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Golf tournament at Belle Meade to benefit Jessye Norman arts school

The famous opera singer Jessye Norman of New York will be in Thomson Tuesday for a golf tournament at Belle Meade Country Club. Ms. Norman will attend the luncheon to visit with golfers around 11:45 a.m. before the shotgun start at 1 p.m.

According to organizer Carolyn Dolen, it is not too late to register for the golf tournament, which will benefit Ms. Norman's after school program for middle school students. Participation in the golf tournament is open until the tournament starts.

Jessye Norman is a four-time Grammy award winning opera singer and one of the most admired contemporary opera singers and recitalists, according to her bio on the Kennedy Center website.

Five years ago, the Jessye Norman School of the Arts was founded in her hometown of Augusta. According to Ms. Dolen, the students who attend JNSA are all middle school students from low-income families, most of whom attend Tubman Middle and East Augusta Middle schools. There is no cost to the student to attend the JNSA.

"These are kids that know they have an interest and a talent in art, but haven't had the instruction or tools available to them to be able to try these things," Ms. Dolen said. "That is our goal is to give them some background and experience on the basic levels."

The golf tournament is possible by generous support from the Knox Foundation, according to Ms. Dolen. Lunch will be provided at 11:45 on Tuesday, May 13 at Belle Meade Country Club. Approximately 60 golfers have already signed up for the tournament, but more are encouraged to come play. The cost is $75 per player, or $300 per team of four. The Thomson Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership has donated a Dodge Dakota pick up truck as the hole in one prize.

"We really appreciate the fact that, even though we are based in Augusta, we get a lot of support from Thomson in general, and especially the Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership," Ms. Dolen said.

Ms. Dolen said several of Ms. Norman's family members also will be playing in the tournament.

"This is her way of giving back to the community by supporting efforts to give to the school which is named for her," Ms. Dolen said. "It's nice that people that have become famous still remember their hometown and who helped them when they were young."

For more information, call Ms. Dolen at 706-737-4322.

Web posted on Thursday, May 08, 2008

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