Valdosta Daily Times

May 19, 2013

Nashville honors history, musical tradition

Jason Schaefer
The Valdosta Daily Times

NASHVILLE — There were more than a few Nashville residents and guests from out of town fiddlin’ around Saturday to celebrate the grand opening of the Georgia Humanities Council and Smithsonian New Harmonies exhibit, celebrating roots music from the state and across the Deep South.

About 30 fiddlers of all ages filled the stage for the first Nashville Fiddle Jam to play a couple of tunes together, led by Frank Maloy, a fiddler in his 90s. Nashville Mayor Travis Harper awarded Maloy, a living part of South Georgia and Nashville history, with the key to the city.

“I’m going to keep holding this fiddle for as long as I can,” Maloy said about his passion for the instrument, drawing applause from the crowd.

It was the first time the fiddlers got together for the event, which the City of Nashville hopes to continue in years to come, said Economic Development Director Dawn Morrison. For now, the city is proud to have been selected as one of 12 for the exhibit.

“We are the smallest city to be selected,” Morrison said. “It was a grant process, and there were certain criteria. We had to show we appreciated music, and that we had a rich history of music.”

As part of the process, the city created an exhibit on Berrien County roots music, housed in the old courthouse, Morrison said. Brian Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation developed the Nashville-Berrien exhibit.

Maloy of Tifton, who has written a song for each county in Georgia, was welcomed by the city as an honorary historian. Morrison said she was “glad to have him.”

Crafts and food vendors stood outside, helping draw more visitors to the festival. The exhibit will remain in Nashville for six weeks and will close June 29.

A concert featuring fourth-season "American Idol" star Bo Bice, who placed second to Carrie Underwood, will be held at the Horse Creek Winery to celebrate the culmination of the event. General tickets for $20 and VIP tickets for $50 will remain on sale at Nashville City Hall until June 29.