The Rapp for July 1

Photo by Ray Boc

Fourth features

Organizers released a final schedule for this Sunday’s Rappahannock Fourth of July Celebration in Sperryville. Gates open at 1, basic carload admission is $20. Free all-day events include moonbounce and slide, antique tractor and car display, face-painting and animal balloons (4 to 9 p.m.) and a cool-down misting area. There’s a medivac helicopter demo from 4 to 6 and a reading of the Declaration of Independence by Melissa Delcour and Rappahannock High students at 7 p.m. (There’s another Declaration reading at 1 Sunday at Washington Baptist Church.)

For small fees, the Fourth Celebration also features a 24-foot rock climbing wall, a dunk tank and tethered hot-air balloon rides, plus music by Gold Top County Ramblers and Bobby G & Friends (open-mike picking starts at 2, bands start at 5).
Oh, and fireworks at dusk — and Amissville fire company funnel cakes, and High on the Hog barbecue and . . . proceeds benefit Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department, the event’s sponsors.

Maestro Lorin Maazel, seated, rehearses a Puccini opera at the Castleton Festival. Staff Photo/Roger Piantadosi.

Second (annual) features

The second annual Castleton Festival kicks off tomorrow (Friday, July 2) with a dinner and performance of Puccini’s Il Trittico opera trilogy. And whether or not you can spell Puccini, or know anything about Beethoven or Gershwin or Stravinsky or Benjamin Britten (all of whose works will be performed by the more than 200 gathered young musicians, singers and stage help, under Maestro — and Castleton resident — Lorin Maazel’s direction), you should make at least one visit to Lorin and Dietlinde Maazel’s farm between now and July 25’s all-Beethoven concert, which closes the festival.

“I’ll tell you the secret of this festival,” said Dietlinde Maazel during a break between interviews and preparations Monday, as her husband rehearsed the opera orchestra and cast next door in the 400-seat festival tent (twice the size of last year’s tent). “And it’s why people are so drawn in to these performances — it is that they are all small, and accessible.

“I always feel so totally lost at a Kennedy Center concert,” said Maazel, a well-known actress in her native Germany who moved here with her renowned-conductor husband 22 years ago to raise a family — and, more recently, to begin summer residencies for young musicians which last year, with much work and a zoning change from the county, became the Castleton Festival.

“We want to convert people who think classical music is highbrow — because it’s not. It has been so rewarding to bring culture where it’s supposed to be and where it started,” she said. “Among people, real people.”

Maazel said the Rappahannock community — through volunteer work and via those who open their homes here to more than 100 of the young participants for three weeks — has been seriously supportive of the festival.

On Saturday, the grounds of the festival — which sprawl from the Theatre House complex near the Maazels’ home to the Festival Tent on Hope Hill Road, each of which has its own eatery — will be open to visitors, whether they’ve tickets to either of the day’s two concerts.

At dusk Saturday, unlike last year’s conflict with the county’s Fourth celebration and fireworks in Sperryville, the festival will also have “modest” fireworks at the festival tent.

For more details and a schedule of events, go to castletonfestival.org online, or call 540-937-4969.

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