Spring has arrived; just turn to pages 2 and 3 to see how much the Rappahannock event calendar has blossomed in one week. Among this weekend’s highlights:
• Friday: “Captain Phillips,” with Tom Hanks and Oscar-winning pirate Barkhad Abdi, is RAAC’s movie at the Theatre in Washington. Starts at 8.
• Saturday: The 34th running of the Old Dominion Hounds annual point-to-point races at Ben Venue Farm open Rappahannock’s steeplechase season with 10 races starting at noon.
• Sunday: Paul Reisler and his Thousand Questions ensemble, which includes the must-hear musical adventures of Howard Levy of the Flecktones, perform a benefit concert for Kid Pan Alley, 4 p.m. at the RAAC Community Theatre.
Details about these (and many more) events on pages 2 and 3.
Officials from the United States Mint and the National Park Service will be visiting Rappahannock County and Front Royal this Thursday and Friday for the official launch of the Shenandoah National Park quarter.
Expected at the launch ceremony, 10 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, April 4) at the Skyline High School in Front Royal, are U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine and Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward, as well as Richard Peterson, deputy director of the Mint, and Shenandoah National Park Superintendent Jim Northup. The event includes a coin exchange, where the public can trade their cash for $10 rolls of the new Shenandoah National Park quarter — the 22nd coin of the Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters Program, a 12-year initiative to honor 56 national parks and other national sites.
At 5:30 today (Thursday, April 3), deputy director Peterson hosts a coin forum at the Rappahannock County Library (4 Library Rd., Washington), an opportunity for the public to express their views about future coinage and to learn about upcoming United States Mint coin programs and initiatives.
A new program of music and dramatic readings of the letters, poems and diaries of feminist heroine Lou Andreas Salomé (1861-1937), with the internationally renowned Leipzig String Quartet and actress Dietlinde Turban, features music by Rachmaninoff, Wagner, Webern and Grieg. The evening celebrates one of the most modern and mesmerizing women of turn-of-the-century Europe and her inspirational relationships with Nietzsche, Rilke, Ibsen and Freud, and starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at Castleton Theatre House. Tickets ($30) available at castletonfestival.org or call 866-974-0767.
At 8 p.m. next Saturday (April 12) at the Theatre at Washington local, globally known jazz pianist Bill Harris offers a solo recital in which he explores the melodies and forms of his favorite songs from the vast catalog of Frank Sinatra. Elaborating with his trademark lyrical improvisation on familiar tunes that’ll include such classics as “Takin’ A Chance on Love,” “Witchcraft” and “Angel Eyes,” among many others. Harris has often expressed his fondness for playing at the Theatre: “The audience is greatly appreciative, the acoustics are marvelous and the piano is wonderful to play — and is always in tune,” he says. “Also, living locally in Rappahannock County is a big bonus.” You can express your fondness by calling 540-675-1253 or emailing email@example.com for a ticket ($25, or $10 for ages 17 and younger).
The following afternoon — Sunday, April 13 — a Smithsonian at Little Washington chamber concert series highlight rescheduled from one of those February white-out weekends, takes the stage at 3 p.m. The all-Johann Sebastian Bach concert features violinist Robert Mealy and harpsichordist Kenneth Slowik, who’ll perform sonatas by the great baroque composer.
Slowik and Mealy are both leaders in the field of historical performance — Slowik being artistic director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society and a familiar presence at the Theatre. Baroque violinist Mealy is concertmaster of the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra and director of Juilliard’s Historical Performance program. He also teaches at the Yale School of Music. Between them, Slowik and Mealy have some 140 recordings to their credit.
A much-valued part of all Smithsonian at Little Washington concerts, Slowik’s concert commentary sheds light on the glorious music and the life and times of the featured composers. Recipient in 2011 of the Smithsonian secretary’s Distinguished Research Lecture Award, Slowik generally offers an abbreviated version of the talk that precedes each of the concerts heard in that other Washington.
Tickets for the April 13 concert are $25 ($10 for ages 17 and younger). Reservations for preferred seating are recommended, but unreserved tickets will also be available at the box office. Call 540-675-1253 email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have not yet experienced the orchestral performances of the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, consider attending the PSO’s next concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 13. The PSO concert at Warrenton’s Highland School features Aaron Copeland’s “Appalachian Spring,” an orchestral suite of enduring popularity – along with Thofandis’ “Rainbow Body” and Foss’ “Oboe Concerto.” Top musicians from across the Piedmont region are perform with the Piedmont Symphony — including two regulars from Rappahannock County among the violinists, Diana Trieatta and Molly Hobson. Check piedmontsymphony.org for tickets.
From April 4 through May 11, Middle Street Gallery in Sperryville exhibits a series of “introspective pen and ink drawings that represent a surreal view of nature” by member artist Wayne Paige. The enigmatic inhabitants of Paige’s world, which resemble clothespins, “observe unnamed events and populate imaginary landscapes of mountains, waterways and forests,” he says.
The figures in the drawings, “with their featureless faces, are engaged and communicating, trying to determine what is going on,” Paige says. “At other times, they are startled by the events that surround them. All takes place under a moonlit sky with a celestial version of the inhabitants saturating the heavens.” In “Floating bi,” the only painting in the exhibition, a silhouetted figure occupies a desolate, sun-drenched landscape.
Ann Curry will show five works — in acrylic paint, ink and encaustic medium — that show “multiple layers of visual interest.” Four of her pieces are line drawings that are bold, concise and incisive; the fifth work is a gentle drawing in colored pencil on a watercolor monoprint background. Phyllis Magrab presents “Five Easy Pieces,” which she calls “a collection of transparently layered acrylics on large sheets reflecting my ongoing study of color, light and abstraction.” Phyllis Northup is showing watercolors that are “pure celebration of rocks and the beauty and rich variety of their colors, textures, shapes and sizes.” Says Northup, “I am an admitted rock addict and am fascinated by the many different colors and forms as well as the geology behind their creation.”
Finally, photographer Susan Raines offers photographs of Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West, Fla. The fort’s 19th-century brick walls are five feet thick and “the vaulted ceilings are an architectural wonder,” Raines says. “The fort houses the largest collection of Civil War artifacts in America; much of the armament was buried, forgotten, and only recently rediscovered during major archeological excavations.”
There’s an opening reception for the artists and the public from 3 to 5 on Saturday, April 12. Middle Street (3 River Ln., Sperryville) is open 10 to 5 Friday-Sunday. For more information, call 540-987-9330 or visit middlestreetgallery.org.
— Gary Anthes
The 2014 Taste of Rappahannock is now set for Sept. 13, according to the Headwaters Foundation, sponsors of the annual fall gourmet dinner/can’t-miss auction fundraiser. Dinner will again be orchestrated by Sylvie Rowand and RCHS’ culinary arts students and staff, with famous local restaurants as partners, and will feature all locally grown food from Rappahannock County farmers and growers and the local Farm-to-Table program. It’s again at the Miller Barn in Sperryville, and Headwaters director Jane Bowling-Wilson says there are surprises in store. All proceeds benefit children in Rappahannock County with programs like Next Step career and college access, the After-School Enrichment Program, the Farm-to-Table program, Starfish Mentoring/READ and Mini-Grants. A local event with global consequences, as Headwaters puts it, affecting educational excellence for young people right here at home. Visit headwatersfdn.org for more.