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Jamming for a cure in September

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Courtney's Restaurant venue for Musical Talent Contest

A local restaurant will be jamming for a cure every Saturday in September with a goal to beat cystic fibrosis.

Tom Courtney, owner of Courtney's Restaurant in Mt. Juliet, is very familiar with the terrible disease. A friend of his lost a daughter to the cystic fibrosis, and he's good friends with area musical family the McDougals, whom deal with the disease daily in their household.

This is why Courtney, along with fellow organizer Jim Bradshaw, decided their popular annual Mt. Juliet Showcase Musical Talent Contest this year would benefit Cure for our Friends.

This group was started by Vera Smith, also a friend of Courtney's. She started raising funds for a special little girl named "Tori." They raised funds to allow her family to place her on the heart and lung transplant list.

However, sadly, she lost her life in 2002. Since then, Smith has made it a mission to raise funds to find a cure, and, she paints her fingers and toes "Tori purple" in remembrance. So does her granddaughter.

Smith works with Susan Marshall as well with the foundation. Marshall's granddaughter was confirmed to have cystic fibrosis.

"I've been working with Cure for Our Friends about five years," Courtney said. "It's in my heart to reach out and help raise funds. I also like to have a venue for people to play their music."

For several years Courtney's has been the destination venue for young and old alike to play their music, sing and showcase. September's talent contest will allow them to also win some cash.

Bradshaw said there's $700 up for grabs, donated by Courtney. Courtney said it's amazing to see how talented local folks are and rewarding to see some of the same kids who played on his stage go on to do well in theatre and other genres.

"I'm very pleased events like the upcoming showcase every Saturday in September, with Oct. 8 the final competition, gives people a platform, and helps raise funds for a cure of cystic fibrosis," Courtney said. "It's remarkable to me to see instant results of hard work all the way around. Cure for our Friends come regularly to let us know the strides made for a cure. They let us know what our fund-raising efforts have done for people like the McDougals and others not so well known who are struggling to deal with this awful disease."

Courtney said he has four young healthy boys and feels so thankful.

"I think some of us take our health for granted," he said.

Bradshaw explained each contestant pays just $10.

"Last year 35 participated," he said. "It was great. Great entertainment for the public as well. These performers get a chance to be seen, come in and have fun, all for a good cause."

Last year the competition's proceeds went toward Relay for Life.

What is cystic fibrosis?

According to the Mayo Clinic, cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system. Although cystic fibrosis requires daily care, people with the condition are able to attend school and work, and have a better quality of life than in previous decades. Improvements in screening and treatments mean most people with cystic fibrosis now live into their 20s and 30s, and some are living into their 40s and 50s.

About the contest

You can register up until the night of. Entry fee is $10 and each additional contestant fee in the same group (limited to four) is $5.

The first preliminary round is for those 7 to 11 years old on Sept. 3 at Courtneys on 4066B North Mt. Juliet Road. Contestants must get there by 5:30 p.m.

The second preliminary round is Sept. 10 for those 12 to 14 years old. The third is Sept. 17 for those 15 to 17 years old.

The last preliminary round is on Sept. 24 for those 18 years and up. On Sept. 30 there is a wildcard round where judges will select one contestant from each age division to advance to the final competition, which takes place Oct. 8.

During the preliminary rounds, judges will select the top three participants in each age division to advance to the Wildcard round.

"At the end of the final competition, the judges will select an overall winner among all the contestants competing in the final competition," Bradshaw said. "The overall winner will receive a grand prize of $300."

The winners of each age categories will win $100, as well as trophies.

"It will be a fun month," Courtney said. "I encourage people to come on out or to perform. Past years we've had a great turnout. People like to see their friends and neighbors perform. I hope we raise a lot of money for cystic fibrosis."

For full information and entry form, go to courtneysrestaurantandcatering's Facebook page or call Bradshaw at (615) 545-7784 or Courtney at (615) 496-9020

Writer Laurie Everett can be reached at laurieeverett1@gmail.com.

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benefit, community, Courtney's Restaurant, cystic fibrosis, event, Mt. Juliet, music, talent show
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