The Rapp for Nov. 8

Veterans Day ceremony

Rappahannock County High School’s annual Veterans Day ceremony is at 10:30 a.m. today (Thursday, Nov. 8) in the RCHS gym, with guest speaker Chilton G. Raiford of Amissville, a World War II veteran, and performances by the concert band and chorus to honor service members and their families in the county. A luncheon for the veterans and their families follows the ceremony. For more information about the ceremonies, contact Jacqueline Harris, RCHS Band Boosters president, at 540-212-1662 or email

Bland Music Contest

The Rappahannock County Lions Club holds its 29th annual Bland Music Contest Sunday, Feb. 10, at The Theatre in Washington. Conducted exclusively for students attending school in Rappahannock County and residents in grades one through 12, the contest for vocal and instrumental students is open to the public at no charge. Cash prizes are awarded to top finishers, while state winners may earn up to $2,500 in scholarships. Applications are available from music teachers in the county’s schools beginning tomorrow (Nov. 9). The application deadline is Dec. 11. Parents or students can contact contest chairman Bob Chappell with questions at or 540-522-1420.

Jazz and Shakespeare at Castleton

Castleton in Performance welcomes composer and jazz pianist Burnett Thompson for a performance at 3 p.m. this Sunday (Nov. 11) at the Theatre House at Castleton Farms. Thompson appears with vocalist Le Zhang, saxophonist John DeSalme and drummer Leland Nakamura to perform “The Shakespeare Sonnet Song Cycle,” part of his larger work “The Silent Shakespeare and the Sonnets,” as part of Castleton in Performance, the fall-to-spring monthly performance series curated by Lorin Maazel, Dietlinde Turban-Maazel and the Chateauville Foundation.

Thompson spent 15 years composing “The Shakespeare Sonnet Song Cycle,” which made its premiere in Shanghai, China. The piece features 10 of Shakespeare’s sonnets set to several different musical styles, varying from jazz to traditional Chinese. Thompson has completed performance/lecture tours of China funded by the State Department and has performed the song cycle at the National Gallery of Art, the Goethe Institute, the Shakespeare Theatre and the National Arts Club. Tickets for the performance ($35 to $50) available at 866-974-0767 or online at

‘Paintings from the Road’

An exhibition of new paintings by Thomas Mullany opens at the R. H. Ballard Gallery in Washington in just over a week and runs through Dec. 9. An opening reception is 4:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17. Local wines and light fare are provided, and all are invited.

Detail of Thomas Mullany’s “Colossus of the West,” part of his upcoming exhibit at R.H. Ballard.
Detail of Thomas Mullany’s “Colossus of the West,” part of his upcoming exhibit at R.H. Ballard.

Mullany has lived as an artist in Rappahannock County for more than 15 years. He has exhibited widely in Washington, D.C. and New York, as well as having several one-person exhibitions at the Ballard Gallery. He is also known for his extensive mural work in and around Washington, D.C. A graduate of the Corcoran School of Art, Mullany and his wife Kerrie recently opened The Studio School in Flint Hill, where they provide classes, workshops and seminars to all ages and skill levels.

Detail of another Thomas Mullany road-trip painting from his show at R.H. Ballard starting Nov. 17.

Mullany’s current show centers around a recent road trip taken by the artist and his family to Colorado. According to Mullany, “In the vast space between everything, there is a beauty that may be peculiarly American. A sunset becomes something else altogether when fanned out between the blank walls and monoliths of a midwestern strip-mall. A great, lonely expanse in Wyoming becomes an exciting show as a two-mile-long coal train roars through a barely-holding-on town of Lost Springs . . . There is a strange and alien beauty to be found in the modern world as it coexists with the land, the sky and the water. It is this contrast of natural and man-made that I find most exciting. Remnants of past architecture and ruins of former times also catch my attention and I seek to memorialize them properly. All in all, there is a surreality out there across the nation, and I have sought to convey that in these paintings.”

The gallery is located at 307 Main St. in Washington and is open 10 to 6 weekdays.

Farm to School dinner

Virginia’s Farm to School week, which falls on Nov. 12-16 this year, serves up Virginia-grown produce in the cafeterias and spreading awareness of local farms and fresh foods. Farm to Table is a hands-on Headwaters program at the Rappahannack County Public Schools that strives to integrate healthy eating education in the classroom and cafeterias as well as share sustainable farming knowledge through field trips to local family farms.

Due to the time required in preparing an all-local lunch for over 930 kids, help is needed this Tuesday (Nov. 13) chopping, peeling and spinning vegetables to serve on Wednesday. Volunteers meet in the elementary school cafeteria at 3:30 and are asked to bring head covering, knives, cutting boards and peelers. This year’s “Local Foods Day” menu is different at each school; high school enjoys scratch-made chicken noodle soup using Belle Meade chickens, while the elementary school serves up beef tacos made with ground beef from Adam’s Slaughterhouse. The sides for both schools are roasted butternut squash, apple crisp and salad greens (all local, of course).

“This is the fourth year we have celebrated Farm to School Week in Virginia,” said Matthew J. Lohr, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Commissioner. VDACS, along with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) created the Farm to School program to provide improved nutrition and an economic boost to Virginia communities.

“Farm to School is a win-win situation for schools and Virginia farmers,” continued Lohr.  “Farmers can feel proud that their hard work in the fields is providing healthier menu options for school children in the Commonwealth.”

For more Farm to School information and resources visit contact VDACS’ Marketing Division at 804-225-3663 or visit their website at

Castle Trio returns

The Castle Trio returns to the Theatre for the second of the “Smithsonian at Little Washington” series at 3 p.m. Nov. 18, with a program devoted to the music of Franz Schubert. The members of the Castle Trio – Lambert Orkis, piano; Marilyn McDonald, violin; and Kenneth Slowik, violoncello – are all highly distinguished chamber musicians in addition to their other performing and teaching musical activities.

Orkis, a founding member of the Kennedy Center Chamber Players (which comprises the principal players of the string and keyboard sections of the National Symphony Orchestra), has appeared in recitals throughout the world and won a Grammy Award for “Best Chamber Music Performance” for the Beethoven piano and violin sonatas.

McDonald is a founding member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players, the Castle Trio, and the Smithson and Axelrod quartets. She has appeared as recitalist in the complete Beethoven sonatas, the Bach solo sonatas and has been a soloist with orchestras throughout the country.

Slowik has been artistic director of the Chamber Music Program at the National Museum of American History since 1985. He is a founding member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players, the Axelrod and Smithson quartets, the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra and the Castle Trio. He has appeared frequently in performance and recordings with Archibudelli, and has been a soloist and conductor with numerous orchestras, including the National Symphony and the Baltimore Symphony.

Tickets for the concert are $25 for adults ($10 for students 17 and younger).

It’s our Farm Tour, so . . .

This report came in from Cathie Shiff, the Rappahannock Farm Tour’s new committee chair:

After four years of hard work and tremendous success in organizing the Rappahannock Farm Tour, Laura Overstreet is stepping back and handing the reins to a new committee composed of participating venues in the tour. She says it is time for the tour to be managed by the farms and businesses it was created to showcase, and she is right.

At a recent preliminary meeting at Kenner Love’s office last month, Laura made her case and the new committee was formed. During the meeting, I volunteered to chair the group. I see my role as simply a facilitator of discussion, as we carry on Laura’s work into the future. I feel strongly that fresh ideas and new voices will always be welcome.

If you are a county farm or business that has participated in the tour, or one that has never participated but would like to, please come to the Farm Tour Committee strategy meeting this Tuesday (Nov. 13) at 7 p.m. Once again, the meeting will be held at Kenner Love’s office, on the second floor of the Kramer Building in Washington. It is never too early to begin planning for next year’s tour. For more information, please call me at 540-937-5438, or email

Boosting business

Rappahannock County hospitality and tourism businesses are invited to meet next Tuesday (Nov. 13) at 2 p.m. at the Washington town hall to talk about generating business during the winter months. The meeting focuses on developing themed, value getaway packages that include accommodations, dining and activity options during the slow winter. “By partnering to create a complete weekend businesses can, in a sense, do the thinking for the weekend traveler, making the decision easy for a busy couple or family to get away for a stress-relieving weekend,” said Laura Overstreet, Rappahannock County tourism consultant. To RSVP for the meeting, contact Overstreet at 540-675-3153 or

The next night, the Rappahannock Hospitality and Visitors Association (RHVA) sponsors Karen Riddle’s talk “Think Like a Visitor and Increase your Sales” at 7 p.m. at the Washington Town Hall. For more information, email RHVA president Berni Olson at

Early holiday greens

Thanksgiving is early this year but the Rappahannock County Garden Club is preparing to have everything ready to help you prepare for the holidays. The Garden Club has handmade, made-to-order wreaths, garlands and centerpieces for sale with several new and beautiful items this year. Of special note is a seasonal wreath in autumn colors. All proceeds go to sending county children to nature camps or providing scholarships.

Decorations are available for pick-up at the Washington fire hall on from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28 and again from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Nov. 29. All orders must be placed before Nov. 21 to insure availability. For more information and to order, call Karen Crow at 540-675-9917 or visit

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