The Beegie Adair Scholarship Fund was made possible by generous gifts from Beegie Adair. A graduate of WKU in 1958, Mrs. Adair began taking piano lessons at age five and has become an acclaimed jazz pianist during her outstanding musical career. As Mrs. Adair was a graduate of Caverna High School, the purpose of this fund is to benefit Caverna High School graduates who are enrolled at Western Kentucky University and who are pursuing a degree in Music. This action demonstrates Mrs. Adair’s belief in the importance of education.
Bobbe Gorin “Beegie” Long Adair was born December 1, 1937 to A.G. and Bobbe Long. She was the granddaughter of Grover and Sallie Long. The Long family were longtime residents of Cave City, Kentucky. Beegie graduated from Caverna High School in 1954 and received her bachelor’s degree in music education from Western Kentucky University in 1958. During college, she played jazz professionally every weekend. She taught music to children in the Kentucky school system for three years, but spent her summers working in Nashville, Tennessee.
Beegie moved to Nashville during the heyday of country music and had the opportunity to accompany legendary performers such as Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Chet Atkins. Because Nashville was a hot bed of musical television tapings and live performances during that time, Adair worked with such entertainers as Neil Diamond, Mama Cass Elliott and Peggy Lee in her position as in-house pianist for “The Johnny Cash Show” for ABC-TV, plus other television programs featuring Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett and Dinah Shore.
In 1991, Beegie Adair recorded her first trio album, “Escape To New York.” She received the 1998 Nashville Music Award (“the Nammy”) Jazz Album of the Year for “The Frank Sinatra Collection.” Adair and her trio’s other recordings include “The Nat King Cole Collection”; “Sax & Swing”; “Jazz Piano Christmas”; “Love, Elvis”; “Centennial Composers Collection” (saluting Americas greatest composers Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael and Irving Berlin); “Dream Dancing”; “The Songs of Cole Porter”; “I’ll Take Romance”; and “Days of Wine and Roses: Songs of Johnny Mercer”.
Besides her own albums, Adair has a lengthy list of top credits backing other acts. She has both recorded and performed in concert with Chet Atkins, Henry Mancini, Wayne Newton, Perry Como and others. She also has played on recordings by Sonny Curtis, Johnny Cash, Al Hirt, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, J.J. Cale, Englebert Humperdink, Jerry Reed, Melba Moore, Hank Snow, The Little River Band, John Stewart, The Jordanaires, Connie Francis, Ronnie Milsap, John Loudermilk, Danny Thomas and many more. Her piano performances can be heard on movie soundtracks such as “Smokey and the Bandit”, “Every Which Way But Loose”, “Perfect World”, “The Villain”, and “Nip-Tuck” (TV).
On stage and at jazz festivals, Adair has played with jazz artists such as Nat Adderly, Urbie Green, Bill Watrous, Red Rodney, Lou Tabackin, Jim Ferguson, Terry Clark, Conte Candoli, Michael Moore, Bernard Purdy and Nick Brignola; with comedians such as Red Skelton, Steve Allen and Rodney Dangerfield; plus extended stints with Ray Stevens, Lorrie Morgan, the Hank Garland Quintet, and the Andy Goodrich Quintet. She also served as the main pianist at five annual International Trombone Workshops where she performed with Slide Hampton, Kai Winding, Frank Rosolino, Carl Fontana, Phil Wilson, Albert Mangelsdorff and others. In addition, she served as an adjunct professor in jazz studies at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and taught singers repertoire at the Nashville Jazz Workshop.
Mrs. Adair was named an Official Steinway Artist in 2002, which enables her to have Steinway pianos on stage for her performances. She was a 2004 inductee into the Cave City Hall of Fame and a 2002 inductee into the WKU Music Department’s Wall of Fame. Beegie lived Franklin, Tennessee. Was a loyal alumna of WKU, a member of the Cupola Society and was inducted into the WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2006. She was married to Mr. William D. Adair, Jr. until his passing in 2014. Beegie later passed away on January 23, 2022.
Beegie Adair was proud of the education she received at WKU and the wonderful relationships she built here with fellow students and teachers. This scholarship is intended to give back to the University that gave her so much, and to encourage future students in the pursuit of an education.