The Rapp for May 17

This weekend’s events

A few happenings this weekend (additional information and several other event listings can be found in the Rapp Happenings calendar):

This year’s Miss Rappahannock Pageant, the annual benefit for Sperryville Volunteer Rescue Squad, starts at 3 p.m. Saturday at Rappahannock County Elementary School. The annual Rappahannock County Relay for Life weekend walkathon to raise anti-cancer research funds and fighting spirit, is at Rappahannock County High School track from 6 p.m. Saturday till Sunday morning.

On Sunday, the Rappahannock Historical Society sponsors a dedication of the Civil War Trails marker commemorating “The Rappahannock Old Guard,” at the Rappahannock County Visitors Center (7 Library Road, Washington). The local “Old Guard” unit, as the 6th Virginia Cavalry, Company B, was known, played a major role in the battle at Front Royal, which was 150 years ago this May 23. Contact the society at 540-675-1163 or

That lush Pennsylvania bluegrass

Remington Ryde
Courtesy photo
Remington Ryde

“The best bluegrass from Pennsylvania” –  at least that’s what Ryan Frankhouser calls the music played by Remington Ryde, the band performing at 8 p.m. Saturday (May 19) at the Theatre in Washington.

Remington Ryde is led by Frankhouser, who plays guitar and sings lead vocals. Other members of the band are Billy Lee Cox on banjo, Dan Stewart on mandolin and Wally Yoder on bass.

Based in Pennsylvania, the band performs an average of 150 dates annually throughout the United States. Together more than 10 years, Remington Ryde describes its performances as “good traditional bluegrass along with some comedy completing the show.”

Tickets for the performance at the Theatre (291 Gay St.) are $20 ($10 for students 17 and younger). For reservations, call 540-675-1253 or email

Learn the “future of farming”

The registration deadline for a future-farming reception at the Sperryville Schoolhouse is May 24. Holistic Management International (HMI) is hosting a free town-hall reception 7-9 p.m. May 31 to introduce the 2012 Future Farms and Ranches Upper Piedmont program to area farmers. Meet most of HMI’s 13 Rappahannock County 2011 program participants and hear how they improved sales, cut costs, saved time and improved social interactions on their farms, while practicing sustainable agriculture. Sylvie Rowand and Laughing Duck Gardens will provide fresh local food for the reception. To register (required), visit before May 24.

Fighting invasive plants?

Left uncontrolled, non-native invasive plants like kudzu and tree-of-heaven can quickly dominate landscapes that would otherwise be home to a wide variety of native species that better support pollinators and other wildlife. Learning how to control invasive plants can create fields, woods and waterways that are more beautiful, diverse and full of life – from bees, butterflies and birds to larger animals. So, how can landowners stop invasive plants from taking over?

A May 21 daylong workshop at Airlie Center in Warrenton will explore ways to effectively take on the challenge of managing invasive plants. Expert speakers will discuss why invasive plants are a major issue and address their impacts on our farms and neighborhoods. They will present a range of options for controlling them – from chemical herbicides to grazing by voracious goats! In the afternoon, sessions will target problem species including garlic mustard, autumn olive, tree-of-heaven and fescue grass.

The workshop is sponsored by Sacharuna Foundation, the Piedmont Environmental Council, United Plant Savers and Virginia Working Landscapes.

The cost is $75 per person, including full day sessions and lunch. Scholarships are available for those who need them. You can register online at .

Bon voyage, Mullany mural No. 2!

Rappahannock artist Tom Mullany with a finished mural headed for the Winery at Bull Run.
David Hilty
Rappahannock artist Tom Mullany with a finished mural headed for the Winery at Bull Run.

Local artist, Tom Mullany hosted a viewing and send-off party for a recently completed mural for The Winery at Bull Run, slated to open in June. This is the second major mural that Mullany’s completed this year at Bruce Vierling’s warehouse in Flint Hill, which has great accommodations for projects of this size.

The mural (6 feet by 20 feet, oil on canvas) portrays the morning of the First Battle of Bull Run, as picnickers are arriving from the city and some fighting has just begun on distant hills and fields. The majority of the scene depicts beautiful farmland as it might have looked before the war ravaged it.

The painting was dry enough this week to remove from its stretcher and carefully rolled onto a large cylinder to be shipped to the winery, near the center of Manassas Battlefield Park, where it will be permanently affixed to the main wall of the tasting room.

Scrabble students return 80 years later

Sisters Louise Harrison Jackson, left, and Gladys Harrison Gourdine of Culpeper visited Scrabble School and enjoyed the day in their elementary school of more than 80 years ago.
Courtesy photo
Sisters Louise Harrison Jackson, left, and Gladys Harrison Gourdine of Culpeper visited Scrabble School and enjoyed the day in their elementary school of more than 80 years ago.

It was more than a building to Louise Harrison Jackson and her sister Gladys Harrison Gourdine, who at ages 7 and 5, respectively, walked to school from their home on the Charles Browning farm in Woodville. Each weekday, Louise and Gladys walked through the fields, “watching for snakes” and avoiding the briars, to get to school. The two former students of Scrabble School in the Woodville/Castleton area came back May 2 to their first school after 80 years. In 1927, a school bus was not available for them, although they do remember “the white kids riding past.”  They recalled liking their teacher and that they learned “some.”  

The girls were sad when their family had to move to Culpeper in 1932, where they both reside today.  Gladys’ daughter, Ruby Carter, and daughter-in-law, Joyce Gourdine, arranged the tour of the school in part to learn more about their mother and aunt in their early years, and to allow Louise (92) and Gladys (90) a trip down memory lane before celebrating their birthdays this Spring. The sisters sat at student desks similar to those they had when attending Scrabble School and reviewed the history exhibit about the school. It was a great way for the sisters to acknowledge “May Day” that was an annual event in the school calendar.  

Louise attends Shiloh Baptist Church in Woodville. Gladys, also a member of Shiloh, attends the Family Community Church in Culpeper. The Scrabble School Preservation Foundation is the sponsor of the Rappahannock African-American Heritage Center located in the Scrabble School. The public can view the permanent display by a self tour 10-2, Monday through Thursday – and by appointment for a guided tour and discussion of the school’s history, its restoration and future plans for telling the Scrabble Story. The Foundation invites alumni of Scrabble School to add to the school’s history and story. For more information, visit the website

– Bob Lander

Shenandoah National Park hosts regional conference

Shenandoah National Park and its neighboring communities will host a one-day conference from 9-3 p.m. next Thursday (May 24), titled  “Connecting for Prosperity – Charting the Future Together,” at James Madison University in Harrisonburg. The workshop-style conference will include presentations by guest panelists, case studies and facilitated discussions to help identify the region’s shared goals and to build an awareness of the economic potential for the area.

“The 75th Anniversary celebration in 2011 was an exciting year for the park and surrounding communities. We experienced enhanced relationships and communication among the park, our surrounding communities, and partners as a result of the celebration,” said Superintendent Martha Bogle. “Our goal with the conference is to continue this momentum and to begin discussions about the next 75 years.”

The keynote address at the conference will be presented by Catharine Gilliam, founder of Community Collaboration. Gilliam has extensive experience with national nonprofit organizations and has served as a consultant on many Gateway Community projects to build partnerships between communities and their national park neighbors.

Guest panelists will open the conference by presenting case studies on the relationship between public lands and local communities. Gilliam will give her keynote address after lunch, followed by roundtable discussions.

In 2010, visitors to Shenandoah National Park spent more than $71 million in the local communities and the park, supporting 1,087 jobs.

The conference is free and open to the public. Registration for the conference is online here and must be completed by Friday (May 18). For more information on the conference, call 540-999-3500.

Rising folk stars perform June 17

Trio Brother Sun (from left: Pat Wictor, Joe Jencks and Greg Greenway) performs June 17 at the Theatre at Washington.
Courtesy photo
Trio Brother Sun (from left: Pat Wictor, Joe Jencks and Greg Greenway) performs June 17 at the Theatre at Washington.

Brother Sun, whose debut CD was named one of the “Best of 2011” by Folk-DJ and over a dozen radio stations, will perform June 17 (Father’s Day) at the Theatre in Washington. Opening the concert will be the newly formed Bridge Project, with local musicians Howard Weingarten, Martha Hughes, Susan Holmes, Gary Grossman and John Swenson.

Renowned for musical diversity and harmony, Brother Sun was formed in 2009 by Joe Jencks, Greg Greenway and Pat Wictor – all veteran singer-songwriters. The trio fuses folk, Americana, blues, pop, jazz, rock and a cappella singing in the finest of male singing traditions. Their rich voices blend on a well-crafted foundation of guitar, slide guitar and piano.

Wictor took a convoluted path to folk music, winding his way through rock, heavy metal and jazz. He started with guitar, shifted to bass, moved to saxophone and then quit music entirely before a return in 1993, when he also began composing songs. An adept improviser and accompanist, Wictor is sought after as a collaborator, sideman and session musician.

Richmond native Greenway, an accomplished pianist and singer, moved to Boston for its rich folk music tradition. He draws inspiration from a broad spectrum – gospel, rock, blues, jazz and world music. But Greenway’s center is in the singing and songwriting tradition that traces its roots back to the social activism of Woody Guthrie.

Jencks took a more traditional path to music. Born into a family of musicians and conservatory trained, he is known for his unique merging of musical beauty, social consciousness and spiritual exploration. With a brilliant tenor voice and skilled on the guitar, Jencks is also highly regarded as a song interpreter, weaving classical training and traditional folk roots into an intricate musical tapestry.

The June 17 concert will begin at 7 p.m. at the Theatre at Washington. Admission is $20 for adults ($10 for children and students). For reservations or information, e-mail giving your name and the number of adults and children who will attend. Those without e-mail, call 540-923-4967.

The concert is sponsored by the Unitarian Universalists of the Blue Ridge. For more information, visit

– Marcia Kirkpatrick

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