The Rapp for Feb. 19

Save the date: April 19

Rappahannock’s season-opening steeplechase race has again been delayed due to the failure of another season — winter — to pack up and go home already.

Organizers of the Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds’ annual point-to-point race at Thornton Hill Racecourse in Sperryville, originally scheduled for Feb. 28, has been rescheduled to April 19. (Last year’s race was also rescheduled by polar vortex-related realities.) Everything planned for this Feb. 28 — including THFVH’s second-annual stick-horse races for kids — will move to April 19, when most folks expect the ground will not be so concrete-like.

The Hunter Pace event scheduled for March 1 will still go on as planned at Thornton Hill. For more information or tickets for the April 19 race, contact THFVH’s Diana Perry at 540-631-1919.

For The Inn: 10 more stars

Inn at Little Washington chef/proprietor Patrick O’Connell, right, and general manager Thomas List, in Florida last week to accept the Inn’s five-star awards from Forbes Travel Guide.
Inn at Little Washington chef/proprietor Patrick O’Connell, right, and general manager Thomas List, in Florida last week to accept the Inn’s five-star awards from Forbes Travel Guide.

Forbes Media announced last week that for the 25th consecutive year, The Inn at Little Washington has earned its prestigious Five Star Award in the 2015 Forbes Travel Guide, making it the longest-running Forbes five-star restaurant in the world.

The Inn, opened in 1978, is the only five-star restaurant in Virginia, and one of just 55 in the U.S.

The Inn’s guest rooms also received five stars for the 24th year year in a row, making it one of only three hotels in Virginia with the top rating. (The others are Albemarle County’s Keswick Hall and Golf Club, and Richmond’s Jefferson Hotel; in D.C., only the Four Seasons Hotel carries the five-star designation.)

“In our industry, it is often said that keeping Five Stars is even harder than earning them for the first time,” said Inn at Little Washington chef/proprietor Patrick O’Connell. “We’re doubly proud of our team for their ability to continually rise to the challenge and are honored and humbled to be in such rarified company along with the finest restaurants and hotels in the world.”

Forbes four-star restaurants in Virginia for 2015 include Fossett’s Restaurant and the Dining Room at Clifton Inn in Charlottesville, Lemaire in Richmond and Vintage in Orange. Middleburg’s Salamander Spa is one of just three four-star spas in Virginia, also winning four stars for its hotel accommodations.

Forbes Travel Guide, formerly the Mobil Travel Guide, is the originator of the prestigious Five Star Rating system, providing the travel industry’s most comprehensive rating and reviews of hotels, restaurants and spas since 1958. The guide’s team of expert inspectors anonymously evaluate properties against up to 800 rigorous and objective standards.

Musical visual art: a competition

Kathleen FentonKathleen Fenton

The Castleton Festival and the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community are cosponsoring a visual art competition that celebrates the musical arts.

April 15 is the deadline for the competition’s entries, from which three judges will select finalists and a grand winner, all of whom will receive pulic recognition and awards; the winning artwork will be featured on the cover of the Castleton Festival’s 2015 program in July.

Submissions must capture the look, sound or experience of music (e.g., classical, jazz, opera) through representational or abstract art — imagine musicians and singers performing, audiences listening, instruments in action. Or be inspired by a theme from a 2015 Festival opera — “Romeo and Juliet,” for example.

The competition is seeking two-dimensional artwork—paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, collages, fiber (no size restrictions) from adult and high school-aged artists who are full or part-time Rappahannock residents. There will be separate evaluation categories for adults and students.

There will be an exhibit and reception for all finalists at Middle Street Gallery in Sperryville this spring, and finalists will be recognized at the Castleton Festival’s opening gala dinner July 3, each also awarded a pair of tickets for a 2015 performance.

The judges are Washington artist and RAAC board member Kevin Adams; Andy Grundberg, chair until last year of the photography department and dean of undergraduate studies at the Corcoran College of Art & Design; and Rappahannock artist Nedra Smith, a Castleton Festival board member.

For more information, email artcompetition@raac.org.

It’s time for ragtime

Russell Wilson, a Theatre at Washington favorite, is back with a rousing ragtime piano concert at the Theatre at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28

Russell Wilson performs ragtime music Feb. 28 at the Theatre.
Russell Wilson performs ragtime music Feb. 28 at the Theatre.

The music spans the 1890s to the 1920s and merges into Stride music of the ’20s and ’30s. Wilson’s program includes Scott Joplin’s ever-popular piano rags along with Stride compositions by James P. Johnson and others.

“Ragtime can be thought of as Dixieland jazz for solo piano,” says Wilson. Sometimes, he explains, ragtime music can sound as if the tuba and banjo are being played by the left hand while the melody in the right hand is being played on a trumpet or clarinet.”

Wilson began piano lessons at age 7 and began playing hymns for his church at age 12. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in classical piano performance and a Masters degree in jazz, both from the University of Maryland in College Park. In 2002, while a junior in college, he joined the President’s Own U.S. Marine Band, where he plays all kinds of music styles on the piano, harpsichord, accordion and keyboard in public concerts and private events at the White House and around D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

For reservations and tickets ($25, $10 for students 17 and younger), call 540-675-1253 or visit theatrewashingtonva.com.

Trail ride at Belle Meade

Belle Meade’s Equestrian Club sponsors a fundraising trail ride April 12. Courtesy photo
Belle Meade’s Equestrian Club sponsors a fundraising trail ride April 12.

Belle Meade School’s Equestrian Club is hosting a spring trail ride April 12, a two-hour hack around the farm and campus at the base of the Blue Ridge with views of Old Rag and surrounding F.T. Valley areas. Club members and volunteer will lead multiple groups: hill-toppers (walk/trot), hunters (walk/trot/canter) and jumpers (if there is interest). A fundraiser for the equestrian club, participants are asked for a donation of $20 for adults, $15 for juniors (ages 10-17) and $10 for ages 9 and younger. Lunch will be hosted by Belle Meade students, families and staff after the ride. For more information, contact Alex Forte (alex@bellemeadeschool.org or 540-987-8970).

It’s Union Bank & Trust now

Richmond-based Union Bankshares Corporation announced this week that it has changed the legal name for its bank to Union Bank & Trust, from Union First Market Bank. The brand name, and the name most people use for the branch on U.S. 211 in Washington (which is one of 131 in Virginia), remains “Union.”

Bland contest winners: On to Gainesville

Bland Music Contest winners Rachel Marie Cieplak (first place, vocal) and James Williams (first place, instrumental) pose with Lions emcee Jim Blubaugh Feb. 8 at the Theatre. Kaye Kohler
Bland Music Contest winners Rachel Marie Cieplak (first place, vocal) and James Williams (first place, instrumental) pose with Lions emcee Jim Blubaugh Feb. 8 at the Theatre.

The Rappahannock Lions Club held its annual juried music contest for county students Feb. 8 at the Theater at Little Washington. This year’s winners of the James A. Bland contest are Rachel Marie Cieplak (first place, vocal), who performed “Time to Say Goodbye,” and James Williams (first place, instrumental), who performed “Brahms Waltz in A Flat Major” on the piano. Rachel is an eighth-grader at Wakefield Country Day School; James is a seventh-grader at Mountain Laurel Montessori School. Both go on to the next round of competition, the Lion regional contest in Gainesville.

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