The Rapp for May 2

A musical-school weekend

The poster for "Anything Goes."
The poster for “Anything Goes.”

“Anything Goes” goes on at Rappahannock County High School this Saturday at 7 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2, directed by drama teacher Russell Paulette and starring all your favorite RCHS students. Tickets to the Cole Porter classic are $10 at the door ($7 in advance). Call 540-227-0745 for details.

Belle Meade School’s original musical “Twigs and Branches” is also on this Friday and Saturday (Saturday being the fundraising dinner-theatre event).

Classical trios, anyone?

At 8 p.m. this Saturday (May 4), the Theatre in Washington presents its final concert in the 21st season of the “Smithsonian at Little Washington” series – a program of chamber trios by Henry Purcell, Erno Dohnanyi and (the heart of the evening) Beethoven, whose second and third Op. 9 trios will be put to the string test by Smithsonian Chamber artistic director Kenneth Slowik on cello, with violinist Mark Fewer and violist Steven Dann. Tickets are $25 ($10 for ages 17 and younger). As always, according to community-minded theatre owner Wendy Weinberg, complimentary or reduced-price tickets are available by advance reservation for those “who could not otherwise readily afford to come to the Theatre.” So call 540-675-1253 or email theatreva@aol.com to make a reservation.

Open to artistry at Studio School

Find yourself again pondering that long-term goal to pursue your inner artist this weekend? Stop by the Studio School in Flint Hill this Saturday (May 4) for the school’s open house from 3 to 7. There will be artwork from the school’s winter classes, plus information about upcoming classes and workshops, including a new Thursday evening painting class with the Studio’s own Tom Mullany, a clay portraiture class with Charles Flickinger and a glass-on-glass mosaic class with Candace Clough. More information can be found online at mullanyartstudios.wordpress.com or by calling 540-878-3687.

Baccalaureate is Sunday

The members of the Rappahannock County High School “Visible” Christian club are hosting the 63rd annual Baccalaureate Service at 7 p.m. this Sunday (May 5) in the high school auditorium. The program features select music from the RCHS band ensemble, student speeches delivered by the graduating leaders, a sermon delivered by a local pastor and the traditional Ceremony of Light, whereby participating graduating seniors pass a candle to members of the underclass.

Pastor Phil Bailey of the Washington Baptist Church serves as the Master of Ceremonies and is joined by a number of special guests. The Amissville Homemaker’s Association is hosting a reception immediately following the service, as it has done faithfully for the past 63 years. For more information, contact Jeff Light (540-987-9523 or PastorJeffreyLight@gmail.com).

RAAC gears up for ‘Uncle Vanya’

You think the 21st century has problems? Put them into proper perspective by getting to one of RAAC Community Theatre’s presentations of “Uncle Vanya” on Friday, May 17 and Saturday May 18 (both nights at 8 p.m.) “Uncle Vanya” is Anton Chekhov’s story of frustrated hopes, desires and unhappy lives set in late 19th-century Russia.

The cast of “Uncle Vanya,” on for May 17-18 at RAAC Community Theatre. Photo by E. Raymond Boc.
The cast of “Uncle Vanya,” on for May 17-18 at RAAC Community Theatre. Photo by E. Raymond Boc.

“ ‘Vanya,’ with its long monologues and subtle shows of emotion, is a difficult play for any actor. We are lucky to have talented and experienced players in the RAAC Community Theatre who are able to pull it off,” said director Peter Hornbostel.

Andy Platt, who plays the title role, appeared last summer in “Driving Miss Daisy.” Howard Coon (Astrov), perhaps the most experienced member of the troupe, is well known to Rappahannock audiences as both an actor and director. Last Christmas he delighted kids of all ages as both Captain Hook and director of “Peter Pan.” Erin Switzer (Yelena) decided to audition for “The Shepherd’s Play” after seeing her dad (Platt), appear in “Under Milkwood.” Erin has also starred in “Proof” at RAAC.

With other theaters, Lakota Coon (Sonya) has performed in the title roles of Alice in “Alice in Wonderland” and Heidi in “The Heidi Chronicles.” Mike Mahoney’s (Serebryakov) most recent Theatre activity was directing “Driving Miss Daisy.” He has acted and directed in numerous productions including most recently “Heroes.” Patty Hardee (Marina) has performed in theater, wrote and performed a one-act show, and contributed radio commentaries to WAMU-FM in that other Washington. Hardee has been active with RAAC for several years, most recently appearing in “The Dining Room,” “The Ives of August” last summer and as Nana the dog in “Peter Pan” last Christmas.

Steve Carroll (Telegin) has performed for RAAC in “No Ordinary Person” and “Heroes.” One of his preparations for “Uncle Vanya” was learning to play the guitar. Joyce Abell (Maria) recently appeared in the title role of RAAC Theatre’s production of “Driving Miss Daisy,” and has been active in theater in the county since the mid-1980s. For the past 14 years she has served as director of the storytelling show, “No Ordinary Person.”

“Uncle Vanya” is performed at RAAC Theatre (310 Gay St., Washington) at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (May 17-18). Tickets are $15. For reservations, visit raac.org or call 540-675-3193.

Bouquet, Raines show at Middle Street

The Middle Street Gallery is exhibiting the work of sculptor Robert Bouquet and photographer Susan Raines tomorrow (May 3) through May 26, with an opening reception for the exhibition this Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. and open to all.

Bouquet, whose exhibition is titled “Stories in Stone,” is a self-taught sculptor using the “taille-directe” or direct-carving method. He utilizes some power tools for rough cutting but uses a hammer and chisel and other hand tools as often as possible. The physical effort of carving stone is part of what he says drew him to the art form.

The studios at River District Arts.
The studios at River District Arts.

Bouquet has been sculpting for about 30 years, originally in wood. Switching to stone about 15 years ago, he now works mainly in black soapstone (quarried here in central Virginia) as well as in Italian marble and alabaster. The subject of most of his work is the human figure or animal life. He has also done some abstract pieces emphasizing organic forms.

His work is in a number of private collections as well as galleries in Charlottesville and Sperryville, Virginia. Bouquet has been in juried shows and has participated in several auctions for charitable fundraising events.

“Impressions of New Orleans” is the title of Susan Raines’ exhibition. Raines has traveled to New Orleans, one of America’s most endlessly photogenic places, many times over the last 20 years.

For its natives, New Orleans is all about neighborhoods. Each has its own distinguishing features and eccentric characters. There’s a celebration going on somewhere no matter what time of year it is. Amazing food is being cooked and endlessly discussed, the neighborhood bars are overflowing onto the streets and music is blasting out the doors. The promising, highly personal photos in Raines’ show were all taken with an iPhone using the Hipstamatic app.

Raines likes the effect that the app gives to images of this iconic nearly 300-year-old city that has been photographed so often. She did not attempt to document the city in a journalistic fashion, but attempted a more personal vision. She says these photographs are only a beginning for her.

Raines’ photographs are in private collections in Washington, D.C., New York, New Orleans, Arlington, Alexandria and here in Rappahannock County.

The Middle Street Gallery is open 10 to 5 Friday-Sunday at 3 River Lane in Sperryville. Call 540-987-9330 or visit middlestreetgallery.org.

Meanwhile, next door, River District Arts and Rappahannock Central – the former packing shed-turned-antiques emporium renovated by Lucille and Jerome Niessen two years ago – celebrates its second anniversary, and its vibrant creative community, with a “Studio Stroll” this Saturday (May 4) from noon to 4. The public is invited to come by and meet the paint- and clay-stained denizens of RDA’s nine working studios, two exhibition galleries and the Artisan Market.

“We are proud of the transformation and appreciate the support of all those who have visited RDA since it opened,” said Jim Allmon, RDA’s art and marketing director. Each of the 14 artists in the nine studios will be displaying their newest works – plus there’s an ice cream social and a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate toward a future RDA purchase. All purchases from the studios will receive a 15-percent Saturday-only discount

Computer help: the evening shift

Rappahannock County Library is expanding its weekly help sessions with local computer guy Mark Shepardson. Already at the library weekly since last summer, from 2 to 4 on Thursday afternoons, Shepardson will start next week offering help sessions from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays. No reservations necessary, just show up with your questions on which computer to buy, on downloading, uploading, managing photos, creating Word documents, setting up email accounts or most anything else. For more information, call 540-675-1125 or (if someone’s already helped you get online) visit rappahannocklibrary.org.

Awakening: learn about it Saturday

Awakening was once the province of saints and sages, says Washington resident and teacher Ellie Clark, who returned recently from four weeks in India, where she continued her study of meditation and the Awakening process at Oneness University. “But today, ordinary people from all walks of life are Awakening,” she says, and invites all to facilitate their own awakening by spending two hours with her and Hanifah Griffin of Petersburg, Va., also (like Clark) a retired nurse with an open mind, open heart and a desire for spiritual growth.

“There is no need to go to India to awaken. It is happening to people all over the world who have never even left their own country, and it can happen to you wherever you are,” Clark says. The Awakening session is 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Hearthstone School on U.S. 211 west of Sperryville. For more information, call Clark at 540-675-3978.

Kudos (or even SOFIs) for Virginia Chutney

The Virginia Chutney Co. has been named a finalist for outstanding condiment in the 2013 SOFI Awards (Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation) from the Specialty Food Association, the top honor in the $86 billion specialty food industry.

Rappahannock's own Virginia Chutney is up for a SOFI award this year.
Rappahannock’s own Virginia Chutney is up for a SOFI award this year.

The Rappahannock company’s spicy plum chutney was one of 110 finalists selected by a national panel of specialty food professionals from 1,885 entries across 30 awards categories. Gold winners will be announced by noted chef Marcus Samuelsson at a red-carpet ceremony July 1 at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.

“It has been party time here at Chutney HQ ever since we heard that our spicy plum chutney made it to the finals,” says Clare Turner of Washington, owner of Virginia Chutney Co. “For years, almost every single day, my husband and sons have been eating spicy plum chutney like wild animals. We are delighted the judges liked it too.”

Turner runs the business with her husband Nevill and son Oliver. Their line of chutneys are sold in cheese shops and specialty departments of supermarkets like Whole Foods, The Fresh Market and Earthfare, and online at virginiachutney.com.

The Turners are building a commercial production facility at the old Aileen plant in Flint Hill (the chutneys are now made in Pennsylvania), and hope to have the place open by June. Could be a good summer all around.

Meet the stars, help the CATS

If you’re in that other, bigger Washington in a couple of weeks, and you’re a Rappahannocker who sees the benefits of the Castleton Festival’s annual culture-and-tourism boost – and its ongoing commitment to bring state-of-the-art culture to the countryside – you’ll want to look into Castleton’s annual “Viva La Musica” gala on May 11 at the Metropolitan Club in downtown Washington.

Susan Graham is one of the stars of Castleton’s “Viva La Musica Gala” benefit in D.C. on May 11. Photo by Mitch Jenkins.
Susan Graham is one of the stars of Castleton’s “Viva La Musica Gala” benefit in D.C. on May 11. Photo by Mitch Jenkins.

The $500-per-seat tickets get you in front of performances by Grammy-winner Susan Graham, the singer Gramophone magazine called “America’s favorite mezzo,” by pianist Allesandro Taverna and members of the 2013 Castleton Artist Training Seminar (CATS) – Maestra Lorin Maazel’s summer-long workshop for promising young artists. All proceeds of the gala, which includes a silent auction and dinner, benefit CATS. For more info on the gala, or to buy tickets, visit castletonfestival.org/cats/purchase or call 866-974-0767.

Recycle with RAWL

On Saturday, May 18, you can bring your old computers, cell phones and other electronic equipment to the Rappahannock Animal Welfare League (RAWL) to be recycled from 9 to 1 p.m. RAWL receives funds for the recyclables (they’re paid by the pound), the electronic components are recycled and it all stays out of landfills. Everyone wins!

If you can’t make it to the shelter on May 18, don’t worry. RAWL is also providing a drop location at the shelter itself (160 Weaver Road, Amissville) from 8 to 1 p.m. during the week leading up to the event (May 13-17).

Recycle with RAWL on May 18.
Recycle with RAWL on May 18.

RAWL is looking for numerous electronic items, including computers and parts (monitors, internal parts, keyboard and mouse, etc.), cell phones, cordless and home phones, fax machines, printers, scanners, copiers (no floor model copiers), video games and consoles, any internal or external wiring, cable boxes, satellite dishes, DVDs and other videos, radios, CD and MP3 players, car stereos, speakers, flat screen TVs (CRT monitors and TVs aren’t accepted) and electric tools.

RAWL is also trying to schedule pick-ups of old equipment for county businesses. To schedule a pick-up, email laurie.smith@telecommuting.net.

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