Newnan draws singer home

alt

Courtenay Budd still remembers singing on the stage of the Wadsworth Auditorium as a young woman. Now she will be the artist pulling the annual concert together. 


“There is definitely something wonderful about Newnan,” opera singer Courtenay Budd said.

Budd is overseeing the first “Friends of Wadsworth Concert - The Legacy Continues” on April 26. Budd grew up in Newnan. As an adult, she experienced the special nature of the community both personally — after her brother Bryant’s death — and professionally — when she first appeared on stage with Wadsworth almost 20 years ago.

“I was floored by the support,” she said.

Her childhood in Newnan and her experiences returning as an adult have brought Budd “a sense of family” locally.

Recalling her first Wadsworth concert, Budd remembered “people I hadn’t seen since childhood” being there and being supportive. “It made me want to come back every time I can,” she said.

It is an experience that her husband, Anthony Caramico, and their sons have also known. Caramico said to Budd that there are a few places near their Poughkeepsie, N.Y., home — among them a deli they frequent — where an employee or the owner may speak to him.

When the family visits Newnan and Caramico stops in at Redneck Gourmet, so many locals greet him and call him by name.

When Budd was growing up in Newnan, she was known as “Becky” to family and friends. Her parents, Warren and Courtenay Budd, moved to Newnan with their family when their daughter was four-years-old.

“What an amazing place to grow up,” Budd reflected.

“I have strong memories of the downtown businesses,” she said. She and her sister, Dorothy, would walk around the downtown court square. Budd remembered enjoying a grilled cheese and malted milkshake at Lee-King and taking in a movie at the Alamo.

A favorite stop was Scott’s Bookstore. Store owner Earlene Scott “never talked down to us” and treated the girls as if “we were intelligent and (she) wanted to know our opinion.”

The gothic sanctuary of First United Methodist Church was a center of life for the Budd family when the future opera singer was growing up. They were there three times a week most weeks.

She has “so many good memories of being there and of how comfortable we felt there,” Budd said.

The natural beauty of Georgia is also something Budd misses — and which draws her back to Coweta County. “I really miss that,” she said. She recalled family outings — running around outdoors with bare feet and “a lot of storytelling.”

Budd stays in touch with friends from growing up in Coweta County. She has fond memories of Jubilee Week at the Heritage School, where she matriculated through eighth grade - then going to Central High School and Newnan High School.

Among her high school friends was Joe Beamon, who shepherded her through AP biology at Newnan High. She remembered Richard Smith’s English class at NHS - and Smith relating that his former student, Lewis Grizzard, always would like to write about RC Colas and Moon Pies.

Many of her school experiences continue for today’s Coweta County high school students. “I remember the football games - the Newnan Cougars. Everybody in town was there,” Budd said.

After finishing Newnan High, Budd went to the University of the South, starting as an English major, but switching to music before graduating in 1990. Two years later she finished her graduate degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J.

Coweta County is likely to continue draw Courtenay Budd — and her family — back to the unique place she grew up. Sons Asa Caramico, 8, and Alexander, 6, have been “coming home” as long as they can remember.

“They love, love, love Newnan,” their mother said.



More Local

Interchange Project

Local stands firm in Poplar Road home

For most people, a new road project is seen as a good thing — a way to reduce traffic and to get to places more quickly. But those ... Read More


Looking back

Katrina brought outpouring of generosity from Cowetans

It was Labor Day weekend 2005. I was walking through downtown Newnan, as I usually do sometime that weekend, looking at the bargains being o ... Read More


Lots of Labor Day Weekend events in Coweta

There’s a full calendar of Coweta events for Labor Day weekend. There won’t be a Powers’ Crossroads festival this year &nd ... Read More


city council

Municipal qualifying starts Monday

Qualifying for municipal races starts Monday. City Council seats in Newnan, Senoia, Moreland, Turin, Sharpsburg and Haralson are up for elec ... Read More


NTH Turns 150

Open house, magazine to mark milestone

Birthdays are fun! The Newnan Times-Herald is celebrating its 150th birthday soon. The first issue of The Newnan Herald was read by Cowetans ... Read More

First artist-in-residence arrives on Tuesday

Scottish painter Peter Tudhope arrives in Newnan on Tuesday – the first artist-in-residence to use the live-in studio space at Gray Co ... Read More