912-212-2787

33 East Main Street

Downtown Statesboro

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© 2018 by Averitt Center for the Arts

emma kelly

MUSICIAN

Emma Thompson Kelly was a Georgia music icon.She was named the “The Lady of 6,000 songs” for her encyclopedic knowledge of popular music by the late Johnny Mercer. She was a Bulloch County native and her lively performances at church services, civic clubs, school graduation, senior proms, weddings and recitals, endeared her to thousands of Georgians – both young and old.


She had many accomplishments including a cameo role in the 1994 movie, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” directed by Clint Eastwood. The movie was taken from the best-selling novel written by John Berendt. Berendt dedicated an entire chapter of his novel to Mrs. Kelly’s ability to flawlessly perform virtually any musical request. This recognition launched a nation wide concert tour entitled, “Midnight,” allowing Mrs. Kelly to perform her unique style of soft, hearty melodies to sold-out crowds from New York’s Lincoln Center to the Wadsworth Theater in Los Angeles, California. In 1998, Mrs. Kelly was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts for her contribution to music from Georgia Southern University. Mrs. Kelly passed away in January 2001 at the age of 83, leaving a rich legacy of family, friends and music to endure for decades to come.