While waiting for that new concert hall to open in 2006, don't miss the Nashville Symphony's ongoing season at TPAC. One of the most exotic programs on the spring bill - directed by longtime symphony music director Kenneth Schermerhorn for whom the new hall is being named - arrives in March. Soprano Rosana Lamosa and pianist José Feghali join the maestro for two programs of music including the ravishing, rain forest evocations of Heitor Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras. In May, pianist Jon Kimura Parker is the guest for Sergei Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini followed by Gustav Mahler's towering Symphony No. 1 in D major, the Titan.

And hey, cousin, the Grand Ole Opry is still very much in business, right across the square. Check ahead at www.opry.com to see what's playing.

Santa Cruz, California
Shakespeare festivals pop up like mushrooms in the summer, most bowing to the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park in New York and Ontario's Stratford Festival as twin-peak pinnacles of such efforts. One warm-weather Bard-bash that may be less known than it should be, though, is Shakespeare Santa Cruz, led by Artistic Director (and formidable actor) Paul Whitworth. This year's performances under the towering redwoods of the troupe's exotic outdoor Festival Glen run from July 21 through August 29 and will feature one Shakespeare production, The Taming of the Shrew, and one non-Shakespearean offering, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Santa Cruz is hardly all theater - the Santa Cruz County Symphony, for example, plays Antonin Dvorák's beautiful Stabat Mater on May Day this year.

And look, you want real culture, dude? Check out the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum at the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse on West Cliff Drive. Monterey Bay looks its best from the spot, and inside you can peruse close to a century of surfing images and artifacts.