The Rapp for March 19

Kid Pan Alley circles back to Rapp

Elementary students sing at Kid Pan Alley’s last songwriting program and concert at RCES.Molly M. Peterson
Elementary students sing at Kid Pan Alley’s last songwriting program and concert at RCES.

Kid Pan Alley, the Grammy-nominated songwriting program for children, comes back home to Rappahannock County for a songwriting residency this week and a concert at Rappahannock County Elementary School at 7 p.m. Friday, March 27.

The free concert features songs the kids are writing this week, which they’ll perform with the Kid Pan Alley Band. Paul Reisler, longtime leader of the band Trapezoid, started Kid Pan Alley 15 years ago with a residency at Rappahannock Elementary, where he wrote 60 songs with the children of the county. Some of the songs were so good that he pulled together the professional musicians that call Rappahannock home and made an album, “Tidal Wave of Song.” That album started a tidal wave of songs — around 2,500 of them now, composed with over 35,000 children across the country from Virginia to Hawaii.

The freshness and vitality of the songs and the unique worldview of the children has attracted many renowned artists to record some of the songs, including Amy Grant, Sissy Spacek, Delbert McClinton, Cracker, Kix Brooks, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Corey Harris and Suzy Bogguss.

The March 27 concert features members of the Kid Pan Alley Band, including Reisler on guitar, vocalist Mary Alouette, percussionist Tom Teasley and saxophone virtuoso Marshall Keys — and, of course, the children of RCES.

This year marks Reisler’s 40th year as a recording artist, musician, composer and producer.  He’s written more songs than Stephen Foster, Bob Dylan and the Beatles combined — thanks, he says, to his tens of thousands of co-writers.

“Kids,” he says, “make the greatest songwriters. And as Picasso said, ‘We’re all born as artists; the challenge is to remain one as one grows up.’ I get inspired to continue to be an artist by the children.”

As for the Kid Pan Alley Band: According to Baltimore magazine, “Alouette echoes the likes of Billie Holiday. Or as Brooklyn Exposed said, “Alouette’s performances draw you in with their soft, hypnotic qualities, turning each song into a dialogue between her and the audience.” Teasley, described in The Washington Post as “a percussionist in the widest and most exuberant sense of the word,” maintains a unique career as a solo percussionist, composer and collaborator. He’s recorded eight albums of his music. Esquire magazine said that “Marshall Keys’ dulcet tones and earthy compositions conjure the spirits of jazzmen past and future. From mainstream to contemporary, from bebop to hip-hop, he plays the saxophone with a sense of grace and emotion that is wholly without cliché.”

The RCES residency is sponsored by Kid Pan Alley and RAAC’s Mitchell Fund, with support from the Lykes Fund of the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation, and members of the local community.  For more information: info@kidpanalley.org.

Narmada’s ‘giant step’

Awaiting their congratulatory handshake from Gov. Terry McAuliffe at the Governor’s Cup gala in Richmond last month are Narmada Winery proprietors Sudha and Pandit Patil (fourth and fifth from the left) and winemaking consultant Tom Payette (behind Pandit). Courtesy photo
Awaiting their congratulatory handshake from Gov. Terry McAuliffe at the Governor’s Cup gala in Richmond last month are Narmada Winery proprietors Sudha and Pandit Patil (fourth and fifth from the left) and winemaking consultant Tom Payette (behind Pandit).

When Governor Terry McAuliffe named Narmada Winery’s Yash-Vir 2010 to the Governor’s Case — a selection of the top 12 highest-scoring wines in the competition — at last month’s Governor’s Cup Virginia wine competition in Richmond, Narmada’s Pandit and Sudha Patil were both surprised and ecstatic.

“Being recognized at the Governor’s Cup Competition is quite an honor,” says winemaker Sudha Patil. “This is a giant step for us, and will hopefully get the word out that Narmada produces wines that can stand with the best in the Commonwealth.”  

Sudha is quick to share credit with her mentor, Jim Law of Linden Vineyards, whom she calls the “guru” of Virginia wine, and with winemaking consultant Tom Payette.

She also acknowledges the essential contribution of Narmada’s grower-partners. “Narmada depends on our grower-partners. In a climate as challenging and variable as in Virginia, it is important to be able to draw upon a varied supply of grapes originating in other regions of the commonwealth. In 2010, as a young winery waiting for our own vineyards to mature, we dedicated ourselves to sourcing exclusively Virginia fruit. Without the outstanding grapes we received from Breaux Vineyards and Wild Meadow in Loudoun, Benevino Vineyards in Stephens City, and DelFosse Vineyards in Faber, these gold medals would not have been possible.”

Sudha’s focus is to create graceful wines that are a true reflection of the character of the fruit. She describes her winemaking procedure: “Using the best quality grapes, diligent sorting of the berries, and maintaining proper chemistry of acidity and pH — all this is essential to the clean processing of the fruit which is critical from harvest through the aging process.”

For more information about the Amissville winery, email info@narmadawinery.com or call 540-937-8215.

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