The Legacy Continues: Wadsworth hands reins to Budd

by W. Winston Skinner


Opera singer Courtenay Budd gets a hug from Charles Wadsworth at the 2013 farewell “Wadsworth and Friends” concert. The legacy continues as Wadsworth hands the reins for the concert series to Budd. The first “Friends of Wadsworth” concert is April 26. 

The classical music concerts started in Newnan in the 1990s by Charles Wadsworth will be continuing.

Wadsworth, who gained international fame for his chamber music career, grew up in Newnan. He oversaw his last “Wadsworth and Friends” chamber music concert in 2013 at the hall, the former municipal auditorium that now bears his name. He is now handing the reins to Courtenay Budd, a opera singer who also grew up in Newnan.

The Newnan Cultural Arts Commission has sponsored the concerts for several years, taking over from concert originators associated with the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society and The Heritage School. Arts commission members recently announced the first “Friends of Wadsworth Concert — The Legacy Continues” which will be held April 26.

About 500 letters have been sent to longtime supporters and patrons of the concerts. General admission tickets will be available starting in mid-March.

“General admission tickets will be available online this year,” said Gina Snider, Newnan’s public information officer. She said a link to ticket sales will be on the city’s website when sales start.

The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Charles Wadsworth Auditorium in downtown Newnan.

Budd is excited about returning to her hometown of Newnan. “I am thrilled and humbled to be asked to continue the annual Newnan concert that Charles Wadsworth began. Charles and his wife Susan have been wonderful role models and mentors to me in my career,” she said.

Scheduled to join Budd this year are some familiar faces to Newnan audiences: violinist Chee-Yun, cellist Edward Aaron, clarinetist Todd Palmer and pianists Jeewon Park and Andrew Armstrong.

The concert will again include an educational component. Musicians in town for the event will lead master classes with local students at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts.

Plans are being made for ticket sales locations in downtown Newnan, at Ashley Park and in the Thomas Crossroads area. “We’d like to see people who live on that side of town discover the concert,” said cultural arts commission member John Thrasher.

Thrasher also said profits from tickets sales — after paying the musicians — “go right back to providing other cultural arts activities.”

Kim Wright, a member of the commission, “is the concert chair” for the first time this year, Thrasher said. “We’re so excited about that.”

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