Celebrating the Centennial: A Unique Tribute to Chet Atkins by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Ballet

Honoring a Legacy Through Art

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – June 20, 2024 – The Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Ballet have come together to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary Country Music Hall of Fame member Chet Atkins. They released an original ballet performance set to Atkins’ recording of the “Jitterbug Waltz” on YouTube today. This collaboration between two renowned nonprofit organizations is a fitting tribute to Atkins’ enduring influence on American music and culture.

A Mesmerizing Performance

The three-minute video showcases a beautifully curated ballet by Nashville Ballet dancers Cassandra Thoms and Shaiya Donohue. The choreography is set to Atkins’ 1959 guitar rendition of the “Jitterbug Waltz” from his album *Chet Atkins in Hollywood*. The performance, choreographed and co-directed by Nashville Ballet Artistic Director and CEO Nick Mullikin, was filmed in the Hall of Fame Rotunda at the Country Music Hall of Fame. This iconic location, home to the bronze plaques of Hall of Fame members and Thomas Hart Benton’s mural “The Sources of Country Music,” provides a stunning backdrop for the dance. The dancers’ costumes pay homage to the figures in Benton’s painting, further connecting the performance to the rich heritage of country music.

A Vision Realized

David Conrad, a museum trustee and mentee of Chet Atkins, envisioned the video performance. The video also features Atkins’ 1954 Standel 25L15 amplifier and a Gretsch Streamliner Special 6120 guitar model, which he helped design.

“Chet Atkins and his fellow members of the Country Music Hall of Fame’s indelible impact on American culture continues to inspire new generations of creators,” said Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “In celebration of the centennial anniversary of Chet’s birth, we are honored to partner with the Nashville Ballet to showcase Chet’s enduring music and deserved recognition among the greatest guitarists of all time while uplifting the creativity and collaboration within Nashville’s nonprofit arts community.”

A Community Effort

The project is underwritten by David and Karen Conrad, with additional support from Metro Arts and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

“It’s a true honor to create a special piece of work for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to celebrate Chet Atkins,” said Nick Mullikin. “The opportunity to bring our two organizations together for this one-of-a-kind performance event not only exemplifies our commitment to excellence in the arts community but also honors the heritage of Music City.”

About Chet Atkins

Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973, Chet Atkins was a pioneering musician whose innovative style and contributions helped shape the Nashville Sound. Learning guitar and fiddle as a child, he was deeply influenced by Merle Travis’ thumb-and-finger picking technique, which he adapted into his unique style. His career took off when he signed with RCA Victor in 1947 and became a mainstay on the Grand Ole Opry.

Atkins was part of Nashville’s early “A-Team” of session musicians and recorded with numerous legendary artists, including Hank Williams and the Everly Brothers. He became a key figure at RCA’s Nashville studios in 1955, eventually rising to vice president. Atkins produced many successful acts, including Eddy Arnold, Skeeter Davis, and Floyd Cramer, and played a significant role in developing the Nashville Sound, blending country with pop influences.

Atkins received numerous accolades throughout his career, including eleven Country Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and fifteen Grammy Awards. His legacy continues to inspire musicians and artists worldwide.

For more information on Chet Atkins’ life and career, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame’s website.

This centennial celebration honors Chet Atkins’s memory and highlights Nashville’s vibrant arts community. Through this unique collaboration, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Ballet have created a lasting tribute that resonates with the spirit of innovation and creativity that Chet Atkins embodied.


Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum:

Aubrey Miller – 615-416-2098   


Nashville Ballet:

Kim Dettwiller Burton – 615-330-5656

Tresa Halbrooks – 615-669-6058


Media Website: 


About the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum:

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum collects, preserves and interprets country music and its history for the education and entertainment of diverse audiences. In exhibitions, publications, digital media and educational programs, the museum explores the cultural importance and enduring beauty of the art form. The museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and is among the most-visited history museums in the U.S. The Country Music Foundation operates Historic RCA Studio B®, Hatch Show Print® poster shop, CMF Records, the Frist Library and Archive and CMF Press. Museum programs are supported in part by Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and Tennessee Arts Commission.

More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is available at www.countrymusichalloffame.org or by calling (615) 416-2001.

About the Nashville Ballet:

Nashville Ballet, the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee, presents a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, including original works by Artistic Director and CEO Nick Mullikin and other guest artists. 

Nashville Ballet has announced its 2024-25 season lineup that includes the beloved classics like Dracula with George Balanchine’s Serenade, Nashville’s Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty, all choreographed by Artistic Director Emeritus Paul Vasterling.  Season ticket holders’ support helps to sustain Nashville Ballet’s artistic and educational excellence, accessible arts education to children and adults throughout the Nashville area and beyond, contributing to the city’s vibrant arts and cultural landscape. Season tickets and packages including select performances are on sale now for purchase, with single ticket sales for Nashville’s Nutcracker beginning in July and all other shows August 5. Tickets are available through NashvilleBallet.com or by calling 615-297-2966 ext. 710.

NFM Staff
Author: NFM Staff

Nashville’s go-to resource for all things Fitness, Health and Wellness in Music City. We’re a social and editorial platform dedicated to amplifying community events, exchanging meaningful dialogue through user generated content and sharing authentic stories that transcend fitness.

Get A FREE Copy

Subscribe To Our Magazine

All New!

Subscribe To Our newsletter

get your digital copy of the latest issue of the NFM

Fill out the form and get the latest issue delivered right to your inbox