Discoveries of the Week" in
the early 1950's. In those years Pat's voice was heard by
thousands of concert goers.
Today he is back to sing and relive the old fashioned
family entertainment that took place from 1937
through 1968 at Centennial Park.
by Pat Adams
|TENNESSEE CONCERTS SEARCH ENGINE
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|Nashville's Centennial Park
including the Parthenon
|Coming to the Parthenon in May of 2020
Music In The Park 1897-2019
An exhibit that explores the history of music in Centennial Park.
See archives, photographs and other memorabilia related to live music in the park.
|Leon Cole was the Electric Organist in the park from 1937-1968 at the Summer Sunday Concerts
The Parthenon is looking for any information on the late Leon Cole, or how to contact his family members.
If you have any information on Leon Cole or items listed below, contact Mark Medley at the Parthenon.
Mark Medley, Asst.Curator/Registrar, The Parthenon Museum
Coming: May of 2020
Nashville’s Centennial Park has a historic association with many styles of music.
In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the park’s live music series Musician’s Corner,
this exhibit will present artifacts, photographs, and recordings documenting the history of music,
musicians, live performance, and related popular culture in and about Centennial Park
from the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition to contemporary times.
|For 32 years the sound of
music filled Centennial Park on
summer Sunday afternoons.
On July 25, 1937, electric
organist Leon Cole stepped
out on Centennial Parks's
bandshell stage and introduced
himself to a handful of
Nashvillians who were
scattered on the lawn.
It was Cole's idea to offer the
city a free outdoor summer
concert. The idea worked and
concert attendance grew in the
following weeks. At Cole's
request the Tennessean's new
publisher, Silliman Evans Sr.,
agreed that his paper
would sponsor the event.
(See the full story below)
|This is from the Pat Boone
Tennessee Homecoming '86
|Rock 'n' Roll Hall
Groovin' on a
|Bands that played at the WMAK Music Festvals include: Roy Orbison, Still Mill (with Bruce
Springsteen), Bobby Goldsboro, Tony Joe White, B.J. Thomas, Lou Christie, The Cascades,
Grand Funk Railroad, The Neon Philharmonic, The Rugbys, Oliver, Buzz Cason, Bobby Russell,
Clifford Curry, Jeannie C. Riley, Robin McNamara, Bian Hyland, Bobby Bloom, The Box Tops,
Jimmy Buffett & The White Duck, Big Brother, The Exiles, Ronnie Milsap and many more.
|1961: Jim Reeves at Centennial Park
|August 16, 1961: Jim Reeves played an
evening concert at Nashville's Centennial Park
in his only appearance with a symphony.
"Some enchanted evening, under a star-studded and
moonlight August sky, a very rare musical event took
place that had never happened before and would
never happen again. Jim Reeves, the ex-baseball
player-turned-disc jockey and then worldwide
singing star, donned a tuxedo with tails to join a
group of 56 musicians for an outdoor concert
in Nashville's Centennial Park."
Three years later he died in a plane crash
near the Brentwood/Nashville line.