Born and raised in Fountain City, Cu Beth Gresham Sharretts performed across the country, taught music in Maryland for 50 years, and in death has returned home. The family will receive friends from 5-6 p.m. Sunday, April 11, at Stevens Mortuary with the funeral service to follow.
Cu Beth graduated from Central High School in 1945 and from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in music education and science. She performed the lead role in the university’s first performance of “Carmen” at the Bijou Theatre.
Her full obituary here tells of her work at the Y-12 labs in Oak Ridge, and her participation in music competitions leading to a career with the Metropolitan Opera, the Wagner Opera Company of New York and the Atlanta Georgia Opera Company.
She married Richard Sharretts in 1970 and they settled in Arnold, Maryland, where they began a music as therapy program taking music into nursing homes, senior centers and retirement homes throughout Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties until 2016. In all, Cu Beth brought music to many for over 80 years. Hear her sing “O Holy Night” here.
Interestingly, Mary Costa came along a few years later and could have graduated from Central High School as well. (Her mother, Hazel Ogg Costa, did and was added to the CHS Wall of Fame in 2017, story here.) The Costa family relocated to Los Angeles after Mary’s first year of high school and she went on to attend the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music.
Central High School must have had a standout music teacher in the 1940s.