A high note in Southern gospel music was hit this weekend when a museum devoted to that tradition opened at Dolly Parton's Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
The Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Museum showcases 41 performers in the church-music genre, which dates to the early years of this century and initially featured mostly white male quartets singing in multipart harmony. It has since expanded to include women, people of color and other formats, such as soloists and trios. Probably the best-known current practitioner is Grammy-winner Bill Gaither.
The museum includes early performers' programs, contemporary videos, a reproduction of a "small country church" with a singing quartet, interactive kiosks and even a studio where visitors can record their own singing efforts, said spokeswoman Ellen Liston. Also new at the park: the 63-mph Tennessee Tornado roller coaster, which turns riders upside-down and hurtles them through a mountain and spiral loops. Both attractions are included in park admission, which is $33.15 for adults, $23.20 ages 4 to 11, and free under 4. Information: telephone (423) 428-9488.