Kid Pan Alley: It’s back
Composer and performer Paul Reisler’s songwriting-with-kids juggernaut, which started modestly here in his home county a decade ago, is back in town for songwriting residencies the first few weeks of this month at Rappahannock Elementary, Hearthstone, Wakefield and Mountain Laurel Montessori schools — along with older adults from Rappahannock’s Senior Center.
The intergenerational “Across the Ages” residencies conclude with a free concert with the students, seniors, Reisler and the fabulous seven-piece Kid Pan Alley Band on Friday, March 18 at 7 p.m. at Rappahannock County Elementary School. Call 540-322-3615 or visit kidpanalley.org for more details.
Meanwhile, Reisler performs next Friday (March 11) and Saturday (March 12) with his other band, A Thousand Questions — which features Howard Levy of the Flecktones, singer Amy Speace and percussionist Joe Craven, formerly with the David Grisman Quartet. The March 11 concert at Richmond’s Rhythm Hall is a benefit for Kid Pan programs in the capital; tickets are $25 ($30 at the door), available through Ticketmaster or at 800-745-3000. The March 12 is at Culpeper’s Hazel River Armory, and benefits the State Theatre Foundation; call 540-727-7979.
Cooter’s back, too — and he’s bringing a bunch of friends
If history is any guide, expect at least a few thousand folks — “Dukes of Hazzard” diehards and others just looking for a fun family time in the country — at this summer’s “Hazzard Homecoming,” which Rappahannock’s Ben “Cooter” Jones and his wife, publicity and event-planning maven Alma Viator, announced last week they’ll be hosting on the grounds of Sperryville’s Link.
Catherine Bach, who played Daisy in the TV series, will be there along with other stars of the show — and that includes the automotive star known as General Lee.
The event is Aug. 13 and 14.
“We started the ’DukesFest’ events here 10 years ago,” said Jones. “But it outgrew Sperryville [where Jones and Viator operated Cooter’s Place country store for several years] and eventually ended up with nearly 100,000 fans in Nashville at the old NASCAR track. The event continued to grow, and in 2007 we bequeathed it to John Schneider (Bo Duke). John has been too busy to continue ‘DukesFest’ for the last couple of years, and we want to get back to our roots here.”
Jones, of course, played Cooter in the iconic 1970s show and also served as a U.S. congressman — and where else would someone with such a history set down roots but in Rappahannock?
“We want to make it a beneficial event for local organizations,” Jones said. “So we’ll ask the fire and rescue folks to have booths or tents, maybe have a fundraiser for the high school band. We’re still working on all that.”
In the first three days the event was announced, says Jones, 39 owners of restored General Lees — bright orange race-ready 1969 Dodge Chargers — signed up to be on display at the event. James Best (Rosco P. Coltrane), Sonny Shroyer (Deputy Enos) and Rick Hurst (Deputy Cletus) are also coming.
Details at 615-872-8358 or cootersplace.com.
‘Fiddler on the [Blue] Roof’
Under that distinctive blue roof at Belle Meade School is where you’ll find two student performances of “Fiddler on the Roof” this Friday evening and Saturday afternoon (March 4-5). Tickets are still available and a choice of soups for a light supper will be offered theatergoers ahead of the performance — cost is $15 for adults, $10 for students. (Visit bellemeadeschool.org or call 540-987-8970.)
Director Kristin Hauger and Head of School Susan Hoffman were looking for a meaningful project to “bring the school together with a sense of purpose” and chose the haunting, memorable musical theater story to engage and involve the students.
Students, staff, faculty and parents, who became enchanted with the film version and sound track for the show, joined together, collaborating to make a staged performance of at the school possible. They built sets, created authentic period costumes, and learned the songs and their lines — all the while raising funds to make the show a reality.
The story of “Fiddler on the Roof” follows a poor Jewish family headed by Tevye, a milkman, in a small Russian town shortly before the Russian Revolution. The family strives to maintain its traditions in the face of massive social change. The three oldest daughters find themselves challenging the authority of their father to choose them husbands through a matchmaker; Tevye, who loves his daughters, must choose either to follow the old ways or honor their choices.
At Belle Meade, Jordan Logan, grade 11, plays the lead role of the Jewish patriarch. Jordan’s powerful presence, strong voice, and ability to become the character won him to role. Jordan portrays Tevye with great emotional depth, revealing a man steeped in tradition who loves his family and his village, and who has no choice but to adapt to the changing world around him.
Natalie Bosch, a ninth grade student who has attended Belle Meade for three years, plays the part of Tevye’s wife, Golde. Golde is a dominant force in her family, and Natalie does an excellent job of portraying the character’s strength. Natalie’s lovely voice and acting skill won her the part.
Lily Endre and Eliot Caldwell, both in grade nine, play Tzeitel and Motel, a young couple who fall in love and wish to get married, despite the fact that Tzeitel has been promised to an older man by the matchmaker. Both students are strong actors, and both bring a combination of strength and sensitivity to their roles.
Emma Dee Endre, grade 7, portrays Yente the matchmaker on Friday night (Destiny Waag, grade 8, plays the role on Saturday). Emma also plays a clarinet solo with the orchestra. Emma’s dramatic flair and comic timing highlight her brash, hilarious Yente.
Kristiana Krebs-Turner, an eighth grade student, plays middle daughter Hodel, who falls in love with a revolutionary and leaves her home to join him in Siberia. Kristiana’s soprano voice suits the part perfectly, and she sings Hodel’s powerful solo “Far From the Home I Love” beautifully.
Susan Hoffman said, “Everyone at Belle Meade wants to express our sincere thanks to the community at large, which has shown its support for this ambitious musical theater performance by purchasing ads in the show program. In addition, the school received a generous grant to support the production from the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community.”
Caution: Bridge closing
The bridge over the Rush River on Route 622 (Harris Hollow Road) will be closed on March 14, says Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) spokesman Lou Hatter. The structure, 2.5 miles west of the town of Washington, will be closed for 30 days so the superstructure — the steel beams and wooden decking — can be replaced with a cast concrete structure. The bridge was built in 1975, and is part of a $9 million VDOT contract to replace 23 structurally deficient bridges in VDOT’s Culpeper, Staunton and Northern Virginia districts, Hatter said.
During the closure, traffic on the other side of the bridge is going to have to go deeper into the hollow to Gid Brown Hollow Road and take U.S. 211 back east to town.
A parade of Irish stamps
Lee Morrison, postmaster of the Flint Hill post office, will display his extensive collection of Irish stamps as a special feature of the Rappahannock County Lions Club’s annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Morrison, a lifelong stamp collector, will display stamps of Ireland dating back to 1922, plus stamps honoring Ireland’s patron saint and two Irish-American U.S. presidents, John F. Kennedy and Andrew Jackson.
The event will be held at The Link Community Center in Sperryville on Saturday, March 12. A St. Patrick’s Day parade will march down Main Street starting at 11:30 a.m., followed at noon by a traditional Irish luncheon, with Irish music and step dancing, at The Link. Tickets for the program at the Link, at $15 each, may be purchased at The Corner Store in Sperryville or at Union Bank on U.S. 211. Contact Jim Gannon at 540-675-3657 for more information.