The Rapp for Feb. 23

It’s Fourth (Estate) Friday again

Come brainstorm with Rappahannock News staff at Sperryville’s Thornton River Grille at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning (Friday, Feb. 24) for our Fourth (Estate) Friday, an open-to-all “story conference” meeting held on the fourth Friday of every month. Bring suggested story topics, submissions and ideas for both the newspaper and the website. We invite your criticism, and will surely address your concerns. We think the genial back-and-forth of first two meet-ups have improved our newspaper. Tell us what you think, help us do better and get to know the faces behind the headlines!

St. Patrick is in the building

Stained glass portrait of St. Patrick by Patti Brennan.
Stained glass portrait of St. Patrick by Patti Brennan.

Sperryville artist Patti Brennan has created a beautiful, custom-designed stained-glass window of St. Patrick to be raffled off at the fourth annual Lions Club St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on Saturday, March 10. The artwork, with brilliant colors and intricate Celtic designs – Brennan estimates its retail value at over $1,400 – was commissioned by the Lions Club for the raffle to raise funds for the Lions’ many community projects. “We are thrilled to have this one-of-a-kind art treasure to raffle at our annual St. Patrick’s celebration,” said Jim Gannon, chairman of the event.

This year’s event starts at noon March 10 at the Sperryville fire hall. A traditional St. Patrick’s Day luncheon of Irish stew and corned beef and cabbage will be served, with traditional Irish music played by King Golden Banshee, the Charlottesville band that’s performed at this event for the past three years. At $15 each, tickets for the luncheon and entertainment are on sale at the Sperryville Corner Store and Union First Market Bank on U.S. 211, and they go early.

The window will be on display through Sunday at Goodine’s Designs on Main Street in Washington and next week through March 9 in Sperryville at the Monkey Business shop in the Sperryville School House. It measures 19.5 inches square in a mahogany frame, ready for hanging. Brennan’s stained glass work is well known in Rappahannock County, where she has lived and worked for 29 years, doing numerous commissions and such major projects as all windows in Macedonia Baptist Church in Flint Hill.

The raffle drawing is at the March 10 lunch but ticket-buyers need not be present. Raffle tickets are $20 each and will be on sale where the window is displayed at Goodine’s and Monkey Business. Raffle tickets also are available from Lions Club members and at the lunch. For St. Patrick’s lunch tickets, call 540-675-3657 or email

Gannon noted that there will be no St. Patrick’s Day parade this year due to the change in location, which was caused by a fire at the former Link community center, site of the last two St. Patrick’s lunches. The fire hall is considerably smaller, so tickets will probably sell out, he said. Raffle tickets for the stained glass window are available to anyone, attending the event or not.

Improve your skills through improv

Gary Jacobs
Courtesy photo
Gary Jacobs

Shake off the winter and greet the spring with an activity that brings out your freshness and spontaneity. Encourage your inner creativity. Attend the RAAC Community Theatre Improv Workshop; get some practice in thinking on your feet, and have a terrifically good time.

On March 23-24, Gary Jacobs – a veteran artist with 28 years teaching, producing and directing improv – will return to RAAC Theatre for a two-part workshop. (Jacobs ran a popular improv workshop there last February.)

Improv is a form of acting in which performers spontaneously create dialogue, setting and plot out of a situation, set of words or suggestion from a leader or, in a performance setting, the audience. It’s great training for actors and for writers and terrific fun for anyone. At the workshop, Gary will guide you through the process. You will gain confidence in your creativity, your ability to perform without script or preconception, and your skill at thinking on your feet. Most important, you will have a great time in a completely non-threatening setting.

Writers and actors use improvisation to help with their work, but improv isn’t just for folks in the arts, though. It helps anyone learn to respond to the unpredictable with poise and imagination. As they learn improv techniques, participants find they have untapped reservoirs of words, gestures, emotions and creativity that can be accessed more or less instantaneously. The workshop will be in two parts, both held at the RAAC Community Theatre.

Friday, March 23, 7 to 9:30 p.m., is an introduction for first-timers and a review for those who’ve had some experience. The cost for Friday is $15. Saturday, March 24, from 10 to 5, will be a full day of improv learning and doing. (There will be a short BYO lunch break.) The cost for Saturday is $50. Participants must be high school age or older. You may register for either or both sessions. The cost for both is $65.

To register, send an email to giving the names of those registering, and whether attending Friday, Saturday or both, or call 540-675-3193.

RAAC movie March 2: ‘J. Edgar’

Leonardo Dicaprio and Armie Hammer in "J. Edgar."
Leonardo Dicaprio and Armie Hammer in "J. Edgar."

The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and Community (RAAC) will be showing the film “J. Edgar” at 8 p.m. Friday, March 2, at the Theatre at Washington. The film stars Arnie Hammer, Naomi Watts and Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director who was the face of law enforcement in America for almost 50 years, who was feared, admired, reviled and revered. Admission is $6 ($4 students). For more information, including a review of the film, visit

The season’s last Smithsonian show

The closing concert in this 20th season of the Smithsonian at Little Washington series – at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 3 at the Theatre at Washington – opens with three trios by Joseph Haydn and concludes with Mozart’s Trio in B-flat Major.

Haydn’s three trios were dedicated to Rebecca Schroeter, widow of the piantist Johann Samuel Schroeter (whom the 18th-century music historian Charles Burney cited as “the first who brought into England the true art of treating the piano”) The works to be performed March 3 are the Trio in D Major, Hob. XV: 24; Trio in F-sharp Minor, Hob. XV: 26; and Trio in G Major, Hob. XV: 25, “with Gypsy Rondo.”

Performers are the Smithsonian Chamber Players: violinist Ian Swensen; cellist Loretta O’Sullivan and fortepianist Kenneth Slowik.

Slowik, artistic director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, includes in his background to the Haydn works that “Rebecca Schroeter became an ardent fan of Haydn, and perhaps more, as evidenced by a series of letters . . . .” The trios Haydn dedicated to here were among the very last compositions he wrote before leaving England for the second (and last) time in the summer of 1795.

Tickets are $25 ($10 for students 17 and younger). For reservations, call 540-675-1253 or email

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