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Jarrard concert offers a tuneful treat to aid area charities

POSTED: September 15, 2012 10:59 p.m.

Kurt Thomas performs one of his own compositions Saturday evening at Brenau University during the 11th Annual John Jarrard Foundation Concert. Proceeds of the annual concert benefit several local charities.

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The John Jarrard Foundation held its 11th annual concert on Saturday evening on Brenau University’s front lawn in Gainesville to the pleasure of many listening ears.

The benefit concerts began in 2002 in memory of Gainesville native John Jarrard, a Nashville songwriter who authored many hits for top country music artists. Since then, the concerts have grown to include more artists and activities throughout the day before the main musical event.

This year’s concert included Nashville songwriters who have penned more than 30 No. 1 songs, including Walt Aldridge, Tony Arata, Steve Bogard, Fred Knobloch and Phillip White.

Visitors could attend other events before the concert, including the John Jarrard Foundation Songwriters Workshop and live music on the John Jarrard Foundation Stage at the Art in the Square Festival in downtown Gainesville.

Artists performing on the foundation stage included Jessee Williams, Eric Dylan, Lauren & the Dead Westerns, Caleb Davidson, Jennifer Cintron, Daniel Lee Band and Eric Jones.

Pete Bruski, a University of Georgia student from Hall County, made the trip for the concert with a couple of other students, despite a home football game the same evening.

“I had to choose between the Georgia game and coming here for the concert, and as much as I love the Dawgs, this is something I’ve been going to since I was 12,” Bruski said of the concert. “I really love country music, and a lot of the guys performing tonight have written songs that I play on my iPod all the time.”

Gainesville resident Jenni Vitt agreed that this year’s artists were some of the best to date.

“I’ve been coming to these John Jarrard concerts for quite a few years, and each concert gets better and better. The workshops they hold during the day are great, and the music going on at night is consistently getting better each year, really,” Vitt said.

Vitt’s daughter, Brianne, 13, started her love for country music after attending a John Jarrard Foundation concert when she was 9.

“I never really listened to country until I came to one of these concerts with my mom. Now, I know most of the songs the performers have written, so it’s really cool to say I’ve seen them in person,” commented Brianne.

Proceeds from the concert went to benefit local charities, including the Good News Clinics, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County, Georgia Mountain Food Bank Fund and Good News at Noon.


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