The doors opened. The crowd rushed in, quickly taking the nearest seat in the intimate concert hall. Waves of anticipation swept through the audience, one after another. Everyone chanted for the guest of honor. You could feel the excitement in the air. And then… the hall went dark, the strumming of guitar strings slowly filled the room and then a spotlight appeared center stage. The time had arrived for what would be an ANC Final Event like no other and the historic Grand Ole Opry had never seen an audience quite like this—a hall filled with boisterous and energetic school nutrition professionals ready to celebrate and unwind after four days of learning and networking.
The night’s performer, country superstar Alan Jackson, certainly picked up on the energy in the room, even stopping to comment after the first song on what a lively crowd these school nutrition folks were. He continued, “I know why they wanted me to come and sing at this thing, ‘cause my momma… she was a dietician in the cafeteria at the elementary school.” He added, “I appreciate y’all for inviting me to come sing tonight. We just do ole country music and songs about life, love, having fun and heartache, and hopefully I’ll play something y’all like, recognize or enjoyed over the years and just have a good time.” Jackson did not disappoint, playing all his well-known favorites, including the upbeat “Little Bitty,” “Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” and “Chattahoochee,” as well as his heartfelt ballads “Remember When,” “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” and “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).”
From the very first song to the time the lights went up, the Final Event was absolutely and undeniably a “Good Time” for all in attendance, and it was a fantastic and memorable way to end yet another great ANC.
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