New Hall of Fame Opens in Style

This appeared in The Tennessean - May 13, 2001

Thursday morning, the new Country Music Hall of Fame celebrates its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tributes, music and appearances by some of the genre's living legends.

George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Earl Scruggs and Vestal Goodman of the Happy Goodman Family are among those who will perform at the ceremony.

The proceedings begin at 9 a.m., when the Grand Ole Opry Band performs musical salutes to Hall of Fame members. At the same time, a jumbotron screen will monitor a motorcade that will take post-1974 Grand Ole Opry inductees from the Grand Ole Opry House to Ryman Auditorium, where they will meet up with most of the pre-1974 inductees.

Grand Ole Opry stars confirmed for the ceremony include Harris, Joe Diffie, Steve Gatlin, Vince Gill, Hal Ketchum, Martina McBride, Mel McDaniel, Brad Paisley, Riders in the Sky, Ricky Skaggs, the Melvin Sloan Dancers, Ralph Stanley, Marty Stuart, Trisha Yearwood, Bill Anderson, Hank Locklin, Charlie Louvin, Jimmy C. Newman, Stu Phillips, Del Reeves, Porter Wagoner, Billy Walker and Charlie Walker.

Led by a color guard, the Opry stars will walk from the Ryman to the Hall's new location at Fifth and Demonbreun. They will carry a vintage 650 WSM table microphone from the collection of Hall of Famer Roy Acuff. The microphone will later be displayed in the new museum.

After the Opry procession arrives, spectators will watch as Otha Turner's Fife and Drum Band leads the way as Country Music Hall of Famers arrive in limousines from the old Hall of Fame, among them Little Jimmy Dickens, George Jones, Earl Scruggs, Kitty Wells, Roy Horton, E.W. ''Bud'' Wendell, Charley Pride, Brenda Lee and Jo Walker-Meador. The Hall of Famers will carry with them the last artifact to go in the museum, Mother Maybelle Carter's Gibson L-5 guitar.

A 45-minute formal ceremony beings at 10 a.m., with participants including Jones, Pride, Wells, Goodman, Scruggs, Harris, Wendell, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist, Metro Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, NEA Chairman Bill Ivey and other luminaries.

Beginning at 11:30 a.m., the museum will open to the public. On Thursday, the Hall will not charge an admission fee. Watch for news releases about street closings and timed admission tickets.

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