Friends of Wadsworth
Violinist Chee-Yun looks forward to concert
by Jeff Bishop, Newnan Cultural Arts Commission
Violinist Chee-Yun said coming to Newnan feels in many ways like coming home.
“I think the first year I came to Newnan was in the early 1990s – maybe 1991,” said Chee-Yun, who is slated to perform at this year’s concert, “Friends of Wadsworth Concert – The Legacy Continues” on April 26.
“Since they named the Charles Wadsworth Auditorium, I’ve been back almost every year,” she said.
“It’s so lovely when we go back to Newnan with Charles and see all the people from Newnan who treasure him and adore him so much. I love being a part of that,” she said.
She called Wadsworth, one of Newnan’s most renowned hometown sons, her mentor. “He’s one of the most adorable mentors I’ve ever had, or will ever have,” she said. “He is so endearing.”
She said the Wadsworth we see on stage is the same man she sees off-stage.
“He’s hilarious and warm, and he’s compassionate, but he is also super-serious about music,” said Chee-Yun. “I respect him so much and have learned so much from him.”
Soprano Courtenay Budd, who grew up in Newnan and has been selected by Wadsworth to continue the chamber music series, said that she will miss Charles acting as host this year, but she is happy he will be in attendance.
“I think about the legacy he leaves Newnan (and everywhere else) and how vital and sustainable it is,” Budd said.
“This legacy is twofold. Charles, along with his wife Susan (founder and director of Young Concert Artists, Intl.), has nurtured countless musicians from the earliest stages of their careers. The extraordinary clarinetist Todd Palmer and I are two of them.
“Another is Chee-Yun, who won YCA soon after coming to the U.S. from Korea as a teenager. Now she is a coveted international artist, one of many who thank the Wadsworths for their start,” Budd said.
The other part of his legacy is how Wadsworth has helped to spread the love of chamber music “by putting audiences at ease while never dumbing down to them,” Budd said.
“His funny and folksy, quintessentially Newnan style of introducing the music helps people relax, so that we feel less intimidated and better able to experience the music,” she said.
General admission tickets for Friends of Wadsworth – The Legacy Continues are $20 and are available at Let Them Eat Toffee on the downtown Court Square, the downtown Visitors Center in the historic Coweta County Courthouse, Morgan's Jewelers in Ashley Park, and Bank of North Georgia at Thomas Crossroads.