Circle Guard

The Circle Guard unites and celebrates individuals whose highest-level contributions of time, talent, and treasure to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum safeguard the integrity of country music and make it accessible to a global audience through the museum. Initiation into the Circle Guard ranks as the grandest distinction afforded to those whose unwavering commitment to the museum protects the legacies of the members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and, by extension, the time-honored achievements of all who are part of the country music story.

Circle Guard initiates perpetuate Country Music Hall of Fame members’ esteem and celebrate their contributions to American cultural history. Each year, for the two weeks leading up to the Medallion Ceremony, which is the formal induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame for its three newest members, the Circle Guard conducts the Road to the Hall of Fame: Rite of Remembrance and Salute, which honors each Hall of Fame member who preceded this latest class. Circle Guard initiates also advance Hall of Fame members’ procession into the museum’s CMA Theater to commence the Medallion Ceremony.

Circle Guard Members

Steve Turner, Founder

Kyle Young, Commander General

David Conrad

Bill Denny

Ken Levitan

Mary Ann McCready

Mike Milom

Ken Roberts (12/12/1932 – 12/2/2022)

Seab Tuck

Jerry B. Williams

Ceremonial Stole

During the annual Road to the Hall of Fame: Rite of Remembrance and Salute, Circle Guard initiates wear formal garb. The focal point of these garments is the Ceremonial Stole, which was designed by couturier Sandi Spika Borchetta to be worn by Circle Guard initiates when conducting the Road to the Hall of Fame.

The front side of the Ceremonial Stole is rich in country music symbolism. Embroidered along the wearer’s right side are the Latin words “Musica Rustica Movet,” translating to ‘Country Music Rocks.” Below this, elaborately-beaded forget-me-nots flank music notes that represent the song “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” in C, which is the anthem of the Country Music Hall of Fame and is also inscribed on the interior of the museum’s Hall of Fame Rotunda.

On the wearer’s left side, strong roots at the base form into guitar strings, encouraging the remembrance of our musical heritage and culminating in the logo of the Circle Guard. The top of this logo forms a point, reminiscent of the WSM radio tower, whose 50,000-watt signal carries country music and its message far and wide.

The reverse side of the Ceremonial Stole presents a collection of colorful fabrics and ornate beadwork, referencing the beauty and humility of Dolly Parton’s quilted “Coat of Many Colors” and celebrating the diversity and glamour of modern-era country music artists. Each piece of fabric is a swatch from a garment that Sandi Spika Borchetta created for artists, ranging from Taylor Swift’s dress from the “Love Story” music video and Reba McEntire’s legendary red dress worn at the 1993 CMA Awards, to Trisha Yearwood’s wedding dress and performance wear worn by Randy Travis.

Throughout the month of October, the Ceremonial Stole is on display at the top of the museum’s Grand Staircase, just outside the Hall of Fame Rotunda. During the Road to the Hall of Fame: Rite of Remembrance and Salute, Circle Guard initiates remove the Ceremonial Stole from its case, and the Master of Ceremonies wears it while conducting the ritual in the Rotunda.

Sandi Spika Borchetta also created the ornately-beaded book from which the Master of Ceremonies reads biographies of every Hall of Fame Member, the black sashes worn by assisting Circle Guard initiates, and the swags which adorn the plaques of the Hall of Fame members whose biographies are read during the Road to the Hall of Fame: Rite of Remembrance and Salute.

The Rite of Remembrance and Salute

On Sunday, October 16, 2022, three new members of the Country Music Hall of Fame will be formally inducted, receiving country music’s highest honor during the Medallion Ceremony. For the two weeks leading up to their Medallion Ceremony, initiates of the Museum’s Circle Guard conduct the Road to the Hall of Fame: Rite of Remembrance and Salute. This daily ceremony, hosted in the Museum’s Hall of Fame Rotunda at 1:00 p.m., honors all of the Country Music Hall of Fame members who have come before this newest class. The Circle Guard shares each Hall of Fame member’s biography in the order of their induction, from 1961 through present day. For these events, the Circle Guard wears ceremonial garb designed by couturier Sandi Spika Borchetta, and the plaques of the Hall of Fame members being celebrated are illuminated and adorned for emphasis.

2023 Circle Guard Presentation Schedule

The Road to the Hall of Fame: Rite of Remembrance and Salute will be conducted daily at 1:00 p.m.—from Sunday, October 8 to Saturday, October 21, 2023—in the Museum’s Hall of Fame Rotunda.

Sunday, October 8:
Class of 1961-1966

  • Jimmie Rodgers
  • Fred Rose
  • Hank Williams
  • Roy Acuff
  • Tex Ritter
  • Ernest Tubb
  • Eddy Arnold
  • James R. Denny
  • George D. Hay
  • Uncle Dave Macon

Monday, October 9:
Class of 1967-1973

  • Red Foley
  • J.L. “Joe” Frank
  • Jim Reeves
  • Stephen H. Sholes
  • Bob Wills
  • Gene Autry
  • Bill Monroe
  • Original Carter Family
  • Arthur Edward Satherly
  • Jimmie Davis
  • Chet Atkins
  • Patsy Cline

Tuesday, October 10:
Class of 1974-1979

  • Owen Bradley
  • Frank “Pee Wee” King
  • Minnie Pearl
  • Paul Cohen
  • Kitty Wells
  • Merle Travis
  • Grandpa Jones
  • Hubert Long
  • Hank Snow

Wednesday, October 11:
Class of 1980-1984

  • Johnny Cash
  • Connie B. Gay
  • Original Sons of the Pioneers
  • Vernon Dalhart
  • Grant Turner
  • Lefty Frizzell
  • Roy Horton
  • Marty Robbins
  • Little Jimmy Dickens
  • Ralph S. Peer
  • Floyd Tillman

Thursday, October 12:
Class of 1985-1991

  • Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs
  • The Duke of Paducah
  • Wesley H. Rose
  • Rod Brasfield
  • Loretta Lynn
  • Roy Rogers
  • Jack Stapp
  • Cliffie Stone
  • Hank Thompson
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford
  • Boudleaux and Felice Bryant

Friday, October 13:
Class of 1992-1997

  • George Jones
  • Frances Preston
  • Willie Nelson
  • Merle Haggard
  • Roger Miller
  • Jo Walker-Meador
  • Patsy Montana
  • Buck Owens
  • Ray Price
  • Harlan Howard
  • Brenda Lee
  • Cindy Walker

Saturday, October 14:
Class of 1998-2000

  • George Morgan
  • Elvis Presley
  • E.W. “Bud” Wendell
  • Tammy Wynette
  • Johnny Bond
  • Dolly Parton
  • Conway Twitty
  • Charley Pride
  • Faron Young

Sunday, October 15:
Class of 2001

  • Bill Anderson
  • The Delmore Brothers
  • The Everly Brothers
  • Don Gibson
  • Homer & Jethro
  • Waylon Jennings
  • The Jordanaires
  • Don Law
  • The Louvin Brothers
  • Ken Nelson
  • Sam Phillips
  • Webb Pierce

Monday, October 16:
Class of 2002-2005

  • Bill Carlisle
  • Porter Wagoner
  • Floyd Cramer
  • Carl Smith
  • Jim Foglesong
  • Kris Kristofferson
  • Alabama
  • DeFord Bailey
  • Glen Campbell

Tuesday, October 17:
Class of 2006-2008

  • Harold Bradley
  • Sonny James
  • George Strait
  • Ralph Emery
  • Vince Gill
  • Mel Tillis
  • Tom T. Hall
  • Emmylou Harris
  • The Statler Brothers
  • Ernest V. “Pop” Stoneman

Wednesday, October 18:
Class of 2009-2011

  • Roy Clark
  • Barbara Mandrell
  • Charlie McCoy
  • Jimmy Dean
  • Ferlin Husky
  • Billy Sherrill
  • Don Williams
  • Bobby Braddock
  • Reba McEntire
  • Jean Shepard

Thursday, October 19:
Class of 2012-2015

  • Garth Brooks
  • Hargus “Pig” Robbins
  • Connie Smith
  • Bobby Bare
  • Cowboy Jack Clement
  • Kenny Rogers
  • Hank Cochran
  • Ronnie Milsap
  • Mac Wiseman
  • Jim Ed Brown & The Browns
  • Grady Martin
  • The Oak Ridge Boys

Friday, October 20:
Class of 2016-2019

  • Charlie Daniels
  • Fred Foster
  • Randy Travis
  • Alan Jackson
  • Jerry Reed
  • Don Schlitz
  • Johnny Gimble
  • Ricky Skaggs
  • Dottie West
  • Jerry Bradley
  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Ray Stevens

Saturday, October 21:
Class of 2020-2022

  • Dean Dillon
  • Marty Stuart
  • Hank Williams Jr.
  • Eddie Bayers
  • Ray Charles
  • Pete Drake
  • The Judds
  • Joe Galante
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Keith Whitley

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