At 8 p.m. next Friday, March 13, Flint Hill’s own John Henry will be the featured speaker in the Second Friday at the Library series, sponsored by the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community. Henry will tell us how (and why) he came to build his own Stonehenge on his rolling property. He will also show a new mini-documentary called “John’s Follies” that gives more insight into his stonework, and photographs by Ray Boc that document the construction of his new stone amphitheater.
These are colossal endeavors. Henry’s stone circle consists of a dozen stone pillars, the tallest 12 feet high, shipped from Indonesia to Rappahannock. His stone walls take on a variety of designs and snake across hundreds of yards. Henry has unearthed tons of rocks from his own land and imported dozens of tons more from Canada and other locales.
Hundreds of Rappahannock residents have joined in Henry’s Halloween spectacles and attended plays in the amphitheater. (The next will be Jim Reston’s “Sherman the Peacemaker,” on June 6.) Now we will have a chance to hear the story behind these structures that will long outlive us. The talk is free. All are welcome. For more information, call 301-246-0022 or visit raac.org.
At 8 p.m. next Saturday (March 14), Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band returns to the Theatre at Washington for a rousing evening of snappy dress and even snappier traditional bluegrass music. The band consists of Paul Fincham, five-string banjo and vocals; Larry Haynes, guitar and vocals; Bob Cook, lead guitar and vocals; Buck Morris, mandolin and vocals; and Steve Lamb, upright bass.
The popular and talented homegrown musicians are well known for their tight three-part harmony and traditional style singing. Paul Fincham emphasizes that the sound is always controlled, “driving” but never over-amplified.
The Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band is influenced by some of bluegrass music’s best-loved performers: Reno and Smiley, the Stanley Brothers, Jim and Jesse, Charlie Moore, Charlie Waller and the band’s style-setters, Flatt and Scruggs. “We have been known to be the best-dressed bluegrass band around, like Flatt and Scruggs used to be when they performed,” says Fincham. “We always dress up for our shows.”
Raised in Rappahannock, Fincham now resides in Madison County, and describes the other members of Dark Hollow as “local boys.” Though “local,” the band plays a wide venue and has performed in major bluegrass festivals throughout Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Georgia. They’ve also opened for the likes of Rhonda Vincent and Mel Tillis and have recorded several CDs, including their newest, “The Lonely Sound of Dark Hollow.”
Tickets are $20 ($10 ages 17 and younger). Call 540-675-1253 or visit theatrewashingtonva.com to get them.
Alec Baldwin breaks silence at Castleton
The third annual “A Time to Break Silence,” presented by Castleton in Performance, brings Emmy-winning actor Alec Baldwin to Castleton’s intimate Theatre House next Saturday (March 14), where Baldwin is guest speaker for a night of music, photography and activism.
Baldwin’s talk on animal rights abuse and related issues is part of a multimedia event that starts at 7 p.m. and benefits Mercy for Animals (MFA), the Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) and the Castleton Festival. Conceived by Orson Maazel, son of festival founders Lorin and Dietlinde Maazel, “A Time to Break Silence” is an annual series meant to bring celebrated speakers and musical performers together to spotlight a range of social issues.
Other speakers on human and animal rights include DWAG founder Niemat Ahmadi, a native of North Darfur, internationally recognized for her work as a human-rights advocate; and Ari Solomon, an animal rights activist and director of communication for MFA, who’ll present the work of Susan Weingartner, noted photographer and vegan, accompanied by music by internationally known world music composer (and Rappahannock resident) Shahin Shahida.
“Castleton’s ‘A Time to Break Silence’ was inspired by composer Wayne Oquin’s song cycle of the same name, in which the writings of Dr. King are set to original music,” says Orson Maazel. “The themes of war, violence, poverty, racism, respect, and hope can be powerfully explored through music. We’re pleased to bring this series back for a third year.”
Castleton alumnus, Virginia native and rising bass-baritone star Davone Tines will premiere a new song of his own composition, entitled “United Creatures,” with guitarist Jay Costa and pianist Michael Schachter, with lyrics based on poetry by animal activist Heather Leughmyer to explore the bond between humans and animals, and will also close the night with “We Shall Overcome.”
For tickets ($20 to $40), visit castletonfestival.org or call 866-974-0767.
The Flint Hill Public House’s menu is undergoing a major overhaul to focus on southern cuisine, according to chef Marvin Swaner. “Being south of the Mason-Dixon line, we decided to create more selections from our area’s rich heritage, typically identified as ‘comfort food’ with a lot of emphasis on ‘down home’ or ‘lowcountry’ dishes.”
The change in the menu coincides with the recent arrival of Tony King as sous chef. Hailing from Virginia’s Westmoreland County, southern living is in his DNA. “With 250 miles of shoreline, and surrounded by farms, ‘lowcountry’ cooking is a way of life. Amazing fresh ingredients always at your fingertips,” said King, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of Virginia who’s served as sous chef at a Norfolk restaurant, along with training at many D.C. fine-dining establishments.
“The addition of Tony will afford us an opportunity to expand our specials and desserts each week,” Swaner said. “However, our main menu will shift towards southern cuisine, including pan-fried chicken, catfish and pork chops with gravy, chicken fried steak, country ham, field peas and all sorts of greens, along with other foods associated with the south.”
“That includes buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, homemade preserves, barbeque, okra and tomatoes, mustard greens and beets. And of course, plenty of beans, butter beans, pinto beans and black-eye peas,” Swaner said. “No one will leave hungry.”
FHPH managing partner John Gruber has also brought in consulting chef Marie Mulhern to help transition to the new menu (in effect March 23). Mulhern, a classically-trained chef with 30 years of restaurant and menu experience, will assist Swaner and King in the makeover. “We are in a hybrid geographical region of sorts, with a mix of local customers and visitors from Washington D.C.,” Gruber said. “So we decided to start our fourth year by making major changes to the menu.”
The restaurant also announced that longtime Rixeyville resident and FHPH restaurant and inn supervisor Theresa Baldwin has been promoted to director of catering and sales, replacing current director Tammy Layne, who is taking another position with the restaurant’s parent company. Baldwin will work with Layne for a smooth transition, as the Public House already has several 2015 events scheduled, including weddings, receptions, rehearsal dinners, birthdays, anniversaries and its own 2015 Backyard Tasting & Music Festival June 13.
For more, visit flinthillva.com or call 540-675-1700.
Healing movement, music and more
Mountainside Physical Therapy and Wellness is sponsoring a “Maximizing Wellness for Persons with Movement Disorders,” a midday workshop on Friday, April 3 at the center (12625 Lee Hwy.) for those living with Parkinson’s disease, Muscular Dystrophy and other movement disorders or recovering from stroke or other debilitating illnesses.
As exercise is a vital component to maintaining a sense of well-being, balance and mobility, those who face the additional challenge of movement disorders can supplement medical treatment with resources right here in Rappahannock County, say the event’s organizers. Sessions will be led by Mountainside Physical Therapy founder Annie Williams; wellness consultant, counselor and teacher David “Sotar” Hoffman (music, heart-centered singing and movement); Stonewall Abbey Yoga’s Susan Huff (therapeutic yoga); massage therapist Shane Benson (therapeutic massage); Green Comfort Herbal Apothecary’s Teresa Boardwine (herbal support); and Mountainside Pilates’ Cindy Griffin (recumbent and indoor cycling).
The workshop is 10:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. April 3 at MPT. The fee is $25. To register or for more information, call 540 987-9390 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.