The Rapp for Dec. 13

Soup and Soul series begins

The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC) says its 2013 Soup and Soul Series is now open for reservations. The events combine a potluck dinner with a presentation by a local artist. This year’s lineup of featured artists includes glassblower Eric Kvarnes, painter Barbara Heile, and multimedia artist, sculptor and photographer Margot Neuhaus.

Kvarnes is spotlighted on Jan. 19, Heile is featured Feb. 16 and Neuhaus on March 16. All three shows begin at 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

Tickets are $20 per person per event; participants should bring a dish to complement the soup offered by the hosts. Email a reservation request (preferred) to or call 540-675-3193. Upon receipt of payment, your reservation will be confirmed and details and directions to the event will be sent. Checks can be made out to RAAC and sent to P.O. Box 24, Washington, VA 22747. As these events are hosted in local homes, space is limited and early reservations are encouraged.

Best-dressed paraders

Jude, with Ronda Gregorio in the saddle, were among the Parade’s costume winners. Photo by Barbara Auchter.
Jude, with Ronda Gregorio in the saddle, were among the Parade’s costume winners. Photo by Barbara Auchter.

The Rappahannock Hospitality and Visitors Association (RHVA) Christmas Committee has chosen the parade award-winners for its 2012 Christmas Parade and Festival, which took over the streets of Washington Dec. 2.

Tanya Paull as the Snowflake Fairy. Courtesy photo.
Tanya Paull as the Snowflake Fairy. Courtesy photo.

They are: for best costume, Tanya Paull, science teacher at Belle Meade School, who paraded as the Snowflake Fairy (here accompanied by Belle Meade music teacher Dontez Harris); for best float, the Girl Scouts of Rappahannock County, who had smiles and outfits (and Tootsie Rolls!) to beat the band; and for best animal costume, Jude, the Friesian who sported a white head plume, perfect hair and leather-and-jewel accessories, shown here with rider Ronda Gregorio in her Santa gear.

Neverland on Gay Street

It’s no surprise that RAAC Community Theatre’s performances of  “Peter Pan” were sold out a week before last weekend’s two shows (or that a historic fifth performance was added for this coming Saturday at 1, and promptly also sold out). They say you get what you give – and RAAC’s community-theatre troopers, both on and off stage, have to be among the hardest-working and most fun-loving anywhere. RAAC’s production of J.M. Barrie’s classic “Peter Pan” for its annual holiday show presented a whole party platter of challenges – to which all rose.

Howard Coon as Captain Hook, left, Maeve Ciuba as Tinker Bell  and Brendan Martyn in the title role of RAAC’s “Peter Pan.” Photo by Patty Hardee.
Howard Coon as Captain Hook, left, Maeve Ciuba as Tinker Bell and Brendan Martyn in the title role of RAAC’s “Peter Pan.” Photo by Patty Hardee.

If you already have your reservations, you’ll notice that some will rise higher than others. And I’m not even talking about the focused and frequently startling performances by young actors Brendan Martyn (as Peter), Elise Wheelock (Wendy) and Maeve Ciuba (Tinkerbell) and by grownups Patty Hardee (Nana), Deverell Pedersen (the Storyteller), Howard Coon (Captain Hook, and the show’s director) and the silent but dead-on Linda Heimstra (as the Crocodile, wearing a fab mask made by Julie Coon; other masks for the show were contributed by Peggy Schadler and 1000 Faces).

I’m talking about those who, in the first scene, actually rise – thanks to wires, harnesses and pulleys installed with real effort in this old church and handled with grace and almost enough 3-in-1 Oil by the flight team. Yes, you will applaud (and no, apparently this newspaper does not do spoiler alerts).

The whole thing has the happy, slightly out-of-control and heartwarming feel of a school play, particularly in the matinee my wife and I saw Sunday, when the kids onstage only just outnumbered those in the audience. It’s nice to see friends and family out of the house together, maybe even in Neverland, with everyone going to a lot of trouble to put smiles on each other’s faces. And succeeding.

– Roger Piantadosi

RCCA grant helps landowners

The Rappahannock County Conservation Alliance (RCCA) made three awards totaling $9,000 from its inaugural Grant Program, which was created to assist landowners with up to half of the administrative costs associated with donating a conservation easement.

“There are certain costs, such as fees for attorneys and appraisals, that our grant program will help pay for,” explains Jennifer Aldrich, RCCA president. “It’s a new program for us and we are very happy that these three land owners applied for the grant.”

The three properties total 250 acres and will be held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation.

In addition to the grant program, RCCA’s major beneficiary over the years has been the Rappahannock Farmland Preservation Program (FPP). In 2012, RCCA pledged $140,000 to the FPP, which was established in 2004 to enable the county to purchase development rights from owners of working farms.

The program protects farmland with funds from private donors, which are then matched by the state. These funds are used to purchase development rights from farmers; however, these farmers often partially donate a conservation easement, greatly reducing the cost of publicly funded acquisition. RCCA has helped protect more than 686 acres of farmland through this program.

New book for dog lovers

Rappahannock County artist Carole Pivarnik has published her book “Doggitude: What Dogs Really Think in Seventeen Sassy Syllables.” The 84-page, softbound book shares the irreverent opinions of 36 endearing dogs (many of whom are local). Each dog occupies a two-page spread that includes an amusing haiku opinion, owner anecdotes and a full-page watercolor portrait in Pivarnik’s realistic signature style.

The cover to Carole Pivarnik’s new book, “Doggitude.”
The cover to Carole Pivarnik’s new book, “Doggitude.”

The book is the culmination of a year-long project which began with Pivarnik sketching dogs and writing funny haikus to reflect their thoughts. “I’ve often wondered what dogs are really thinking when they stare at us,” says Pivarnik. “We think we see love, but maybe something a little more calculating is going on behind those eyes!”

More information on Doggitude can be found online at The book is available from Amazon and other online booksellers; signed copies are available for $15. Pivarnik lives in Castleton, Va. where she works out of her Brindle Studio. She can be reached at 540-987-8566 or at

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