Global opera star Jessye Norman, who passed away on September 30, will be laid to rest on October 12 at the William B. Bell Auditorium in her hometown in Augusta, Georgia. The people in her hometown have been celebrating her existence for the past four days while honoring her spectacular journey. The officials of the town have reportedly also planned to name the road right outside the art school she opened back in 2003 after her. As her funeral will be streaming live, musician Wycliffe Gordon and J'Nai Bridges from the Metropolitan Opera will be performing. Actor Laurence and Norman's longtime friend and civil rights activist Vernon Jordan are also expected to talk at her funeral along with her family.
“Her voice would captivate you. You could feel exactly the emotion in her soul. And it wasn't just opera. She could sing anything better than just about anyone else. She found her place in opera, but she was just as good singing with a pop choir in England or a gospel group here," said Stephen Mitchell, a music director at a church in Athens.
Norman was an outstanding performer and one of the rare black singers to attain worldwide attention in the opera world. She performed at revered houses like La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera. Norman did not believe in any boundaries or limits. She broke the barriers and hoped her industry would see many more similar faces like hers. Norman was born on September 15, 1945, in Augusta, Georgia. She grew up singing in church and around a musical family that included pianists and singers. She got a scholarship opportunity to study music at the historically black college, Howard University in Washington, D.C. and later studied at the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Michigan.
The renowned international opera star, famous for her sensational voice won four Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honor died at the age of 74. The singer died at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York, from septic shock and multi-organ failure following the severe spinal cord injury she suffered in 2015. A family statement read that her entire family is extremely proud of her achievements and believe that her music will continue to inspire millions across the globe. It also added that they were equally proud of her humanitarian endeavors addressing matters such as hunger, homelessness, youth development, and arts and culture education.
(With inputs from AP)