The Rapp for Aug. 20

From his Sunday slideshow at the library: Amrit Tamang (center, light-colored shirt) poses with family and village residents before putting to use some of the supplies Rappahannock residents helped pay for. Courtesy photo
From his Sunday slideshow at the library: Amrit Tamang (center, light-colored shirt) poses with family and village residents before putting to use some of the supplies Rappahannock residents helped pay for.

Earthquake update

Amrit Tamang hauls rice to his family's earthquake-damaged village in Nepal.Courtesy photo
Amrit Tamang hauls rice to his family’s earthquake-damaged village in Nepal.

Amrit Tamang, RCHS Class of 2014, probably has a few more compelling summer-vacation stories to tell than some of his classmates when he returns to George Mason University for his sophomore year at the end of the month. Before that, he’ll be telling some of these stories this Sunday evening (Aug. 23) at the Rappahannock Library, along with a slide presentation of his relief efforts and the status of his extended family and their two villages in a remote area of Nepal affected by the earthquakes this spring.

Amrit and his parents, Surja Tamang and Medge Carter, also said they wanted to thank the Rappahannock community again “for their amazing, generous support that made these and planned, future efforts possible,” as Carter emailed this week. “Please join us on Sunday, August 23 at 7 p.m. in the Rappahannock Library (Chairs! Air conditioning! No mosquitoes!) for this update,” she added.

Sustainable landscaping, anyone?

Lobelia cardinalis, aka cardinal flower, aka the hummingbird magnet, is among the native plants cultivated at Hill House Nursery in Castleton.Courtesy photo
Lobelia cardinalis, aka cardinal flower, aka the hummingbird magnet, is among the native plants cultivated at Hill House Nursery in Castleton.

Fall is almost here, a good time to plant many native perennials and shrubs that can provide a sanctuary for wildlife. The Piedmont Environmental Council is sponsoring a free Sustainable Landscaping workshop (and plant sale) on Aug. 29 to help.

Hill House Farm and Native Plant Nursery will also have a variety of native plants for sale after the workshop. The workshop (1 p.m.) and native plant sale (3 p.m.) are at Lord Fairfax Community College (6480 College St., Warrenton).

Experts from Fauquier Master Gardeners, Virginia Department of Forestry, Prince William Conservation Alliance and Hill House Nursery will share information about yard care practices, suburban tree care and maintenance, use of native plants, and other landscaping practices that benefit wildlife and the environment.

Space is limited; the event’s free but registration is required (pecva.org/events). For more information, contact PEC’s Julie Bolthouse at jbolthouse@pecva.org or 540-347-2334.

All-woman jazz orchestra kicks off Castleton in Performance

Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes kick off the Castleton in Performance season on Sept. 20 at the intimate Castleton Theatre House.Courtesy photo
Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes kick off the Castleton in Performance season on Sept. 20 at the intimate Castleton Theatre House.

Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes, the only all-women jazz orchestra in the Washington, D.C., area, kicks off the fall-winter season of Castleton in Performance at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, with a concert ranging from big-band renditions of jazz classics to world premieres of new music at Castleton’s Theatre House.

Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes is a full jazz orchestra composed completely of women, a group that came together in 2010. Since that time, they’ve been entertaining audiences with jazz sounds of the past, present and future. The concert will benefit the music department of Fauquier High School, in Warrenton, enabling the school and its 150 student musicians to benefit from new sheet music, guest conductors and master classes.

The concert at Castleton includes old-time favorites and new music, “which might even include a new tune composed on the spot,” Gunn says. The former includes tunes made famous by Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Thad Jones. The latter is by composers from D.C., New York and Australia, including compositions by band members as well as groove arrangements of popular tunes, such as an arrangement of a Radiohead tune that switches between 12/8 and 10/8 each measure.

“Our group is all about mentoring women and young people in jazz,” says Gunn. “We want to uplift women in jazz, to create networking opportunities for female and young jazz performers, and to provide inspiring role models for the future generations of jazz.”

“Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes have a way of bringing together generations of jazz-loving audience members and of attracting new, young audiences to this classic American style of music,” says Burnett Thompson, director of programming for Castleton in Performance.

Trombonist and bandleader Gunn is also heard on stage frequently with Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra and has performed with Harry Watters, Jim Carroll, Kenny Rittenhouse, Billy Taylor, Wycliffe Gordon and other jazz greats. She is the music technology teacher at Woodbridge Senior High School in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Castleton in Performance’s 2015-2016 season includes an Oct. 11 show by Margaret Leng Tan — named “queen of the toy piano” by the New York Times — performing on toy pianos and all manner of toy instruments. Nov. 8 brings the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, joined by Ellington biographer Edward Hasse, in a multi-media performance about the life, times and music of Duke Ellington.

Tickets for the Sept 20 benefit concert ($20 to $40) available at 866-974-0767 or castletonfestival.org.

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