When Calvin Gilmore visits Nashville these days, it is with a feeling of sweet satisfaction. Calvin was there before, in 1967, as an aspiring young singersongwriter. I was pretty naive, he says. Nowadays, Calvin’s visits to Nashville are more productive. The Ozarks Mountain farm boy who grew up singing in church is now recording a gospel album and oversees the largest live country music enterprise on the East Coast. In 1986, Calvin Gilmore brought a new sound to the beach, The Carolina Opry. It started in a modest 1,000-seat theater in Surfside Beach. That sound grew and grew until shows were sold out night after night. So he started a second show in North Myrtle Beach, The Dixie Jubilee. It too sold out night after night until 1993, when he built a 2,200-seat, state-of-the-art showplace and brought together the best of both shows to create the ultimate show of shows for Myrtle Beach The Carolina Opry. The ONLY show to win the coveted Governor’s Cup, the state’s highest tourism award.
The only show to be voted the state’s Most Outstanding Attraction by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. And the only show to win accolades from USA Today, who calls it a “Big Hit.” The New York Post labeled it “A Hot Ticket.” The Hollywood Reporter headlines Myrtle Beach as “Calvin Gilmore’s Country Mecca.” Variety Magazine says,”Myrtle Beach has Calvin Gilmore to thank.” NBC Nightly News says, “Calvin Gilmore is the man who is turning Myrtle Beach into a country music capital.” CNN says, “Calvin Gilmore is given much of the credit for getting Myrtle Beach in tune with the entertainment world.” The Charlotte Observer writes that The Carolina Opry “sets the standard.” And in Sun News Readers’ Polls, The Carolina Opry is voted “The Best of the Beach” year after year. And we hope you will call it the highlight of your visit to the beach.
Through the company’s 3 decades, Calvin has produced and directed many different production shows in several different theaters. The company has expanded into the fields of recording, television production, print media, and artist management. What does the boy from Missouri think of it all? “Of course, I’m happy,” he says. “But the best part of all is that I get to be with my family and still sing my songs. That’s whatI always wanted.”