Castleton’s ‘Our Town’ and Beethoven weekend
The Castleton Festival’s second weekend includes a classical-concert tribute to its late founder Lorin Maazel and a new production of Thornton Wilder’s classic “Our Town,” directed by Maazel’s widow, and the festival’s CEO and artistic director, Dietlinde Turban Maazel.
At 2 p.m. Sunday (July 12) at Castleton’s Festival Theatre, 2015 principal conductor Rafael Payare conducts the Castleton Festival Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 — and the world premiere of “Echoes of a Solitary Voice,” a fragment of a composition Maazel began working on shortly before his death last summer, which his wife asked American composer Wayne Oquin to finish.
“[When Dietlinde asked me] . . . I felt honored, humbled, and terrified,” said Oquin. “It soon became apparent that despite the Maestro’s renown as a conductor, he was greatly under-appreciated as the creator of a substantial body of highly original compositions. Though ‘Echoes of a Solitary Voice’ is my own, every aspect of its origins can be traced to Maazel’s sketches and fragment. . . . The result is a tribute to another facet of a great genius of our time: Lorin Maazel, the composer.”
Beethoven’s Ninth, among the most recognizable and well-loved pieces of classical music, contains the soaring “Ode to Joy.” Meant as a tribute to Maazel on Sunday, it will feature the voices of several renowned soloists: soprano Alessandra Marc, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, tenor Stanford Olsen and baritone Eduardo Chama.
“Our Town,” with performances in Castleton’s 140-seat Theatre House at 8 tonight (Thursday, July 9), at 11 a.m. Saturday (July 11) and 2 p.m. the following Saturday, July 18, is directed by Dietlinde Maazel and features the participants of the Castleton Artists Training Seminar (CATS).
“In a time when we seem so dependent on machines,” Maazel says, “ ‘Our Town’ reminds us gently of the ‘simple’ way of life. The play’s message is beautifully expressed by the character of Emily, when she says ‘Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?’ ”
Five Rappahannock County residents, including three children and adults Hugh Hill and Richard Viguerie, are among the cast of CATS participants. Jonathan Dauermann plays the Stage Manager, who narrates the action throughout the play; he also appeared as Frère Jean in this season’s “Roméo et Juliette.” Zoe Hart and Jonathan Bryan are Emily and George, the couple whose life story is the main focus.
Tickets for “Our Town” at Theatre House are $20 to $40. Tickets to the July 12 Beethoven concert and tribute to Lorin Maazel are $20 to $65. Contact the box office at 866-974-0767 or castletonfestival.org.
Chef Patrick O’Connell and his Inn at Little Washington came in at the top of Modern Luxury DC magazine’s latest restaurant issue, taking the No. 1 spot in the magazine’s “The 50 Finest” list.Calling the Inn “a Brigadoon of civility and refinement to be experienced at least once in a lifetime,” the magazine’s David Hagedorn had nothing but good to say about O’Connell’s new tasting menu, the Inn’s comprehensively “chic cheek” design (built over the last three decades by O’Connell and London designer Joyce Conwy Evans) and the Inn’s “remarkable staff” — a top-of-the-line hospitality crew that is “everywhere and nowhere, invisible as a refreshing breeze.”
‘The Shape of Water’ at RDA Saturday
There’s an opening artists’ reception for “The Shape of Water,” a juried exhibit of 20 artists works in all mediums, from 3 to 5 p.m. this Saturday (July 11) at River District Arts’ Confluent Gallery. The show continues through Aug. 30 at RDA (open 11 to 6 Friday-Sunday at 3 River Lane, Sperryville). For more information, call 540-987-8770 or visit riverdistrictarts.org.
Reisler trio performs in Culpeper Friday
Paul Reisler, the Rappahannock musician and composer who’s now written more songs than the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Stephen Foster combined (thanks to the more than 3,500 compositions he’s co-written with schoolchildren through his traveling Kid Pan Alley residencies), brings some of that music to the Library of Congress Packard Theatre in Culpeper at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, July 10) in a free concert featuring Marshall Keys on sax and vocalist Lea Morris.
Reisler was the leader of Trapezoid and is Kid Pan Alley’s founder; for more about the Culpeper concert, visit bit.ly/packard15. (The trio also plays Middleburg in a Bluemont Concert Series date at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18.)
Rappahannock residents going solar
Neighbors in Rappahannock County have formed a solar co-op, leveraging their collective buying power to go solar together and get a discount off the installation price. Started in the spring, the solar co-op has quickly grown to 50 members, according to a spokeperson for VA SUN, which last week issued a request for proposals from local solar installers.
Co-op membership is still open to homes and businesses in Rappahannock County, where the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection has led recruitment efforts for the co-op.
“Rappahannock County is excited to go solar,” said RLEP’s president, Rick Kohler. “We are all interested in efficient ways to save money. Going solar with your neighbors is a great way to do so, and we look forward to making Rappahannock County ever greener and more natural.”
VA SUN is a nonprofit that helps make solar more affordable and accessible. It has worked with almost a dozen solar co-ops in Virginia. It helped 144 homes go solar; it says it’s saved Virginia residents $396,000 in just the past year. VA SUN provides technical assistance to co-op members as they review all of the bids the group receives, so that the group can make the best decision for its members.
“The VA SUN co-op process is efficient and manageable,” said Larry Wohlers, RLEP and co-op member who originated this process for Rappahannock residents. “I feel confident in the bidding process and look forward to going solar.”
Joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels. Now that the the group is large enough, VA SUN is helping the co-op solicit competitive bids from area solar installers. The co-op members will select a single company to complete all of the installations. Co-op members will then have the option to purchase panels based upon the installer’s offer individually. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, each participant generally saves up to 20 percent off the cost of their system and has the assistance of VA SUN to help navigate the process.
Rappahannock County residents interested in joining can learn more and sign up at on the co-op’s website.
VDOT’s bridge work in Harris Hollow
This Monday (July 13), the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to close Route 622 (Harris Hollow Road) to repair the aged bridge that spans the Rush River. The bridge is about two miles west of Route 625 (Mt. Marshall Road).
A VDOT crew will replace the existing bridge, built in 1963 — a job that involves removing the bridge’s existing superstructure, reinforcing the abutments and installing new precast concrete slabs with asphalt overlay.
While the road is closed, eastbound motorists should use Route 622 to Main Street in the town of Washington to reach U.S. 211/522 (Lee Highway). Westbound motorists will use Route 622 to reach 211/522. Driveway access will be maintained during the closure.
Weather permitting, the work is expected to be complete and the road reopened to traffic on Thursday, July 23. Approximately 230 vehicles use this portion of Route 622 daily, according to a 2013 count.