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John Jarrard concert welcomes big crowd for 9th year
Singer songwriters line the stage at Brenau University Thursday evening during the 9th Annual Bruce Burch and Friends Honor John Jarrard Concert on the university’s front lawn.

If you happened to be standing near the front lawn of Brenau University Thursday evening, you could’ve easily gotten confused by which “ville” you were in.

The 9th Annual Bruce Burch and Friends Honor John Jarrard Concert drew a crowd of hundreds and could’ve easily taken place in Nashville.

“This is my first time coming, but I’m looking forward to seeing Billy Dean,” said Duluth resident Deborah Sawyer, before the concert began.

Each year, concert organizers bring in big-ticket country artists to raise money for area non-profits and to also honor the memory of the late John Jarrard. A Gainesville native, Jarrard built a successful career in Nashville as a songwriter before succumbing to complications from diabetes in 2001.

“It’s our first time, but we came because we like good music,” said Dale Cox, a Gainesville resident who came with friends.

“And it’s a good cause,” said Sandra Seabolt, who accompanied Cox.

Beneficiaries of this year’s concert were Good News at Noon, Georgia Mountain Food Bank, Boys and Girls Clubs of Hall County and Good News Clinics.

In addition to bringing in well known artists such as Richard Leigh, Monty Holmes, Deanna Bryant, Brice Long and Cody McCarver, the concert also served as performance opportunity for “future stars.”

“We’re here because it’s a wonderful benefit concert — and because my daughter (Mary Susan Herrington) is singing (with Casey Ryals),” said Katy Herrington, a Gainesville resident.

With a party of 13, Herrington’s group might’ve been one of the largest groups in attendance.

“We came last year and stayed until the last song was sung,” she said.

“The music is just fantastic”

While some people enjoyed picnic basket dinners, other’s chowed down on fresh barbeque sold by a local vendor.

“This is such a unique event,” said Sarah Alford, a Cumming resident.

“The weather’s nice, the food is good and the music is even better.”

While baby Emma Toddman was too young to appreciate the event and fell asleep in her stroller, her parents had a good time.

They even found a little green space to cut a rug.

“My parents discovered the concert around five years ago, and my husband and I started joining them around three years ago,” said JoAnna Toddman, a Norcross resident.

“We’ll keep coming back every year, as long as they have it. It’s a darn good concert.”