The Rapp for April 7

Brian Mallon as General Hancock in 1993’s "Gettysburg"

Civil War poems and familiar faces

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, actor Brian Mallon, who played General Hancock in the movie “Gettysburg” and also acted in “Gods and Generals,” will join Rappahannock’s own Ben “Cooter” Jones and director-screenwriter Ron Maxwell (who directed both those films), plus students of Rappahannock County High School, for dramatic readings of poems from the Civil War era next month.

The Civil War has been remembered by photographers, historians, painters, novelists, composers and filmmakers. But perhaps no artistic endeavor has evoked the profound sadness, elation, excitement and tragedy of this epochal event as the collected works of our own American poets.

Thus poems by Stephen Vincent Benet, Stephen Crane, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Robert Penn Warren and John Greenleaf Whittier will be featured in the readings, which start at 7:30 Saturday, May 7 at Rappahannock County High School’s auditorium. A buffet reception follows the readings, which is the first event sponsored by the Rappahannock County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee.

Tickets to the poetry reading are $45 and can be purchased (through May 4) at or from Kelly Settle at Union First Market Bank. Proceeds will be used to support future Rappahannock County Sesquicentennial events.

From left, sculpture by Linda Tarry, self-portraits by Will Mullany and Katie Brown, and watercolor by Sandra Varney on display at Middle Street Gallery. Photo by Gary Anthes.

Art abounds in April

Thanks to Trinity Episcopal Church and Middle Street Gallery, there will be a shower of art in town on April 16, Fodderstack 10K race day. (If luck holds, that will be the day’s only shower.)

The Middle Street Gallery is holding its first Spring Arts Festival during the month, wherein the nonprofit cooperative of regional artists will exhibit works of 18 members, 11 students from Rappahannock County schools and 20 regional artists. On Saturday, April 16, the festival includes an extended open house from noon to 6, with tents in front of the gallery next to the Inn at Little Washington featuring music, light food and wine. At 3 and 4:30, the folk-oriented women of Mandalele will perform.

The gallery hopes that this will be the first in a tradition of annual spring festivals — honoring the area’s artists, musicians and artisans — to be organized with other local art galleries. “I have spoken informally to a few other gallery owners and there is a lot of enthusiasm for the idea,” said Patti Brennan, president of the Middle Street Gallery.

The same day, and extending into Sunday, just across the street from the gallery, Trinity Episcopal Church will holds is first-ever arts and crafts show and auction from noon to 5 both days.

Seventeen professional and 11 emerging artists will be showing off their talents at the event, which concludes with a 6 p.m. auction and reception Sunday.

Ceramics by Merrill Strange will be available at Trinity Episcopal Church's art show.

“A family affair” is the best way to describe a group of artists participating in Trinity’s show. Five members of Amissville’s Laing family will be exhibiting wine stoppers, paper-cut ornaments, handmade soap, photography and paintings. Merrill Strange, whose ceramic works are given as Fodderstack trophies, will contribute works to the show as well as her husband, Phillip Strange, who’ll contribute works in wood. More about the show in next week’s paper.

For information about the Trinity event, call 540-631-0821. For more on Middle Street, call 540-675-3440 or visit

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