The Rapp for Nov. 22

Fourth Friday notes

Due to the holiday, the Rappahannock News’ monthly Fourth Friday public coffee-and-conversation date is cancelled for this Friday (Nov. 23); we’ll be back in December, possibly with bells on.

Due to the same holiday, this week’s Fourth Friday “Shop Sperryville” event coincides with the nationwide extreme-shopping tournament known as Black Friday. Best to get your gifts locally; see the Sperryville column on page 7 for more ideas and possibilities.

Basketball alumni tip off at 6

With more than 50 Rappahannock County alumni set to play – from 1969 (hi, Bob Settle!) through 1983 (go, Mike Leake!) and on through 2011 (including, but not limited to, Brittani Dodson and David Williams), the Rappahannock County Public Schools PTO’s first-ever Alumni Basketball Tournament this Friday and Saturday (Nov. 23-24) promises to be a well-attended and entertaining homecoming in the gym at Rappahannock County High School. (Three games each night, starting at 6; tickets for the PTO fundraiser are $5, and $2 for ages 6 to 12).

There will be referees from Bull Run District officiating (thanks, Appleton Campbell), plus RCSSA concessions, a wrestling team 50/50 raffle, a seventh-graders’ Williamsburg trip fundraising bake sale and a PTO T-shirt giveaway. Get your tickets at the door; get your questions answered at or 540-987-9660.

Christmas comes early to Washington

Parade director Denise Chandler with Santa in 2009.
Parade director Denise Chandler with Santa in 2009.

The town of Washington welcomes the holiday season with its annual Christmas in Little Washington Festival & Holiday Parade, Sunday, Dec. 2. The event is sponsored by the Rappahannock Hospitality & Visitors Association.

Festivities kick off at 10 a.m. with an Artisans Market featuring more than 25 local artists and crafts persons, along with specialty food and wine vendors displaying their wares. The market is at the town hall and the RAAC Community Theatre until 4 p.m.

The Washington Baptist Church is the site of “Hanging of the Greens” services at 10 a.m. and features a rare Christmas Stamp Display from 12:30 until 7 p.m.

Grand Marshal “George Washington” returns to the first town he surveyed as a young man of 19, along with other famous Virginia patriots from “The Committee for the Republic,” to lead the Holiday Parade along Main and Gay Streets. The parade begins at 1 and also features antique cars, homemade floats, a cavalcade of animals, marching bands, and, of course, Santa himself.

At 2 p.m., Stonyman Town Square hosts Santa Claus, who will have a gift for all children who come by for a visit. Also on the square, Gold Top County Ramblers play and sing country and Christmas favorites while folks stay warm by the bonfire. As a special treat this year you may experience “living history” as the Virginia Patriots reenact events from Valley Forge at 2 p.m.

To top off the day, magician Steve Kish performs at 2:30 at the Theatre at Little Washington. His magic show with close-up illusions will amaze and astound kids of all ages and is not to be missed. The event is free and most events will be held rain or shine (or snow or drizzle or sleet). After all, a little weather has never stopped Santa before.

Kid Pan Alley concert is Nov. 30

Kids perform during Kid Pan Alley’s last visit to Rappahannock. Photo by Molly McDonald Peterson.
Kids perform during Kid Pan Alley’s last visit to Rappahannock. Photo by Molly McDonald Peterson.

Come hear the Kid Pan Alley Band in a concert of 11 new songs written by Paul Reisler and Kid Pan Alley with the children from Rappahannock Elementary, Hearthstone and the Child Care and Learning Center as well as a song by elders from the Senior Center at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30.

“It all started in here in 1999,” says Joy Rollins, former RCES music teacher and coordinator of this year’s residency. “We wanted to give our local children the opportunity to create and explore interdisciplinary arts through the mediums of visual art, dance, and music, so we asked Paul to come in and write songs with the kids. We were floored by the originality, excitement and shared ownership of the songs.”

Some of those 50 plus songs became the CD “Tidal Wave of Song.” Ever since, that wave has spread throughout the country from Maine to Hawaii; more than 30,000 children have been inspired to be creators of their own culture through their experience with Kid Pan Alley.

Multiple Grammy award-winner Kathy Mattea put it this way: “Kid Pan Alley is the quintessential program for helping kids to experience their creative power, their voice, and their own self-expression. This is the kind of experience that changes lives.”

The band features some of the most renowned musicians in Virginia, including John d’earth (trumpet), Nate Brown (drums), Mark Maynard (trombone), Heather Mae (vocals) and Peter Princiotto (bass), who will join Reisler and the children on Nov. 30.

The rocking Kid Pan Alley Band. Photo by Molly McDonald Peterson.
The rocking Kid Pan Alley Band. Photo by Molly McDonald Peterson.

According to Reisler, “There are songs about the hurricane, bullying, and about living in a free country . . . and there’s an amazing song about country music in the old days from the Rappahannock Senior Center called ‘Three Chords and the Truth.’ ”

I was born on Red Oak Mountain back in 1932.

We’d sit on the porch every Saturday night,

Blowin on the jug, tappin’ spoons.

Sometimes we’d listen to the Opry,

sometimes we’d make our own tunes.

Yeah, back when country music

was just three chords and the truth.

“It was so fun to write with everyone contributing their own words and rhymes,” said second-grader Maeve Ciuba. “With Mr. Paul, it felt easy and natural.”

In addition, the songs themselves become inspiration for the children to create paintings and drawings with the help of Rappahannock schools’ art teacher Elizabeth Botha. Some of these are on exhibit at the performance.

Jazz guitarists at Theatre

Frank Vignola (left) and Vinny Raniolo: at the Theatre Dec. 1.
Frank Vignola (left) and Vinny Raniolo: at the Theatre Dec. 1.

On Saturday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. the Theatre at Washington presents a concert of jazz guitar music performed by Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo. Vignola is well known to Theatre audiences, and the youthful and gifted Raniolo has joined him in performances there on several recent occasions.

Vignola is one of the most extraordinary guitarists performing before the public today. His stunning virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis, Tommy Emmanuel, the Boston Pops, the New York Pops and guitar legend Les Paul, who named Vignola to his “Five Most Admired Guitar List” for the Wall Street Journal.

A the age of 28, Raniolo has already proven himself to be among the elite, having performed and recorded with Bucky Pizzarelli, Tommy Emmanuel and David Grisman, to name just a few. Since Vignola and Raniolo teamed up in 2008, they have performed over 1,000 shows at some of the most prestigious concert halls and festivals in the world including the Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center, Liverpool Philharmonic, Quebec Music Festival and Italy’s Teatro Olimpico. Their jaw-dropping technique and incredible showmanship explain why the New York Times deemed them “stars of the guitar.”

Tickets for the concert are $25 for adults ($10 for students 17 and younger). For reservations or to obtain a copy of the Theatre’s current schedule, call 540-675-1253 or email

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