The Rapp for Sept. 5

Exhibit honors our ‘Apple Heritage’

Ceramic artist Libet Henze designed and created an apple tree using ceramic for the Apple Heritage Exhibit at River District Arts, which is open this Saturday (Sept. 7) through Oct. 27 at the Sperryville artist cooperative. The exhibit pays homage to Rappahannock County’s apple heritage, and features an “orchard” of newly created paintings and handmade craft from 15 artists.

For “The Orchard,” Libet Henze of Far Ridge Ceramics cut more than 300 individual tiles to make the mosaic.
For “The Orchard,” Libet Henze of Far Ridge Ceramics cut more than 300 individual tiles to make the mosaic.

Other artists participating in the show are Patti Brennan, Ann Dye, Bonnie Dixon, Mary B. Allen, Dabney Kirchman, John Corrao, Mary Brownstein, Kathleen Willingham, Kathy Craig, Sue Linthicum, Chee Kludt Ricketts, Jan Allmon, Vyvyan Rindgren and Susan Northington.

For many years, apples were king in Rappahannock County, which helped it earn the nickname as “the Little Apple,” its orchards providing apples directly to consumers as well to processors for products like apple juice, cider and apple butter. Orchards are still active today in Rappahannock, though the number of bushels produced has declined since the mid-20th-century golden era.

During this period, Sky Line Brand apples and juice were distributed by a fruit growers cooperative in Sperryville. Constructed in the 1930s, the building that houses River District Arts was once an apple packing facility, neighboring Copper Fox Antiques was the cold storage and Copper Fox Distillery, oddly enough, was the juicing facility.

“We thought it appropriate during harvest season to recognize Rappahannock County’s apple heritage and the local orchards that sustain that important part of the county’s agri-history,” said RDA art and marketing director Jim Allmon, who noted that many unique apple inspired pieces were created specifically for RDA’s Apple Heritage Exhibit.

River District Arts is open 10 to 5 Friday-Sunday. For more information, call 703-789-0124 or email

Five members’ works at Middle Street

Next door to RDA at the Middle Street Gallery, the artists cooperative kicks off its fall season with a special show spotlighting the works of five of its member artists. The show opens this Friday (Sept. 6), with an opening reception from 2 to 5 next Saturday, Sept. 14.

Alexia Scott’s “Just Off Rt.17″ is among the works on exhibit at Middle Street’s opening fall show this month.
Alexia Scott’s “Just Off Rt.17″ is among the works on exhibit at Middle Street’s opening fall show this month.

Painter Alexia Scott offers a suite of en plein air and studio studies of Virginia and the American West in her “Weeds, Wildflowers, Bugs and Fields” section of the exhibit. New gallery member Kathleen Willingham exhibits evocative landscapes that are “about mood, texture and color observed, remembered or imagined,” she says. And Ruthie Windsor-Mann, another new member, offers oil paintings from around Rappahannock County and several still lifes. Meanwhile Thomas Spande shows an array of his trademark “nuanced” pencil and pen drawings of people, places and animals, and sculptor Bob Bouquet offers abstract and realistic works in Italian alabaster, black soapstone and pink marble. Photographer Gary Anthes exhibits recent color images of the incredibly friendly and varied people of Cuba — both in Havana and in rural settings.

The gallery, at Rappahannock Central (3 River Lane, Sperryville), is open 10 to 5 Friday-Sunday. For more information, visit or call 540-987-9330.

The sold-out Taste of Rappahannock

The 16th annual Taste of Rappahannock fundraising dinner-auction sold out last week, as supporters of the Headwaters Foundation’s programs — and seekers of excellent auctioned adventures and good food, wine and company— snapped up tickets to celebrate Rappahannock County’s cuisine and children. Donations are still welcome, though.

Nedra Smith’s 12×24 oil painting of a familiar Ben Venue scene is among the items to be auctioned at the sold-out Taste of Rappahannock.
Nedra Smith’s 12×24 oil painting of a familiar Ben Venue scene is among the items to be auctioned at the sold-out Taste of Rappahannock.

The fundraiser supports such Headwaters programs as Next Step, Farm-to-Table, Starfish, After-School Enrichment and READ tutoring. This year’s event, at a new venue (the Miller Barn in Sperryville), features local wines and foods prepared by Laughing Duck Gardens’ Sylvie Rowand and Kurt Streu, culinary arts instructor at Rappahannock County High School.

The menu includes chilled peach soup, roasted salmon salad, Turkish beef kabobs and pastured pork roast, much made possible by the community’s gifts (including meats and produce from more than 20 local farmers, and cuisine from local restaurants and bakers). Live auction items include a Scottish Island getaway and a visit and lunch with the editor of Glamour magazine in New York City, plus a huge variety of silent-auction items. For those who would still like to donate to Headwaters, call 540-987-3322 or at visit — and mark those calendars now for September 2014!

Obenshain fundraiser is Monday

State Sen. Mark Obenshain, Republican candidate for attorney general of Virginia, is the featured guest at a reception and fundraiser from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Washington fire hall on Monday (Sept. 9), Rappahannock County Republican Party chair Evelyn Kerr announced last week.

Senator Mark Obenshain
Senator Mark Obenshain

Wine and hors d’oeuvres and music by the Country Troubadours are on tap, and invited guests include Rep. Robert Hurt (R-5th), Del. Michael Webert (R-18th) and many local officials. Tickets are $50 (additional levels of sponsorship are also available). For reservations, visit or contact Evelyn Kerr at

Obenshain was elected in 2003 to the Virginia Senate, where he is considered a leading conservative and one of the most active and productive members. He is running for attorney general on an aggressive agenda of law-enforcement related issues. His campaign is based on improving public safety to protect Virginia’s citizens from the many forces attempting to limit their freedoms, and to fight to maintain Virginia’s position as a magnet for job growth and opportunity.

Although Obenshain inherited the Republican brand, he has worked singularly to earn the title “conservative.” His father, Dick Obenshain, was the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia during the late 1970s. He later became co-chairman of the Republican National Committee, and was a candidate for the Senate in 1978. In August 1972, the senior Obenshain was tragically killed in a plane crash near his home in Chesterfield County while returning from a campaign event.

During the past 25 years, Obenshain has practiced law in Harrisonburg, where he and his wife Suzanne have their home. He is active in many civic and professional organizations, and serves on the Board of Visitors of James Madison University. For more information about Obenshain, contact Paul Logan at

‘Measure for Measure’ at Theatre

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, the Theatre at Washington opens its fall season with a performance of William Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” which, according to its director, makes “the 1604 text as relevant now as it ever was, without losing the fraught beauty of Shakespeare’s original words.”

The production, by Cambridge University undergraduates who annually travel to venues in the eastern U.S. to perform a play by the world’s most famous and enduring playwright, marks the return of the Cambridge American Stage Tour (CAST) to the Theatre. Featuring Cambridge’s finest actors, directors, designers and technicians, CAST has become a well-regarded showcase for Cambridge’s leading lights of theater. Like many of CAST’s actors, the directors of the last six CAST productions to visit the Theatre at Washington have gone on to successful careers in theatre directing.

“Measure for Measure” is regarded as Shakespeare’s most perplexing “problem play”; the students’ brief synopsis explains that “as the sex trade spirals out of control in Vienna, Duke Vincentio goes undercover, leaving the brittle Angelo in charge. Angelo rules with tyrannical spite, but after meeting the enchantingly willful Isabella he can’t adhere to his own rules.” Deceit, hypocrisy and scandal follow, and Angelo’s terrible ultimatum forces Isabella to confront the entanglement of sex and death.”

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

Back to (music) school

There are still some slots available for private music lessons, for children and adults in a variety of instruments, offered every fall at Rappahannock County High School. Instructors this fall include Larissa West (flute, Wednesdays); Anders Drew (blues, R&B, rock and country guitar, Wednesdays); JingJing Nei (violin, Wednesdays); Joshua Cole (low brass, Wednesdays); Ryan Rowles (sax and clarinet, Thursdays); and Logan Desabrais (trumpet and horn, Thursdays).

Contact program coordinator Kathryn Treanor at or 540-878-6202 for more information about the lessons, which cost $17 per half-hour session (paid to the instructors directly).

‘The Making of America’ seminar Sept. 14

How did the United States come to be the first free nation in modern times? How are the ideas that shaped the founding of our country relevant to the challenges facing the U.S. in the 21st Century?

These and other questions will be explored in a public seminar, “The Making of America,” to be held at Wakefield Country Day School next Saturday (Sept. 14). The seminar, sponsored by Friends of Liberty, is open to the public. It is an educational program intended for individuals and families with children and would be especially valuable for students studying American history and government.

The program will be held as the nation approaches its 226th “birthday” on Thursday, Sept. 17, commemorating the signing of the Constitution of the United States in Philadelphia in 1787. The issues involved are as contemporary as today’s headlines: Can the President launch an attack on another country without approval from Congress? Can Federal agencies legislate by executive regulation when Congress declines to act?

The seminar is a program of the National Center for Constitutional Studies and has been put on in many communities across America. It begins at 8:30 and finishes by 4:30 p.m. Participants will be given a study guide to keep. A donation of $10 per adult or family is requested, but anyone may attend without making a donation. To reserve your place at the seminar, please call Barbara Cioffi at 540-937-2504 or email

— James Gannon

Gray Ghost’s new bottling line

Amissville’s Gray Ghost has become one of the few Virginia wineries to have a fully automated bottling line. The new addition is the Chabot Delrieu capsuler/labeler, which operates either in-line or independently of the bottling system now in use.

Gray Ghost is one of the only wineries in Virginia to host this bottling equipment. Courtesy photo.
Gray Ghost is one of the only wineries in Virginia to host this bottling equipment. Courtesy photo.

“We have always taken great pride in the fact that all our wines have been bottled in-house without the having to rely on mobile bottling lines,” said Al Kellert, co-owner of the winery. “The new addition gives us the opportunity to streamline our operation by doing all phases of the bottling simultaneously.”

The new system is being introduced for the first time this year in the U.S., a popular system in Europe that most of the great French chateaus (wineries) use. Gray Ghost is the first U.S. winery to have the equipment.

“We have been asked by the company to be part of their promotional package as they work toward expanding into the U.S. market,” said Kellert.

The equipment is now included as part of the pre-scheduled tour conducted at Gray Ghost (14706 Lee Hwy., Amissville). The winery is open 11 to 5 Friday-Sunday. Call 540-937-4869.

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