In support of the exhibition Bill Anderson: As Far as I Can See, Country Music Hall of Fame member “Whisperin’ Bill” Anderson and longtime Grand Ole Opry colleagues Jeannie Seely, Country Music Hall of Fame member E. W. “Bud” Wendell and Mark Wills will come together for an intimate conversation about the Opry and Anderson’s long, storied association with the show. The museum’s senior director of editorial and interpretation, Paul Kingsbury, will host the program on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 2:30 p.m. in the museum’s Ford Theater. The program is included with museum admission.
As of July 2023, Anderson has the longest tenure of any cast member in the Grand Ole Opry’s history — 62 years. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame since 2001, he has had more than 80 hit singles on the country charts as a recording artist and has written hits for a wide range of artists, including James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Country Music Hall of Fame members the Louvin Brothers, Willie Nelson, Charley Pride, Connie Smith and George Strait.
Seely, who has been with the Opry 56 years, is a Grammy-winning artist with more than two dozen chart hits and hosts “Sundays with Seely” on SiriusXM radio. Wendell, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame since 1998, served as the Grand Ole Opry’s manager from 1968 to 1974 and later as CEO of the radio station WSM and then Gaylord Entertainment. Wills earned his first #1 hit in 1999 with a Bill Anderson song (“Wish You Were Here”) and has been an Opry cast member since 2019.
Visitors to the museum will have through Sunday, Sept. 24, to see Bill Anderson: As Far as I Can See. The exhibit traces Anderson’s story from childhood to his days in Georgia, where he excelled as a baseball pitcher and sportswriter while in high school and a disc jockey in college, through his contributions as one of the most decorated recording artists, songwriters and entertainers in history. Items featured in the exhibit include historic photographs, treasured keepsakes, instruments, manuscripts and more.