Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Kenny Lambert, a Lawrenceville violin teacher and musician has recently became the "Fiddle King" after winning first place at the Georgia's Official State Champion Fiddler's Convention at the Georgia Mountain Fair in Hiawassee back on Oct. 20.
Georgia Mountain Fiddle King
After attending the competition for a third time, Lawrenceville resident Kenny Lambert took home the top title.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Some people train to become a state champion. Others strive to win Teacher of the Year.
But not Kenny Lambert. His dreams weren't as mainstream as most. He had his eye on something else, something very different -- the coveted plaque for Georgia Mountain Fiddle King.
Recently, the Lawrenceville resident picked and plucked his way to the title after battling a day of bow-to-string combat.
"I just wanted the title. It's so cool," he said. "There are contests around that pay a lot more, but it doesn't have a title this cool."
After traveling overnight from Savannah on barely any sleep, he arrived to compete in the junior division at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee.
It was his third year in the competition, so he knew what to expect, and Lambert outperformed several fiddlers to win first place in his division.
But that was just the beginning. Lambert needed to face off against Senior Fiddle King Mack Snoderly, known for his skills on the fiddle as well as being one of the fiddlers who performed in the movie "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou."
After a coin toss, Lambert went first, playing a piece called "Jerusalem Ridge." Snoderly took the stage and played "The Clarinet Polka."
Once the points were tallied, it was Lambert, the classic violinist from Lawrenceville, wearing the crown.
The new Fiddle King is no stranger to the stringed instrument. He received his first violin lesson a week before his third birthday.
"I come from a family of six kids and we all played violin at some point," he said.
With his skills, he was given a full scholarship to San Francisco State and another scholarship to attend Florida State University for his master's degree. Now, he works with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, as the Concert Master in the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra and in the Savannah Philharmonic.
"I drive around to all these orchestras and play," Lambert said. "In between all that, I'm doing weddings and teaching here Monday and Tuesday."
He teaches mostly classical music to the youngsters, but some are interested in the bluegrass side of the music.
"I am a musician full time and I love what I do," he said. "I play violin, but I also play the fiddle and all different styles of music, which is sort of sets me apart from my classical colleagues."
When he's not on the road, Lambert stops by the Everett Music Barn on Saturdays to jam with "legit players."
"The last five or six years, I've really been trying to get some street cred in the bluegrass scene," he said. "I've been pushing hard and it's been going well."
But the real question is, would Lambert go back to Hiawassee next year?
"I don't think I would drive overnight to it again," he said with a laugh. "If I don't have (an orchestra) job, I'll go and defend my title."