Grant Mitchell

Historic. It’s a word we use when we’re talking about a place or thing that made a gigantic impact in the days of old, helping to, in part, shape our world and society today.

It also usually applies to things that used to be relevant but have now faded to the circles of historical conversations and out of present-day relevance and popularity.

For mullets, perms, shoulder pad suits and brick cell phones, this is the case.

But for the iconic Tennessee Theatre, located at 604 S Gay St, Knoxville, TN 37902, relevance and desire to attend the culture rich architectural gem of Knoxville has only grown stronger through its near century of existence.

The theatre was built back in 1928 during the days of endless parties on the gold gilded 1920s streets and immediately before it all came to a crashing halt in the 1930s within the depression era America.

Originally used as a “movie palace” for the first several decades of its life, The Tennessee Theatre began to be used as a multipurpose event center. Becoming a touring destination and classically beautiful venue any and all artists desire to perform at.

Hosting artists like Bob Dylan, ZZ Top, Tom Jones, Willie Nelson, John Legend and so many others, The Tennessee Theatre has endeared itself to the modern audiences and artists alike with its unique beauty and history of hosting the best performers of today’s and yesterday’s fame.

I myself remember countless experiences at The Tennessee Theatre.

Namely, attending orchestral performances put on by our Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the countless acclaimed musicians they have had perform alongside with them.

In fact, one of the few fond memories I have from middle school is that of my orchestra teacher Mr. Daniel Thompson. A graduate of Julliard and a bassist for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Thompson introduced all of us adolescents to the magic and grandeur of The Tennessee Theatre.

What Mr. Thompson would do was acquire a large total of tickets for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and give them to students and families. Allowing us an opportunity to enjoy the historic venue that we wouldn’t normally have had.

From this, my family and I were able to drink in the performances of professional musicians in an utterly gorgeous and beautiful place, The Tennessee Theatre.

And boy do the memories of The Tennessee Theatre remain as fresh and vivid in my mind as anything else I have experienced.

The seats are of a red velvet composition, and the interior of the theatre harkens back to a grandeur and nobility of some far-off place in a time that has long since passed that hosted socialites and dignitaries of long ago.  

The ceiling has a European-style design with colors of light blue and gold.

If I were to compare the design and artistry of The Tennessee Theatre to anything, I would say that it looks like what I imagine the interior of a Fabergé egg would look like.

While the gorgeous designs can be imposing as the beauty and regality of the place is so great, it is the perfect housing for any and all cultural events for not only a southeastern area, but for any location in the world.

I look forward to someday being able to throw on my best bib and tucker and attend this monolithic beauty once more.

Grant Mitchell is a junior majoring in public relations. He can be reached at gmitch16@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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