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Fiddleheads honor one of its own members

Band pays tribute to fallen founder with concert

POSTED: January 23, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Area bluegrass band, The Fiddleheads, is playing a concert this Saturday in Dahlonega to celebrate the life of Zachariah “Zak” McConnell, the band’s mandolinist who died of a heart condition in October.

“We are really going to gear the show toward a celebration of Zak,” said Jake Larios, the band’s banjo player. “We’re just going to get together, play some music, tell some stories and really honor his memory.”

The concert starts at 8 p.m. Jan. 25 at the historic Holly Theater, at 69 W. Main St. in Dahlonega. Tickets are $18 and $25.

McConnell founded the band in 2009 as a bluegrass ensemble for the music department of then-North Georgia College & State University, according to the band’s website www.thefiddleheadsband.com. But what started as a college band soon began gaining popularity. Then in 2011, the group auditioned for the TV show “America’s Got Talent.” The Fiddleheads finished in the top 25 performers out of 40,000 groups and 75,000 total entrants, getting seen by 100 million viewers in the process.

The Fiddleheads went on to headline The Kentucky Bluegrass Festival in Louisville, Ky., opened for Tim McGraw and Phil Vasser at The Opry House in Nashville, Tenn., and performed at a Braves game at Turner Field. The group frequently performed at area venues such as The Crimson Moon in Dahlonega. In 2012, the band released its first studio album “Goodbye L.A.”

McConnell’s loss hit the band suddenly, and this will be its first show since his death.

“Zak was pretty much the band glue, he held the whole band together,” Larios said. “He was a huge, integral part of everything we did.

“We can still play music, but there is a hole there for sure.”

Currently, the band hasn’t discussed plans past the concert. Larios said they will all definitely still play music, but he does not know if it will be as The Fiddleheads.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.hollytheater.com or call 706-864-3759.


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