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THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2007
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Her name is DiVine, and this 7-foot character performer entwined with grapevines impersonates the greenery winding its way through the indoor gardens at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville.
Daily photo by Patrice Stewart
Her name is DiVine, and this 7-foot character performer entwined with grapevines impersonates the greenery winding its way through the indoor gardens at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville.

Artists go Green at Summerfest
Hydroponix and DiVine bring a touch of ‘New Age’ nature to performance

By Patrice Stewart
pstewart@decaturdaily.com · 340-2446

NASHVILLE — Imagine a green-clad musician putting out a cacophony of sounds while standing on a giant green lily pad with pink blossoms.

Crowds gather to watch these musical plants, as well as a "living vine" on stilts that winds her way snake-like around lampposts and columns.

The faces of those playing flute, saxophone, drums, keyboard, bass guitar and more are tinted green to match their leafy outfits and headgear.

They're quite suited for a greenhouse or conservatory filled with plants, and that's exactly where they are playing this summer.

Hydroponix is the funky new six-member band playing in the Cascades Atrium for the Summerfest celebration of Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville.

Their original music isn't exactly the typical country music sound of Nashville, but you'll be fascinated by this living garden band appearing on lily pads. You can catch Hydroponix at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays through Sept. 29.

"Hydroponix is a little New Age, a little Las Vegas and very cool," said Arthur Keith, the resort's senior vice president and general manager. "The band's outrageous costumes make them look like living plants, and their music creates the perfect ambiance in the waterfall setting of our Cascades Atrium."

You'll have to look closely to detect DiVine. The character performer who is a fascinating combination of vine and actress is elusive because she blends so well with the many cascading green plants in the acres of flowers and plants under glass. Check the Delta Atrium on Thursday through Monday afternoons for a 7-foot vine that suddenly begins to move gracefully.

Hydroponix, DiVine and the cool "Aqua!" choreographed water, music and light shows each evening at 6:30, 8 and 9:30 in the Delta Atrium, are free to watch for the $12 daily parking fee. The Summerfest celebration also includes some new events requiring admission.

Songwriters Under the Stars every Friday evening from 8 to 10 outside at Opryland's Woodlands outdoor performance area (free on the lawn and $5 for preferred seating) will give visitors a chance to hear new work by some of Nashville's rising talent, as will the Music City Hitmakers July 20-22.

To hear the original Nashville sound, visit the Grand Ole Opry, which has shows Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights this summer (see www.opry.com). On Saturdays from 5:30 to 10 p.m. through July 28, some of the area's favorite performers will be at the free Opry Plaza Parties.

Celebrity Chef classes are Saturdays at 3 p.m. Cooking Under Glass classes by hotel chefs are planned all summer, with a barbecue competition Sept. 28-29 and a Southern Gospel Festival Sept. 1-3.

To catch a breeze, try an indoor cruise around the resort on a Delta River Flatboat, or a cruise down the Cumberland River on the 300-foot paddlewheeler, the General Jackson Showboat. Choose the Southern buffet with country music entertainment or a three-course dinner with Broadway show tunes.

Indoor garden tours highlighting some of the 60,000 plants are scheduled every Saturday afternoon at 1:30, while Tennessee Walking Horse demonstrations are planned on the lawn June 23, July 28, Aug. 18 and Oct. 13.

All 2,881 hotel rooms and 600,000 square feet of meeting space are now nonsmoking, along with lounges and public spaces, and more changes are ahead.

Hydroponix is not the only new addition at Opryland. A new nightclub and a wine bar are planned, and several new restaurants are coming this fall, such as a Mexican cantina, Paisano's with Tuscan-style pizza, Stax where you can build your own burger, and Water's Edge marketplace with a buffet of global flavors.

You can relax with other flavors in the Relache Spa, where offerings include the Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams package of massages, pedicures and hair and facial treatments, as well as others.

Along with $125 million in hotel improvements and modernizations, a planned $400 million expansion will include the addition of 400 two-room suites, plus more meeting space.

"You could say that we are moving from a Minnie Pearl type image toward one more like that of Halle Berry," Keith said. "We love them both, but we are becoming more modern and contemporary."

For details, including Summerfest packages, call (888) 999-OPRY or check www.gaylordhotels.com.

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