The Rapp column for Sept. 6

The all-years RCHS reunion

The Rappahannock Class of 1961 is organizing a reunion of all Rappahannock County High School graduates from noon to 5 Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Sperryville fire hall. Pass the word to all graduates you know to help make this an opportunity to renew old acquaintances and bring back many fond memories. Bring a covered dish to share. Contact Shirley Brown Kushner (301-869-1189) or Richard Belch (410-437-5373) for more information.

Mandalele update

Singer-song writers (counter-clockwise from lower left) Lorraine Duisit, Frances Miller and Wendi Sirat first started performing together in the fall of 2009 in Sperryville at what was then the Stonewall Abbey Cafe. At first they just wanted to learn each other’s songs and play a few local gigs. Now, three years later, they are about to release their first CD, “Riddled in Rhyme.” You can help them raise the $4,500 they need for mixing, mastering and production of the CD.

Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

You can pre-order their CD online through Kickstarter, the online fundraising site, or directly from Wendi (Box 236, Sperryville, VA 22740) for $17. Online you will also find other options for their fundraising efforts. How about a home concert? Or perhaps a pair of earrings made by Wendi? Or a French dinner prepared by Lorraine? Or music lesson by Frances? Order your CD now and make your reservation for dinner and to hear their music on the deck of the Thornton River Grille starting at 5 on Sunday, Sept. 16.

If music feeds the soul, you will be filled to the brim when you listen to this diverse group of women whose music reflects their rich cultural connections to Hawaii, France and Kenya. Don’t miss this special evening in Sperryville.

– Barbara Adolfi

Flying license not required

Christmas is coming, and so is “Peter Pan.” The RAAC Community Theatre is producing and presenting a version of “Peter Pan” this Christmas holiday season. If you have ever wanted to be on stage, this is your chance. Auditions will be held at the RAAC Community Theatre, 310 Gay St., Washington, this Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 8-9) from 1 to 3.

Keep your eye out for further announcements about this play and others, including “Driving Miss Daisy” Sept. 21-22 and “No Ordinary Person” Oct. 19-20. For reservations or more information call 540-675-3193 or send an email to

‘Antony and Cleopatra’ opens fall season

The fall season at the Theatre at Washington opens with performances of William Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, and again at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16.

The production is by students from Cambridge University in England, and marks the twelfth year that Cambridge American Stage Tour (CAST) has brought a Shakespeare play to the Theatre. The consistently high quality of CAST’s productions is attributable to their being presented by the most talented directors, producers, actors, designers and technicians from Britain’s foremost university.

In addition to appearing in many college productions, a number of the actors already have professional film credits, including Genevieve Gaunt, who played Pansy Parkinson in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” and who will play Cleopatra in this performance.

Tickets for the performance are $25 ($10 for students 18 and younger). For reservations, call 540-675-1253 or email

RDA displays new art exhibit

Previously exhibited at the Kenkeleba Gallery in New York City and at the Kreeger Museum and Hillyer Art in Washington, DC, the “In Unison” exhibit has made its way to Rappahannock County. The exhibit will open this Friday (Sept. 7) at the Confluent Gallery at River District Arts, and will run through Oct. 14. A gallery reception is planned for Sept. 15 from 3 to 5, with a gallery talk at noon on Oct. 14.

Detail of a work by Claudia Aziza Gibson-Hunter in RDA’s “In Unison” show. Courtesy photo.
Detail of a work by Claudia Aziza Gibson-Hunter in RDA’s “In Unison” show. Courtesy photo.

Rappahannock and Washington, DC artist Patricia Underwood participated in the collaboration and is one of the artists in the “In Unison” exhibit. She is also featured with another local artist, Kevin Adams, in a concurrent show at Middle Street Gallery, which is adjacent to RDA.

The artists featured in the show came together in the welcoming space of the print studio at George Mason University (GMU) School of Art to each create five different mono prints. While they were exploring their artistic expression individually through the printmaking process, the environment provided opportunities for interaction among the artists and promoted a true sense of collaboration.

The “In Unison” project is sponsored by Millennium Arts Salon, which has been serving the Washington, DC arts community for over 12 years. Millennium extends gratitude to GMU for use of its print studio and to the inspiration and creative genius of all the participating artists.

RAAC celebrates 30 years

In 1982, several interested individuals in the Rappahannock community decided to get together to organize and support the many artistic and community events that were going on independently in the County. Films and live theatre productions were very popular attractions in those early years, along with music from the bluegrass world. Thus, the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC) was formed. 2012 marks the RAAC’s 30th year and over the years RAAC has worked to create opportunities for all residents of the Rappahannock area to enrich their lives through exposure to the arts. RAAC celebrates this milestone at the annual membership event to be held at the home of Megan Smith, 11 Old Stonewall Lane, Flint Hill, from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15.

As the young organization began to grow with more and more individuals joining, new ideas to showcase Rappahannock’s arts community surfaced. The Library Series was introduced and featured engaging speakers and topics of interest to the community. The RAAC Community Theatre expanded to include not only plays, but readings, poetry coffee houses and workshops. First-run films brought movie-goers to The Theatre the first Friday of the month for much of the year. The winter Soup & Soul series, held in private homes, includes a potluck dinner in addition to an artist’s presentation and discussion, a big hit every season. More recently, RAAC introduced the very successful Artists of Rappahannock Studio & Gallery Tour, held the first weekend in November. The most recent endeavor is the establishment of the Mitchell Arts Fund, the giving arm of RAAC in support of local artists and art organizations.

To help celebrate this significant event, you are invited to become a member of RAAC at the event on Sept. 15. Entrees and cold libations will be provided; please bring your favorite salad, side dish or dessert to share. For more information about RAAC and its activities, please visit

First annual SeptemberFest Pig Roast

Skyland Resort will host a daylong event this Saturday (Sept. 8) – the inaugural SeptemberFest Pig Roast. The roast will feature a number of different country foods, including three different types of chili, corn on the cob, and, of course whole smoked hog, with a variety of sauces from traditional honey barbecue to roasted jalapeno.

Starting at 11 a.m., the roast will offer face painting, crafts and pony rides for kids and wine and beer tasting for adults. Mountain-style bluegrass provided by Sunnyside Old Time Music, Stoneridge Blue Grass band, James River Cut-Ups and Debbie Zinn & Natural Grass.

For more information on the pig roast, go to and click on Events.

Apple butter festival rings in autumn

On Saturday, Sept. 22, the air around Skyland Resort will be filled with the aroma of boiling apple butter and the sounds of bluegrass as the 13th Annual Apple Butter Celebration helps ring in the first day of autumn. Event participants will celebrate Appalachian culture and get a preview of fall colors that will soon blanket Shenandoah National Park.

“Nothing says autumn like apple butter and fall foliage,” says Helen Morton, director of sales and marketing for Shenandoah National Park lodging, managed by ARAMARK Parks and Destinations. “Making apple butter is an American fall tradition with the whole family pitching in. We pay homage to this spirit at the yearly Apple Butter Celebration by encouraging guests to give the pot a stir and enjoy customs of the Shenandoah region.”

The celebration starts at dawn with the lighting of the fires and the filling of the copper kettles. The all-day event starts at 9:45 a.m. and will feature singer Resi Linton, as well as the Shenandoah Valley Cloggers, High Horse Cloggers and music from High Ground Blue Grass Band and Possum Ridge String Band. Skyland Resort chefs will prepare grilled chicken with apple salsa, pork ribs with apple barbecue sauce, cobbler, caramel apples, cider and other fall-fruit themed delights. Wine tasting, pony rides and children’s crafts will also be offered, as well as fresh apple butter to take home.

The event will also provide guests with a first look at the unfolding fall colors. Shenandoah National Park’s wide variation in elevation lends itself to an extended color season, starting in late September and running well into November. “At the start of fall, guests can anticipate crimson red Virginia Creepers and yellow poplars staying true to their name. In addition, dogwood will likely begin its transformation to a dull red and the black gum may begin to turn bright red. These colors will only continue to spread into October and beyond,” says Morton.

For more information about the celebration or to book your Fall Foliage getaway, call 888-896-3833 or visit

Nashville bluegrass Sept. 15

Nashville bluegrass singer-songwriter Donna Ulisse and her band The Poor Mountain Boys will be performing at the RAAC Community Theatre in Washington on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 8 p.m. Local songwriter Will Hopkins, who splits his time between Flint Hill and Nashville, will be a special musical guest.

Donna Ulisse
Donna Ulisse

Bluegrass and acoustic music enthusiasts have been getting to know Ulisse’s music since she burst onto the scene in 2007 with her CD “When I Look Back.” Her song “I’m Calling Heaven Down” won Bluegrass Song of the Year in the 2009 Just Plain Folks Awards. Since that time, she has become one of the most played artists on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s Bluegrass Junction. Her fourth bluegrass CD, “An Easy Climb,” was released to rave reviews in 2011, leading to a recent nomination as “Songwriter of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association. The intimate concert in Washington will be a perfect setting for this artist whose show is laced with the stories behind the sometimes very personal songs she writes, surrounded by the top notch musicianship of her band members.

Tickets for the event are $15, and while seating is limited, tickets may be reserved by calling 615-708-1950.

Tri-County Feeds turns five

Tri-County Feeds, Etc. (TCFE) invites the community to join them for their fifth Anniversary Celebration at 7408 John Marshall Highway in Marshall this Sunday (Sept. 9) from noon to 5. Enjoy the Gold Top County Ramblers band from Sperryville from 2 to 4, and drawings and giveaways throughout the afternoon. Light refreshments will be offered, including mini-cupcakes from the Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton.

TCFE will also host a trunk show on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 23 from noon to 5. Charles Owen, Dubarry, Der Dau, Alexander James and Fox Hunting Life will all be displaying their products and educating customers.

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