Concert promoter Al Zar, 71, who recently worked closely with the Oak Ridge Boys and alongside his wife Chris put on shows by Reba, Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers and others under the Stonebridge Productions banner, passed of cancer Jan. 23 at his home in New Mexico.
John Davisson – The Oak Ridge Boys
CMA Music Festival, LP Field, Nashville, Tenn.
“We knew from the beginning that our association with Al would be good,” said The Oak Ridge Boys lead singer Duane Allen in a statement provided to Pollstar. “In the past 16 years, we have worked more dates for Al and Chris Zar than any other promoter. Al became very close to us, as he helped us open up new markets and build them to very successful places to work.
“I miss his big smile and positive attitude.”
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Our friend, our brother, promoter and associate went home during the night … Rest Easy Al Zar… We will miss you man. Thanks for all you have done for us over all these years… prayers for Chris!! No more pain… it’s all Jesus now…</p>— The Oak Ridge Boys (@oakridgeboys) <a href=”https://twitter.com/oakridgeboys/status/955818729199239168?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>January 23, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
– Al Zar
After marrying in 1986, the Zars formed Stonebridge Productions and began producing country concerts in the U.S. and Canada, including shows by Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt and many others.
They became the in-house promoters for Ray Stevens until his retirement and then produced all of the Statler Brothers shows until their retirement.
In 2002, Al and Chris Zar started a long and successful association with the Oak Ridge Boys. Paul Moore, former William Morris agent, remarked: “His legacy includes integrity, tenacity, loyalty, honesty and hard work. Al had a bigger than life personality and was always a force to be reckoned with.”
Moore represented artists including Larry Gatlin, Reba McEntire, Ray Stevens and Vince Gill.
Oak Ridge Boys Inc. executive vice president and operations manager Jon Mir confirmed to Pollstar that “Chris will continue to promote the dates we have on the books and beyond.”
Stonebridge took their business on the road in the early 2000s but brought three shows back to Joplin’s Memorial Hall in 2016, including a Christmas show with The Oak Ridge Boys.
“After 17 years, it feels good to be back at Memorial Hall,” Zar told reporters in announcing the shows. “This is home.”
A memorial Mass will be held at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, 812 Pearl, Joplin on Monday, February 5 at 11am.
Zar is survived by a brother, two children and five grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Joplin Area Catholic Outreach Fund.
This fund was created by Al Zar to raise and distribute funds for the direct service of the needy others served through local charitable agencies.