In 97 years of the Grand Ole Opry, nobody has performed more times on the show than Jeannie Seely. The 82 year old has just celebrated her 55th anniversary of being an Opry member and still regularly performs at the home of country music, taking her tally of appearances to over 5000! Whereas most artists grow up wanting to play music somewhere, anywhere, Seely always knew she wanted to be a part of the Grand Ole Opry family “I was eight years old and I knew that’s what I wanted to do, I want to be at the Opry. That was my goal.”
“It always has been a way of life for me as far back as I can remember when I was a kid,” Seely continues, an audible smile creeping across her face as she reflects. “That’s what we looked forward to all week, was to listen to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night.” Seely was born and raised in Pennsylvania and every weekend, the family would stop at nothing to tune in to the Grand Ole Opry, “Sometimes, with the weather not being just right, the static would take over and you couldn’t hear very well. So my dad always made sure the car battery was charged up so that if we couldn’t get it in the house, we’d go out to the car, and if we still didn’t get it, we’ve been known to all pile in and drive up to the top of the hill where we could hear,” Seely laughs.
What drew Seely in was, not only the music, but the sense of community that the Opry fostered. “I always loved hearing that rapport between Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff and [Little] Jimmy Dickens. They all sounded like they liked each other so much and were having fun, so I wanted to be a part of that family as well.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN THE LATEST ISSUE OF MAVERICK AVAILABLE HERE!
Zoe Hodges, Editor