Director Ron Maxwell at the podium
Tomorrow night (Friday, Oct. 9) at 8 p.m., the acclaimed film director Ron Maxwell will be the speaker in the Second Friday at the Library series, sponsored by the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community. The Flint Hill homeowner and feature filmmaker will talk about his Civil War trilogy — “Gettysburg,” “Gods and Generals” and “Copperhead” — and in particular about the challenges in telling historical stories.
Maxwell’s theme is the famous observation that “the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” But he says that there is no word in English that captures the gap between past and present. He calls his talk “Einfuhlen,” which is a German word for “the act of feeling one’s way into the past.” This is Maxwell’s particular quest, and CBS proclaimed his skill at stepping out of the present and into an alien world “awesome to behold.”
The talk is free. All are welcome. For more information, call Ed Dolnick at 301-246-0022.
A shot at a cool five grand at ChiliFest
The weather forecast for Sperryville look promising Saturday: Partly sunny and chili. Okay, that’s a joke not even Mark Russell would tell, but if it reminds you of the upcoming Rappahannock Lions annual fundraiser, so be it. The service club’s ChiliFest and Grand Raffle takes place this Saturday (Oct. 10) starting at 4 p.m. at the Sperryville fire hall. At press time, a handful of $100 tickets remain for one of 150 chances to win or split $5,000. One raffle ticket guarantees entry to the chili sampling from home and professional chefs. Raffle starts at 6 p.m. For raffle tickets, contact event chair Jim Manwaring at 540-987-8433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top-shelf jazz at the Theatre Oct. 17
Known as one of the world’s leading jazz singers, Stephanie Nakasian will take you on a voyage of vocal virtuosity that is reminiscent of the Great Ladies of Song, creating an atmosphere of romance and excitement to transport you to another place and time.
Nakasian performs at the Theatre at Washington at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17 with internationally acclaimed jazz pianist Hod O’Brien and his trio.
A prolific recording artist with 11 celebrated albums, including her recent “Billie Remembered” (featured on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross), Nakasian continues to perform live with ensemble, orchestra or in duo with her partner O’Brien, whom the New Yorker said in 2014 has “effectively guaranteed himself semi-legendary status.”
Jazz fans revel in the opportunity to experience O’Brien’s spirited tempos and seasoned pure style. The trio’s bassist, Tommy Cecil, has been active in the Washington, D.C. jazz scene since 1976, and is one of the most in-demand players in the area; he has long associations with many of D.C.’s favorite jazz greats, including John Eaton, Buck Hill, Charlie Byrd, Dick Morgan, Shirley Horn, Brooks Tegler and the Redd Brothers. Drummer Chuck Redd is an accomplished performer on both drums and vibraphone. He began performing and recording internationally when he joined the Charlie Byrd Trio in 1980 at age 21. That year, he also joined the Great Guitars (Barney Kessel, Charlie Byrd and Herb Ellis). To his credit are 13 extensive European tours and five tours of Japan, with the Barney Kessel Trio, Ken Peplowski, Terry Gibbs and Conte Candoli. He served as Artist-In-Residence at The Smithsonian Jazz Café in D.C. from 2004 to 2008.
Tickets for the Oct. 17 show ($25, $10 for students 17 and younger) are available at theatrewashingtonva.com or 540-675-1253.
Kid Pan Alley awarded Loeb Foundation grant
“Kids make the greatest co-writers, especially when you are writing songs for kids,” says Kid Pan Alley’s founder, songwriter and composer Paul Reisler. Reisler and Kid Pan Alley songwriter Heather Mae will be writing nine songs with Chris Yung Elementary School next week (Oct. 13-16) — and now four of the original songs will be arranged and performed with the kids and the Manassas Symphony Orchestra on Dec. 12 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.
The Jesse & Rose Loeb Foundation has awarded a $6,700 grant to support the community project. The foundation carries on the Loebs’ vision — to use the resource to benefit the citizens of Fauquier County and surrounding communities. Kid Pan Alley’s mission is to inspire and empower children to work together to become creators of their own music and to rekindle creativity as a core value in education through the group songwriting process.
The naming of Chris Yung Elementary School followed a groundswell of public support from across Prince William County, and a unanimous school board decision as a tribute to Officer Chris Yung of the Prince William County Police. Yung was characteristically rushing to aid others when a motorcycle accident tragically took his life at the age of 35.
Mark your calendars for Dec. 12 at the George Mason Hylton Performing Arts Center for the premiere concert. Concert time is 3:30 p.m.; children get in free. To purchase tickets, visit manassassymphony.org or hyltoncenter.org. More about Kid Pan Alley at kidpanalley.org.
Russell’s sharp eye on Washington (both of them)
Denmark gave birth to the talented and renowned Victor Borge, accomplished pianist, comedian, and beloved entertainer. So too, the U.S. of A. gave birth to Mark Russell, the political satirist known for his searing, no-one-is-spared wit; an artist who delights audiences with his marvelously entertaining lyrics, sung as he masterfully plays the piano. Last Saturday (Oct. 3), he held court to a rapt and super-appreciative audience at the Theater at Washington.
Russell celebrates a sort of “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” style, wherein he characteristically embraces local lore and current events. His humor can therefore be up close and personal — and hilarious. While navigating recent political minefields, peals of laughter ensued as he deftly poked fun. “Talking about Washington, how about all that infighting, backstabbing and political intrigue?” he said, and paused a beat. “And then, of course, there’s Washington, D.C.” The laughter and applause was thunderous.
Russell is 83, and says he attempted to retire several years ago, traveling and enjoying his family. As is often the case with the uber-talented, retirement isn’t part of their repertoire. He’s come back, and indeed PBS will be will be carrying a 30-year retrospective of his work, “Mark Russell’s America,” during October and November. Thank you, Mr. Russell. Looking forward already to your visit next year.
— Chris Doxzen
Four men, five or six strings and a sense of humor
Three brothers and their cousin — four world-class musicians playing five- and six-stringed electric violins, viola and cello — bring their truly original show to Culpeper County High School at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday (Oct. 10). The show highlights Stringfever’s unique, acclaimed version of Ravel’ s “Bolero” and their audience challenge to play Name That Tune as they race through 20 of the best-loved film themes in one breathless arrangement. Their helter-skelter James Bond medley is an absolute killer. And the show ends with Stringfever’s breathtaking signature finale, “The History of Music . . . in 5 Minutes.”. Charisma, humor, energy and a distinctive use of custom-made Violectra instruments create an experience that can only be described as . . . Stringfever.
Tickets ($25, $10 students) at 540-972-7117 or at the door. The concert is a presentation of Stage Alive, a local all-volunteer, nonprofit community organization serving seven Virginia counties from Rappahannock and Fauquier to Louisa. More at stagealive.org.