The Rapp for May 9

Find ‘Caveboy,’ with poet Willis this Friday

The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC) welcomes acclaimed poet and Woodville resident Mary-Sherman Willis as the featured speaker at the Second Friday at the Library series at 8 p.m. tomorrow night (Friday, May 10).

Mary-Sherman Willis
Mary-Sherman Willis

Willis will discuss and read from her newest book, “Caveboy,” an epic, illustrated poem about a mother’s search for her roaming teenage son. “I give my son full credit for launching this project by driving me crazy for a few years,” Willis says.

Willis teaches creative writing at George Washington University. Her poems, reviews and short stories have appeared in the numerous publications, including New Republic, the Plum Review, the Hudson Review and more. She began working on her new book in 2006, but the events that gave rise to it date from a few years earlier.

“When my son was a teenager he made himself scarce,” Willis recalls, “but he was leaving his tags all over the neighborhood. Around 2003 I started to track them when I was out walking the dog, and photographed them, going into unfamiliar alleys and streets. I did the same thing a year later, noticed some fading, new ones up. I made a map of his range and I realized I was plotting the graph of his journey away from me, though I could only approximate his trajectory. The poems would perform a kind of calculus of our relative motion over time.”

All-day Mother’s Day brunch at TRG

In addition to the many Mother’s Day specials you’ll find in the calendar on page 7, Thornton River Grille is having a special all-day Mother’s Day brunch this Sunday (May 12) from 11 to 7 p.m. The all-day menu is a special a la carte offering (you can find it online at, where you can also make reservations). Or call the Sperryville restaurant at 540-987-8790. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers of Rappahannock County!

Register for the Relay

A family honors their own during the Survivors lap at the 2010 Rappahannock Relay for Life. Photo by Michelle Schwartz.
A family honors their own during the Survivors lap at the 2010 Rappahannock Relay for Life. Photo by Michelle Schwartz.

It’s not too late to register a Relay for Life team, as you can still do so online at The relay itself – an all-night community walk to raise funds to fight cancer – takes place next weekend (Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19) at Rappahannock County High School starting at 6 p.m. Saturday. There are also still spots available for any cancer survivors who would like to participate in running the honorary Survivors lap. Anyone who’s interested in doing so should contact Karen Williams (540-635-4673) or Carolyn Leake (540-635-2073) soon.

Sperryville Fire’s Fourth

The Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department is already hard at work organizing its seventh annual Rappahannock County 4th of July Celebration at the Thornton Hill Hounds Race Course, though this year some slight changes are in order.

The gates to the race course open at 1 p.m. for those who wish to get there early. This year’s general admission price is $25 per vehicle (tailgating is $50 and includes additional space for a tent, and some of the best spots for views of fireworks and green hills). Sponsorships are $500 and include prime space on the infield, reserved parking and special recognition during the event ($400 if purchased by June 15; contact organizer Gary Settle at to sign on).

Photo by E. Raymond Boc
Photo by E. Raymond Boc

There’s live music by Dontez Inferno and the Gold Top County Ramblers, while the fireworks take center stage at dusk. The day also includes food, antique cars and tractors, local nonprofit displays, children’s games and rides, face painting, a mechanical bull, a moon bounce, slide, dunk tank, a medi-vac helicopter display and more.

The usual four-wheel-drive vehicle raffled off has been replaced: This year, there’s a $10,000 cash raffle prize drawing at 9 p.m. Only 250 raffle tickets will be sold (at $100 apiece).

For more information on vendors or questions call SVFD at 540-987-8124 or visit For more information on sponsorship, contact Settle at

“The Rappahannock County 4th of July Celebration attracts crowds upwards of 4,000 people,” Settle said. “This provides opportunities for local non-profit organizations to display their goods and to maximize on fundraising efforts. The event also allows the local volunteer fire and rescue companies to enjoy partnerships with one another and, more importantly, the event provides fun and excitement for all ages.

“The event is work-intensive and supported by every member of the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department,” Settle said. “However, because of increasing costs associated with putting on an event of this magnitude, continued underwriter support is needed each year in order to sustain the event at its current level. With this, very special thanks goes out to our current underwriters – Jamie, Lilla and Bill Fletcher, Hampton Foundation, B&B Signal Company, Greve Foundation, Greg Williams Tree Service and Landscaping Service, Cheri and Martin Woodard Realtors and Union First Market Bank.”

You haven’t missed the stroll

The Studio Stroll is this weekend.
The Studio Stroll is this weekend.

The “Studio Stroll” we mistakenly said was happening last Saturday at River District Arts, in celebration of the second anniversary of Rappahannock Central? Well, it’s this Saturday (May 11) from noon to 4. Come by and meet the paint- and clay-stained denizens of RDA’s nine working studios, two exhibition galleries and the Artisan Market. Each of the 14 artists in the nine studios will be displaying their newest works – plus there’s an ice cream social and a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate toward a future RDA purchase. All purchases from the studios at 3 River Lane, next door to Middle Street Gallery, will receive a 15-percent Saturday-only discount. Call 540-987-8770 for more information.

Pianist Andrist returns May 19

On Sunday, May 19 at 4 p.m., Canadian pianist Audrey Andrist returns to the Theatre in a solo recital featuring two monumental sonatas by Beethoven, as well as shorter works by Bach and Mendelssohn.

Andrist has been described as a “stunning pianist with incredible dexterity,” whose playing is said to show “passionate abandon,” “bright energy” and “great intelligence.” Andrist’s concerts have taken her to Japan, China, Germany and all across North America, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and Alice Tully Hall in New York. A graduate of the Juilliard School, she received first prizes at the Mozart International, San Antonio International and Juilliard Concerto Competitions.

The program Andrist has chosen for the upcoming concert includes Beethoven’s Sonata, op. 109 in E Major and the Sonata, op. 110 in A-flat Major; a selection of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words; and, by Johann Sebastian Bach, the Prelude and Fugue in B-flat Minor, BWV 867 from The Well-Tempered Clavier Vol. 1.

Tickets for the concert are $25 for adults ($10 for students 17 and younger). For reservations, call 540-675-1253 or email

A benefit, and blending, at Narmada

A few notes on goings-on at Narmada Winery in Amissville, including the winery’s June cancer benefit and a hands-on wine blending demonstration.

The benefit, to raise funds for the Hardship Fund at the Cancer Center of Lake Manassas, is June 9 at Narmada, and is an act of gratitude. More than a decade ago, Sudha and Pandit Patil began making their retirement dream a reality – planting wine grapes which were initially sold to other area wineries. With this success, they pursued the dream further and opened Narmada Winery – named for Pandit’s mother – in 2009.

Brett Chappell will join Narmada’s Sudha Patil for a hands-on Bordeaux blending demonstration May 18.
Brett Chappell will join Narmada’s Sudha Patil for a hands-on Bordeaux blending demonstration May 18.

In 2012, Pandit’s doctor confirmed a devastating diagnosis of cancer. But Pandit is a fighter, and with the help of a fantastic team of medical professionals, he is well on the way to recovery. Pandit and Sudha want to acknowledge this gift of health by recognizing the efforts of everyone involved, and by reaching out to those who are not able to afford the high cost of the excellent medical care he received. Ten percent of the winery’s proceeds that day will be donated to the fund.

The goal is to raise $5,000. The local community – vendors, artists, and merchants – are welcome to join and contribute to the festivities. For more information, or to register to help, contact Cindy Quinones ( or the winery (540-937-8215 or

Next Saturday (May 18) at Narmada, those who’ve wondered how a winemaker creates an award-winning wine can try it themselves. Join Narmada for the premiere of its “Better Know Your Palate” series, where wine educator Brett Chappell and Narmada’s Sudha Patil lead a hands-on demonstration on blending Bordeaux varietals.

Chappell is a wine professional with nearly 30 years of experience. He has been a restaurant general manager, a wine selector and sales manager for an importer/distributor, and has appeared with the French Wine Society, UbiFrance and the Metropolitan Cooking Show. A Certified Wine Educator, a sommelier and a wine location specialist, Chappell is currently an adjunct culinary and hospitality professor.

The seminar is offered at two times next Saturday (May 18): either from 1 to 3 or 4 to 6 p.m. The cost is $40 per person (Maharaja Club members receive a 10-percent discount). A credit card is required to hold a space (and Narmada offers a 48-hour cancellation policy). For more information or to register, call 540-937-8215 or email

NPCF gets highest community-foundation marks

The Northern Piedmont Community Foundation recently received accreditation in the nation’s highest standard for philanthropic excellence. National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations establish legal, ethical, effective practices for community foundations everywhere.

“Meeting the National Standards benchmarks is a rigorous, comprehensive process,” said Hugh Ralston, chair of Community Foundations National Standards Board. “This accreditation is a significant accomplishment that says Northern Piedmont Community Foundation has demonstrated a commitment to quality, integrity and accountability.”

The National Standards program requires community foundations to document their policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking and administration. With over 500 community foundations already confirmed in compliance nationwide, the program is designed to provide quality assurance to donors, as well as to their legal and financial advisors.

“This is critically important to our donors,” said Cole Johnson, NPCF executive director. “When people make a charitable bequest or establish a fund, they are putting their trust in us. They are counting on us to manage the investment wisely, honor their charitable wishes and, in some cases, provide lifetime income to a loved one. The National Standards accreditation says our house is in order.”

The NPCF works to meet critical community needs and support local causes and offers a range of charitable funds, allowing donors to advance a cause, support an individual organization, provide flexible support for community needs or recommend individual grants. In addition to affirming the organization’s philanthropic services, the confirmation validates NPCF’s grantmaking practices for the nonprofit community.

“Grantmaking is a lot like investing,” said John McCarthy, NPCF board chair. “We need to assess risks, weigh potential gains, diversify assets, monitor performance and operate fairly. With our National Standards accreditation, you can be assured that we’re doing just that.”

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