The Rapp for Oct. 4

Strings, piano and . . . marigolds

Classical music appreciators have an evening worth spending Saturday (Oct. 6) with the Smithsonian Chamber Players at the Theatre at Washington, which will bring together the second of Beethoven’s Op. 9 string trios – “wonderfully inventive, witty yet profound music,” says Chamber Players founding member Kenneth Slowik – with two late-19th-century French piano quartets by Faure and Chasson.

Violinist Vera Beths. Courtesy photo.
Violinist Vera Beths. Courtesy photo.
The 8 p.m. concert features cellist Slowik with pianist Pedja Muzijevic, violinist Vera Beths and violist Steven Dann. For tickets ($25, $10 for students 17 and younger), call 540-675-1253 or email

Violinist Steven Dann. Courtesy photo.
Violinist Steven Dann. Courtesy photo.

British-actor fans will want to show up at the Theatre this Friday (Oct. 5) at 8 for “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” RAAC’s movie of the month. Call 540-675-3193 or visit for details.

Get a cut for a cause next Wednesday

As part of Cancer Awareness Month, three Rappahannock salons – Washington’s Hair Gallery and Beauty Box, and Amissville’s Shear Designs – have partnered with Sexy Hair and the Look Good Feel Better organization for an all-day “cut-a-thon” next Wednesday (Oct. 10) at Rappahannock County Park. Kim, Chandra, Sherry, Ashley and Darlene have a goal of raising $1,000 – and the good part is, you get a hair cut for $10. It’s 10 to 6 at the park; proceeds benefit Look Good Feel Better, a nonprofit that helps more than 50,000 women a year cope with the devastating side effects of cancer treatments. Call the salons for more information (Hair Gallery at 540-675-3076, Beauty Box at 540-675-3403, Shear Designs at 540-937-2828.)

Outstanding in their (and our) fields

Naturally Rappahannock County is, to the casual visitor, outstanding in its fields – as well as its mountains and scenic views in general – but it’s not always evident that its residents are so often outstanding in their respective fields. Just in the last week, for example, two Rappahannock residents won coveted awards – one in New York, another in Sydney, Australia.

Scott Willis. Courtesy photo.
Scott Willis. Courtesy photo.

For his 2011 documentary “The Woodmans,” filmmaker Scott Willis of Woodville won an Emmy Monday night (Oct. 1) at the 33rd annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards in New York. “The Woodmans,” produced by PBS’ “Independent Lens” series, captivatingly tells the story of a family that suffers a tragedy but perseveres through each other and their work as artists. “I’m wearing a smile all day,” Willis said by email, before starting the drive back home from New York this week with his latest statuette in the back seat. (This isn’t the first Emmy for Willis, a longtime senior producer for “Nightline” before starting up his own filmmaking company.)

Leonard Foglia. Courtesy photo.
Leonard Foglia. Courtesy photo.

Meanwhile, when Leonard Foglia isn’t at home in Harris Hollow, he’s usually off directing an opera – and his direction of “Moby Dick” last year by the State Opera of South Australia won him a Helpmann Award, Australia’s much-prized live-performance honor (kind of a combination of our Tonys and Emmys). Foglia won for best director of an opera. More about Harris Hollow’s latest celebrity can be found here.

SCBI’s autumn festival this weekend

It’s that time of year again. In fact, the only time of year when the gates to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, are open to the public. At the Autumn Conservation Festival, visitors can tour the sprawling, hilltop campus in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, meet some of SCBI’s world-renowned scientists and get a peek at some of the endangered animals that reside at SCBI.

New this year, guests will have the opportunity to learn about the partnership between the Zoo’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and George Mason University (GMU) which established the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation. Its mission is sustaining global biodiversity by advancing the theory and practice of conservation biology with transformative, transdisciplinary education.

There will also be more fall fun including: live music, children’s activities and an exclusive behind-the-scenes look of the rare animals of SCBI. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Guests must have a car pass to attend the festival. SCBI Club members and donor-level members are entitled to a car pass. All other guests may purchase a car pass, which admits up to six guests, for $30. Additional passengers will be charged $5 each at the gate. Passes are available on the Zoo’s website at and at the Front Royal/Warren County Visitor’s Center at 414 E. Main St. in Front Royal.

Library Series features Inn farmer Joneve Murphy

Many local residents may not be aware that the Inn at Little Washington has its own farmer. Joneve Murphy, the farmer-in-residence for the Inn, will be the featured speaker at the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC) Library Series at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12 at the Rappahannock County Library.

Inn at Little Washington farmer-in-residence Joneve Murphy speaks Oct. 12 at Rappahannock Library. Courtesy photo.
Inn at Little Washington farmer-in-residence Joneve Murphy speaks Oct. 12 at Rappahannock Library. Courtesy photo.

Following graduation from college with a degree in biology, Murphy took up farming as a summer job and discovered what has turned out to be a true passion. In a 2011 magazine interview in Flavor, she explained that “It wasn’t necessarily the love of plants, but more the love of food, that drew me in. Turning a tiny, dried embryo into something that nourishes people is a very rewarding existence, and it still fascinates me every time, year after year. Restaurants became my niche early on. Chefs are as in love with produce as I am, and it is an easy bond. I love meticulously growing beautiful and unusual vegetables – snow white baby turnips, rainbow carrots, microgreens and heirloom tomatoes and melons in every color imaginable.”

An artist as well as a farmer, Murphy delights in being able to grow beautiful and unusual vegetables that are pleasing to the eye as well as the palate. When the Inn at Little Washington contacted her to discuss growing food for them, she came to meet with chef Patrick O’Connell and was immediately ready to sign on. “All chefs love food,” says Murphy, “but I believe very few love it as much as Patrick. You can see that in the care and detail that go into every dish served. The Inn has always purchased fresh and local produce simply because it has the best flavor. Growing it in the restaurant’s back yard seemed to be the next logical step, and I knew that my produce would be loved.”

In designing the Inn’s garden, Murphy wanted to make a place where people could clearly see where their food is coming from. The scale of the Inn’s garden presented some challenges for Murphy, who had grown five acres of produce the previous season and now had to adapt to a fifth of one acre on the Inn’s property. But the biggest challenge was converting 8,000 square feet of lawn into a garden in one very wet spring when she didn’t even own a tractor.

On Oct. 12, Murphy will talk about how she met those challenges, what she has learned from travels to farms in South Asia, and how she incorporates farming techniques she observes overseas into her own farming at the Inn. RAAC’s Second Friday at the Library Series is offered free of charge.

No ordinary year, this ‘No Ordinary Person’

This year’s performance of “No Ordinary Person” will be the 14th year for the popular evening of autobiographical storytelling. Scheduled for Oct. 19 and Oct. 20 by RAAC Community Theatre, this year features stories by several county residents, including Lynn Dolnick, Jane Coon, Larry Stillwell and Peter Hornbostel.

Storytellers (from left) Lynn Dolnick, Larry Stillwell, Jane Coon and Peter Hornbostel gather in front of RAAC Community Theatre. Photo by E. Raymond Boc.
Storytellers (from left) Lynn Dolnick, Larry Stillwell, Jane Coon and Peter Hornbostel gather in front of RAAC Community Theatre. Photo by E. Raymond Boc.

Lynn Dolnick is a first-time storyteller from Castleton making her stage debut at the RAAC Theatre. In Dolnick’s story, “A Chain of Mothers,” audiences meet Dolnick’s mother and grandmother and learn how Dolnick has reshaped the maternal legacy she inherited.

Jane Coon, who lives in Castleton with her husband Carl, recounts finding a large parcel of old letters she had written to her family when she was serving in India early in her career with the U.S. State Department. Reflecting on what the letters say and what they leave out, she tries to reacquaint herself with that eager and curious younger self and to explore how those early experiences shaped her world view.

Larry Stillwell is currently a resident of Culpeper who has worked in Rappahannock over the past few years both with the Aging Together Partnership and more recently with the Connections program providing supports for families dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease. Stillwell’s story introduces us to a mysterious dark-haired boy who comes from “the outside world” to the staid and predictable life of Kennebunk, Maine, and whose much wilder life is both shocking and alluring to the teenage Larry. Their off-and-on friendship leads to the discovery that tragic events can have transformative power.

Peter Hornbostel, known to this community as the artistic director for the RAAC Theatre, lives in Madison County with his wife, Susan. In “The Black Oldsmobile,” Hornbostel is a “nerdy kid with glasses” who moves into a new school and is met with a less-than-friendly welcoming committee who rough him up daily. As the young Peter learns what to make of kids from a different culture, he finds a way to hold his own and forms some unexpected friendships.

“No Ordinary Person” performances are 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20 at RAAC Community Theatre, 310 Gay St., Washington. Tickets are $15; reservations by email at or by phone at 540-675-3193.

Sperryville’s Post Office

Is the Sperryville Post Office an example of wasteful government spending, and should therefore be closed or at least have its hours curtailed? A survey is being conducted by the U.S. Postal Service of its Sperryville customer base to determine the best course of action for the Post Office’s future.

In addition to this survey, the Postal Service will hold a meeting at the Sperryville Post Office at 43 Main St. at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Unless the community expresses a strong preference for another outcome, according to the survey letter sent to local customers, the Postal Service intends to maintain the Sperryville Post Office with six hours of window service each weekday. Saturday hours would not change.

The Postal Service says it is also seeking locally established businesses or organizations to serve as contractor-operated postal retail units.

A night in 21st-century Castleton

The Castleton in Performance series opened Sept. 22, in the Theatre House at Castleton with the Latin Ballet of Virginia performing “Fiesta del Sol: A Night in 1950s Havana.” The audience was invited to join in the fun.

Photo by Bill King.
Photo by Bill King.

In the final merengue number, the dancers dashed into the theatre and brought delighted audience members and Rappahannock County schools students onstage to join in an impromptu celebration of Opening Night.

The Castleton in Performance continues this Sunday (Oct. 7) with pianist Jianing Kong. Tickets are still available at

Amissville fire department awards

The members of the Amissville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company pose in front of one of their fire engines. Courtesy photo.
The members of the Amissville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company pose in front of one of their fire engines. Courtesy photo.

The Amissville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company celebrated serving Rappahannock and Culpeper counties for 60 years on Sept. 22 by recognizing many of its members.

Mitchell Green, left, Amissville Volunteer Fire and Rescue's only surviving charter member from 1952, and Sarah Latham (who, with Jack Atkins, was honored for 50 years of service to Company 3) prepare to cut the department's 60th-anniversary cake. Courtesy photo.
Mitchell Green, the only surviving charter member from 1952 and Sarah Latham prepare to cut the department’s 60th-anniversary cake. Courtesy photo.

Sarah Latham and Jack Atkins were both honored for 50 years of service, and a special recognition plaque was presented to Mitchell Green, the only surviving charter member from 1952.

Scott Chamberlin was named firefighter of the year, Leanna Witt received rookie of the year honors and Bobbie Carter – who has responded to more than 3,000 calls in the last decade – was named EMS provider of the year.

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