UT dedicates new music building, receives 'Tennessee Waltz'

UT dedicates new music building, receives 'Tennessee Waltz' donation

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Natalie L. Haslam spoke at a ribbon cutting of the UT music building named in her honor. Natalie L. Haslam spoke at a ribbon cutting of the UT music building named in her honor.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Philanthropist Natalie L. Haslam was on hand Friday to help dedicate a new music building at the University of Tennessee named in her honor.

The state-of-the-art addition to the campus is designed to showcase UT's talented musicians and world-class faculty.

Ms. Haslam and her husband Jim Haslam joined Gov. Bill Haslam, UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek, UT President Joe DiPietro, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, other state and local officials, and alumni to celebrate the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, the new home of the UT School of Music.

Ms. Haslam is a graduate of UT's College of Arts and Sciences and a music and arts enthusiast. She has served on numerous boards, including the Knoxville Symphony Society and the Knoxville Arts Council. She has been a member of the Tennessee Arts Commission and president of the Tennessee Presidents Trust.

"We are so thrilled because it answers so many needs," said Natalie Haslam. "These kids and faculty have been scattered all over the campus for a long time. This is a blessing. It really is."

She, Jim Haslam and the Haslam Family Foundation donated UT $32.5 million in 2006, $10 million of which was designated to the UT School of Music. The state allocated $30 million for the building.

The celebration included a concert held in the building's Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall Thursday, dedicated to them memory of former School of Music director Roger Stephens.

The building, which opened in August, allows all School of Music programs, faculty and staff to be under one roof for the first time.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander announced he and three other families have purchased the original manuscript of "The Tennessee Waltz" and donated it to the university.

The document will be prominently displayed in the Haslam Music Center.

The tune, made famous by singer Patti Page, is one of Tennessee's official state songs, has been recorded by more than 500 musical artists and has sold more than 10 million copies. It has been cited as the most popular song in the history of country music.

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