It’s spring, and we’ll be transplanting our monthly public story conferences to various spots around the county – starting this Friday (April 26) at 9 a.m. at the Country Cafe in Washington. The coffee’s on us, the discussion topics (ideas, complaints, suggestions) are on you. Call us at 540-675-3338 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions – or just bring them to 389-A Main Street in Washington.
To celebrate their new CD, folk trio Mandalele is having a release concert at 7 p.m. this Saturday (April 27) at RAAC Community Theatre in Washington: An opening set by Bobbi Carmitchell and two sets by Mandalele – Rappahannock’s own singers and multi-instrumentalists Wendi Sirat, Lorraine Duisit and Frances Miller – with old-time fiddle music by Ben Stowe during the breaks. Refreshments, door prizes and tickets are $10 at the door (or $8 in advance – ages 12 and younger free – from Tula’s, the Sperryville Corner Store, Ginger Hill Antiques and online at mandalele.com). Fiddler and recent mom Miller is taking a maternity break after the concert, so it’ll be the last chance to see the three together for a while.
Rappahannock’s eclectic-folk performer and songwriting guru Paul Reisler will be joined by singer Heather Mae at 3 p.m. this Sunday (April 28) for an intimate concert at the home of John Henry and Ann Crittenden in Flint Hill. Reisler will mix songs and instrumentals from the days of Trapezoid to A Thousand Questions, with Kid Pan Alley favorites and some Heather Mae compositions.
“I’m excited to be able to share a bunch of new songs with my friends here in Rappahannock in such a beautiful and intimate setting,” Reisler said.
Mae just completed a year-long project in which she wrote and recorded a song every day. Her new album, “One Year of Songs” features some of the songs from that journey. “Some songwriters like to have written, a few love to write. Heather Mae loves to write and it comes through in her brilliant and enthusiastic writing and performance,” Reisler said.
The day includes lunch provided by the hosts and a tour of the fantastic grounds of Stone Hill, Rappahannock’s answer to Stonehenge, starting at 1 p.m. Seating is limited; visit prflinthill13.eventbrite.com for tickets ($20 donation). Directions will be emailed.
Former Castleton Festival leading flutist and award-winning composer Ben MacDougall re-interprets Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at 4 p.m. at Castleton’s Theatre House this Sunday (April 28). MacDougall’s eclectic program of flute music, ranging from Mozart to his own, promises “a whirlwind of color and imagination.” For tickets ($30), call Castleton’s box office at 866-974-0767.
From Flint Hill to Sperryville, this weekend brings items to browse and education funds to raise at two private schools in Rappahannock – Wakefield Country Day School and Hearthstone School.
Wakefield holds its annual spring auction and dinner at the school this Saturday (April 27), starting at 5 with a silent auction and reception, followed by dinner and a live auction. Tickets are $60 per person for the event, which this year features a Hawaiian theme with island music, a luau and pig roast. Appropriate attire is welcome. Call the Flint Hill school at 540-635-8555, ext. 232, for information or to make reservations.
Hearthstone School’s lower-key, luau-free annual auction, meanwhile, is also this Saturday: Silent auction viewing starts at 4 with the live auction at 5. Admission is free; appetizers, wine and cheese will be served. Auction items include two Redskins preseason game ticket packages, Washington Nationals autographed baseball, an Antique Tables Made Daily table, an original Davette Leonard oil painting, canoe trips, jewelry, art works and more. Hearthstone is at 11576 Lee Hwy., two miles west of Sperryville. Call 540-987-9212 or visit hearthstoneschool.org for more information.
Three Rappahannock artists are joining forces in May for an exciting, one-of-a-kind art show at River District Arts (3 River Ln., Sperryville).
The show, “Three of a (Different) Kind,” features new work by painters Pam Pittinger and Jim Ramsay, and the mosaics of Linda Tarry. All three artists have had shows in the past at Middle Street Gallery and have been featured during the annual Rappahannock Artists Studio Tour.
Pittinger, an abstract artist who works on large, colorful paintings, is showing a new series of mixed media drawings on paper, entitled “Aliens.” Working with bright, colored pencils and acrylics, she has created a whimsical collection of imaginary aliens floating in space.
Ramsay, who’s now in his eighth decade of producing exceptional art, has several new paintings on display. “I was trained in academic representational painting in the 1940s and painted that way for 60 years,” said Ramsay. “Then in 2007 I had an epiphany while pouring myself a cup of coffee. I have been making abstracts ever since.”
Tarry continues to expand her work with three-dimensional mosaics and found object art. Her latest work explores storytelling in its most visual form. Materials include found figurines, broken ceramics and jewelry, colored mirror, dolls and plastic toys. One of her most recent pieces, “Where the Streets Are Paved With Gold,” incorporates souvenir pins collected by her parents during travels in the U.S.
An opening reception for the show is 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 4 in the River Gallery at RDA. The show itself runs until the end of May. The gallery is open 10 to 5 Friday-Sunday. For more information, call 540-675-1930 or 540-937-1778.
On Sunday, May 5, Flint Hill Public House will donate 15 percent of the entire day’s food sales to Rappahannock County Elementary School to help pay for seventh-graders’ annual trip to Williamsburg, a tradition that tight budgets and family economics have caused to be short of funds. The Public House asks that you make brunch or dinner reservations so manager John Gruber and staff will be prepared; you can do that by calling 540-675-1700 or visiting flinthillva.com.
As some have already done, you can also just make a donation. Call RCES at 540-227-0200.
The Smithsonian at Little Washington series concludes with the fourth concert of its 21st season at the Theatre in Washington on Saturday, May 4, at 8 p.m, when a string trio of the Smithsonian Chamber Players bring the music of Beethoven, Purcell and Dohnanyi to Gay Street.
Says Kenneth Slowik, artistic director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society and cellist for this concert: “Compared to a string quartet, a string trio of violin, viola, and cello is a much leaner ensemble, and that can be a real challenge for composers who seek to write full-bodied music. But the three composers whose works will be heard [on May 4] were each very much up to the task.”
The music was composed in the 17th, 18th and 20th centuries by composers from England, Germany and Hungary: Three Fantazias by Henry Purcell (1680); Trio in G Major, Op. 9, No. 1 and Trio in C Minor, Op. 9, No. 3 (both 1798) by Ludwig van Beethoven; and Serenade, Op. 10 (1902) by Ernst von Dohnanyi.
Purcell’s works “contain some remarkable music which has not lost a bit of its freshness and ability to surprise and mesmerize over the centuries,” says Slowik, and Dohnanyi’s 1902 Serenade is “in five movements of highly differentiated characters, [and] brings instrumental virtuosity to the fore.” But “the core of the program,” Slowik says, “consists of the second and third trios from Beethoven’s Opus 9, which are easily among the greatest works ever written for this particular combination.”
Slowik is joined by violinist Mark Fewer and violist Steven Dann, both of whom are in Slowik’s words, “rightly celebrated for the passion and intensity of their performances.”
Tickets are $25 ($10 for students 17 and younger). For reservations, call 540-675-1253 or email email@example.com.
The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and Community (RAAC) is showing “The Silver Linings Playbook” at 8 p.m. Friday, May 3 at the Theatre on Gay Street in Washington. Star Jennifer Lawrence won the best-actress Oscar for her role in this film, which also stars Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro. The film’s directed by David O. Russell and is rated R. Admission is $6 ($4 for students), and, as always, the concession stand will be open for popcorn, candy and water. Visit raac.org for more information.
On Wednesday, May 8 at 8 p.m., the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC) hosts a special guest lecture at the Rappahannock County Library featuring Egyptian calligraphic artist Ahmed Moustafa, a leading international authority on Arabic art and design.
Moustafa was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1943 where he began his career as a painter in the representational tradition of European art. After moving to London, he turned his attention to the Islamic tradition. Living in a Western cultural environment stimulated him to develop what he calls a “visual vocabulary” commensurate with his own original culture. This “vocabulary” turned out to be Arabic letter shapes that became the focus of his academic research and expression for his own artistic work. The former led to his doctoral thesis on the scientific foundations of the Arabic letter shapes (learn more at fenoon.com).
Moustafa’s work, which is widely shown in Europe, is now almost exclusively devoted to abstract compositions inspired by texts from the Koran. In addition to directing the Fe-Noon Ahmed Moustafa Research Centre for Arab Art and Design in London, he has taught and lectured in many parts of the world. In 1997, in recognition of his international renown in the field of Islamic art and his special position as a British Muslim artist, Queen Elizabeth II presented a specially commissioned composition by Ahmed Moustafa as a gift to Pakistan to mark the occasion of that nation’s 50th anniversary.
Moustafa has been a guest lecturer at the U.S. Naval Academy. He attaches great importance to building cultural bridges of mutual respect and understanding through the medium of his art.
Rappahannock residents owe the opportunity to meet this distinguished and unique artist to John Kiser, who has engaged Moustafa to speak at the fifth annual Abdelkader essay contest forum in Elkader, Iowa, and suggested he visit Rappahannock after the forum. The Abdelkader essay contest was first introduced in 2009 to reconnect students and citizens in Elkader with the story of their town’s remarkable Arab namesake, Emir Abd el-kader, whose story Kiser chronicled in his book, “The Commander of the Faithful.” The contest has since grown into a statewide, national and soon international contest.
Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Services named Pat Whorton of Woodville as a 2013 Master Agent during its annual sales conference in Roanoke last month, an award that recognizes agents for excellent overall performance in every aspect of their job. Whorton, who works out of the Rappahannock County office, has served as an agent with Virginia Farm Bureau for 31 years.
Conservation of native flowers and plants is the focus of Shenandoah National Park’s 27th annual Wildflower Weekend this May 4-5. Visitors may see woodland beauties such as trillium, wild geranium, jack-in-the-pulpit and a variety of others on naturalist-led hikes.
Trails included this year are Millers Head, Mill Prong, Appalachian, Stony Man, Franklin Cliffs and Little Stony Man Cliffs. There will also be a bird walk and a “Wildflower Identification for Beginners” walk.
Illustrated programs are offered at Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51 on Skyline Drive). “Rare Plants of Shenandoah National Park” and “The New Flora of Virginia: What’s in it for You?” are presented by Chris Ludwig, chief biologist for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s natural heritage division. Naturalists and professional photographers Ann and Rob Simpson present “Wild About Shenandoah: From Wildflowers to Wildlife” and will lead a hike on the Limberlost Trail, searching for flowers and offering photography tips.
New this year is an opportunity to actively help manage an exotic species by becoming a “Garlic Mustard Buster” on Saturday, May 4. Participants may sign up at the trailhead to accompany the park’s volunteer coordinator on a morning or afternoon hike to help control this invasive plant. Gloves and plastic bags will be provided.
For program times and locations, see the complete Wildflower Weekend schedule on the park’s website at nps.gov/shen; pick up a schedule at park entrances the weekend of the event; or call the park at 540-999-3500, ext. 3283. Programs are free; there is a $15-per-vehicle entrance fee to the park.