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On May 3, 2010, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center was flooded with 71 million gallons of water. After a $200 million restoration and renovation, the resort prepared to host hundreds of meeting planners and travel industry executives for its Grand Reopening in November.

Corporate Magic was hired to plan and produce a three-day extravaganza that would leave no doubt that Gaylord Opryland was back…bigger, better, and greater than ever. “The entire event needed to radiate confidence,” said Jim Kirk, Corporate Magic president and chief creative officer. “Everything needed to be fantastic, a significant cut above.”

With just 90 days to prepare, Corporate Magic assembled a team of the best talent in the industry to brainstorm production concepts that would drive home the central message for several critical audiences, including travel industry VIPs, international media, state and local dignitaries, and the proud citizens of the flood-ravaged city.

The Opening Ceremony was set on a massive outdoor stage, with elaborate lighting and three LED screens as backdrops. As crowds gathered, a live Twitter board flashed updates while Christmas music filled the air.

Throughout the show, the 13’ by 13’ LEDs rolled up like window shades to allow performers, including the Radio City Rockettes, to enter the stage. During the finale, the screens rolled up completely to provide an unobstructed view of the hotel in the background.

Two million twinkling lights in surrounding trees were flipped on in sync with the 30’ Christmas tree. Then Santa arrived atop an elevated float and, with a flourish, aimed his giant candy cane at the hotel. A ball of flame burst forth and flew towards the hotel, and the entire area erupted into brilliant light and fireworks. The Gaylord Opryland was back indeed!

The next day’s show was equally magnificent. Corporate Magic assembled a massive tiered stage consisting of a circular floor platform, mid-level tiers for a full orchestra and cast members, and a speaker’s podium crowning the top. The centerpiece was a 20’ cylindrical LED screen that displayed stunning visual images and was raised and lowered by five motors to provide entry for the performers.

Original music composed by Corporate Magic powered elaborate production numbers that paid tribute to the hotel and its employees, while celebrating the resilience of Nashville itself. A gospel choir added inspiration, and a soloist rose 22’ into the air as the flood story was recounted in chilling detail.

For the finale, aerial performers with flames shooting from their bodies made dramatic entrances as uniformed Gaylord employees. They were joined on-stage by break dancers, flame throwers, and the full cast as fireworks exploded inside the Delta atrium. Gaylord Entertainment CEO Colin Reed later wrote Jim Kirk: “The precision of the event was flawless, the creativity was magical, and the execution could not have been better! I have received rave review after review, and I am so glad we chose you and your company as a partner for the three-day event. Thanks...you are the best.”

Creative Team
Jim Kirk, Chief Creative/Executive Producer
Stephen Dahlem, Senior Creative Director
Steve Evans, Executive Producer
Brian Greenway, Event Director
Steve Dumbacher, Technical Director
Joe West, Lighting Design
Tim Smith, Bruce Wermuth, Musical Direction
Alford Media, Audio Design
Jamie Smith, Pyrotechnical Designs
GoVision, LED Screens

Stage Technologies Equipment
3 Pix2o Skyroll LED Walls
74 Daktronics PST-12 HD Panels
162 Panels WinVision 1875
WinVision Master Control Unit
240 Tiles of 24mm Barco MiTrix
24 Barco OLite LED Controllers
Barco Folsom ImagePro HD
GVG Infinity Multi-format Camera System

Lighting Equipment
Lighting Console: Barco High End Systems Wholehog 3
Dimmer: 48 x 2.4K
Martin Professional MAC 2000 Performance
Philips Vari-Lite VL2500 Spot