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Country legend performs at Smithgall garden
Fans gather to hear Emmylou Harris at inaugural show
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Emmylou Harris performs at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, A Smithgall Woodland Legacy, in Gainesville on Saturday, June 13, 2015. This marks the Smithgall garden's first concert in its amphitheater. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Robert Cooper of Gainesville has just about every Emmylou Harris album you can imagine. From her critically acclaimed 1975 record “Pieces of the Sky,” to the most recent release, “The Traveling Kind.”

Imagine his excitement when he learned she was coming to his hometown.

Cooper and many others gathered Saturday at the inaugural SunTrust Concerts in the Garden summer series at Atlanta Botanical Garden, A Smithgall Woodland Legacy, in Gainesville.

Harris played to a packed crowd Saturday evening at the Ivester Amphitheater as residents relaxed in the grass, listening to the music.

Sisters Dianne and Laura O’Donnell attended the show with mom, Connie O’Donnell, all of Stone Mountain. It was Laura’s birthday.

“What a birthday present,” Laura said. “I think her singing is fantastic. She has the voice of an angel.”

Jan and Bill Piper of Gainesville agreed.

“We’re longtime fans,” Jan said.

Bill said he was “really pleased this came here to the gardens. It’s a beautiful venue, and it’s close to home for us.”

Allison Williams of Flowery Branch said it’s her “new favorite concert venue. ... I only wish it wasn’t so hot out today.”

A grand opening tok place last month for the botanical garden. The event brought out more than 1,500 who walked the winding trails and took in the sights, including 5 acres of flora.

The gardens boast more than 1,200 different types of plants, 400 of which were grown on site in the garden’s nursery.

Wanda Cannon, volunteer education coordinator with Atlanta Botanical Garden, Gainesville, said they’ve been getting great turnouts of visitors since the grand opening.

“We’ve had a steady stream of people,” Cannon said.

Next on the lineup for the summer concert series is The Temptations, who will be performing July 11, and Scotty McCreery who performs at the venue July 17.