ESPANOLA, NM (CelebrityAccess) Al Zar, 71, of Stonebridge Productions, promoter for acts like Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, The Gatlin Brothers, The Oak Ridge Boys, The Statler Brothers, T.G. Sheppard and Kenny Rogers, died at his home in Espanola, N.M., Jan. 23 after years of battling cancer.
Zar and his wife, Chris, produced shows for the Oak Ridge Boys since 2002, according to The Joplin Globe. Zar, who had promoted shows for three decades, was strongly associated with the Missouri city. In 2016, he promoted three shows at Joplin’s Memorial Hall – the same venue that launched his career 30 years earlier, according to the Globe.
“We knew from the beginning that our association with Al would be good,” Oak Ridge Boys singer Duane Allen said in a statement. “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.”
“On behalf of me and my brothers, may I say we have all lost a great man,” The Gatlin Brothers’ Steve Gatlin added, through the group’s publicist. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Chris and all the family.”
Zar began his career in Joplin working for radio stations Z103 and WMBH in the 1980s. He left Joplin in 1999 to tour the Statler Brothers, according to the Globe. He returned after 17 years to kick off the Oak Ridge Boys’ popular annual Christmas tour in the city.
Zar was a member of the city’s St. Peter the Ap;Apostle Catholic Church where he started a charitable fund for Joplin residents in need, the paper noted.
A memorial service at the church is scheduled Feb. 5.