Augusta, the hometown of the legendary opera star, late Jessye Norman is celebrating her existence. For four days the town will honour her spectacular journey. The town’s officials plan to name the road right outside the art school she opened in year 2003, after her on Friday.
The legendary opera icon opened the Jessye Norman School of the Arts, in 2003 in her hometown to provide a free fine arts education to financially disadvantaged children. However, the street naming ceremony was earlier planned before Norman died on September 30, at age 74. The street will be named Jessye Norman Boulevard.
Norman, one of the few black singers to gain worldwide recognition for her heavenly voice had wished she would be live long enough to attend the celebration. However, she passed away on September 30. Her studio in Augusta is just a block away from another street honouring another town’s music legend, James Brown. A second day of public viewing of Norman will be held at an Augusta church, on Friday. Her funeral is scheduled on Saturday and a benefit concert for the school follows Sunday.
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 to 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 endeavours addressing matters such as hunger, homelessness, youth development, and arts and culture education.
Born on September 15, 1945 in Augusta, Georgia, during the segregationist times, used to sing from a very young age at the town’s church and around a musical family that included pianists and singers. She earned a scholarship to the historically black college Howard University in Washington, D.C., to study music, and later studied at the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Michigan.
(with inputs from AP)