The Rapp for Dec. 10

Kid Pan at the symphony

Paul Reisler and Kid Pan Alley perform with the Manassas Symphony this Saturday at the Hylton Center.
Paul Reisler and Kid Pan Alley perform with the Manassas Symphony this Saturday at the Hylton Center. Cheryl Toth

Kid Pan Alley will be performing with the Manassas Symphony under the direction of Maestro James Villani this Saturday (Dec. 12) at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts (10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas). The 3:30 p.m. concert features the orchestra on three Kid Pan Alley songs, written with children at Chris Yung Elementary School. They will also play a KPA favorite, “I Do Love Virginia” which was originally recorded by Sissy Spacek for a Kid Pan Alley album.

Kid Pan Alley’s Paul Reisler and Lea Morris will be performing with the orchestra. The program was made possible by the Jesse and Rose Loeb Foundation. Tickets are available from the Hylton Center box office at 888-945-2468.

Bluegrass at The Theatre Dec. 19

Bluegrass masters and snappy dressers Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band returns to the Theatre at Washington on Dec. 19.
Bluegrass masters and snappy dressers Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band returns to the Theatre at Washington on Dec. 19. Courtesy photo

On Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015 at 8 p.m., the Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band returns to the Theatre at Washington for a rousing holiday concert of traditional bluegrass music.

The band consists of Paul Fincham, five-string banjo and vocals; Larry Haynes, guitar and vocals; Bob Cook, lead guitar and vocals; Buck Morris, mandolin and vocals; and Steve Lamb, upright bass. The popular and talented homegrown musicians are well known for their exceptional three-part harmony and traditional-style singing. Paul Fincham points out that the sound is always controlled, “driving” but never over-amplified.

The Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band is influenced by some of bluegrass music’s best-loved performers: Reno and Smiley, Stanley Brothers, Jim and Jesse, Charlie Moore, Charlie Waller and Flatt and Scruggs. Paul adds, “We have been known to be the best-dressed bluegrass band around, like Flatt and Scruggs used to be when they performed. We always dress up for our shows.”

Raised in Rappahannock, Fincham now resides in Madison County, and describes the other members of the Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band as “local boys.” Though “local,” the band plays a wide venue and has performed in major bluegrass festivals throughout Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Georgia. The Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band has opened for nationally acclaimed artists Daryle Singletary, Rhonda Vincent and Mel Tillis. They have recorded several CDs, including their most recent album, “The Lonely Sound of Dark Hollow.”

Tickets for the Dec. 19 concert ($25, $10 ages 17 and younger) are available at or 540-675-1253. The theater is at 291 Gay St., Washington.

Dinner for two, Free Clinic for all

Tanya Paull purchases a Free Clinic raffle ticket from Brion Patterson at Quicke Mart.
Tanya Paull purchases a Free Clinic raffle ticket from Brion Patterson at Quicke Mart. Cecile Scott

One of the county’s hidden gems pops up this season, hoping to raise funds with an exciting raffle benefit. The Rappahannock Free Clinic has been functioning quietly in its borrowed space at the county’s health department building for more than 15 years, serving hundreds of patients each year.

The Free Clinic is more than its name implies. It is a complete portable medical facility. Twice a month, it provides an opportunity for uninsured local residents to consult with nurses and physicians and receive a range of medical services at no cost.

Every first and third Wednesday, after the health department closes, a core of trained volunteers moves into place. By 5 p.m., the clinic’s unpaid staff, including nurses, administrative support and medical specialists, is ready.

Jennifer Ritter, the Free Clinic's patient care coordinator (left), poses with Anne Miller, FNP-C and clinic volunteer.
Jennifer Ritter, the Free Clinic’s patient care coordinator (left), poses with Anne Miller, FNP-C and clinic volunteer. Cecile Scott

As clients arrive, there are warm greetings and respectful inquiries. After all, the Free Clinic staff and its clients are Rappahannock neighbors, frequently having crossed paths in jobs, organizations, and in our children’s lives. Many have been clinic clients and volunteers for years.

The Rappahannock Free Clinic seldom asks for help while working with the uninsured and the needy. But The Inn at Little Washington has recognized their work, and it has donated a dinner for two which the clinic can raffle off.

A purchase of raffle tickets for a dinner at The Inn helps the Free Clinic raise funds to purchase medical equipment and assist clients with medication expenses. The price is modest — one ticket for $10 or three for $25. Every purchase multiplies the value of the donation with continued services.

Tickets are available at the Rappahannock County administrator and commissioner of revenue offices; Little Washington Spa; Rappahannock Real Estate Resources; Merry Moo Market; Hackley’s Country Store; Mayhugh’s; Schoolhouse Nine Golf Course; Copper Fox Antiques; Knit Wit Yarn Shop and the Laurel Mills store. The drawing is Jan. 8.

Mitchell Fund grant season begins

By Dennis Brack/Rappahannock News
Castleton Festival director Dietlinde Turban Maazel accepts a 2015 Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund grant last June at an awards reception at the home of Matthew and Barbara Black.

Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community (RAAC) opens the fourth annual grant season for its Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund on Dec. 15, when new grant guidelines and the application for 2016 will be available online at

Proposals are welcomed from emerging and established artists of all ages, arts organizations, arts programs within community-based organizations, collaborative projects, and especially to projects with a community focus. All arts media are eligible — visual art, literature, music, film/video, dance, theater and projects combining multiple media.

Since 2012 the Mitchell Fund has awarded more than $70,000 in grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 to 39 local arts projects, nonprofit organizations and emerging and established artists. Recent grants include arts programming in Rappahannock schools, community music performances, artist workshops and continuing education, video productions and dance scholarships.

“In an already flourishing arts community, the Mitchell Arts Fund has added a new dimension by helping and encouraging county artists and arts programming through financial support,” said RAAC President Matthew Black. “These grants are investments in an important resource that is vital to the character and health of Rappahannock County.”

The Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund is RAAC’s primary channel for offering financial support to the arts in Rappahannock. It was established with a generous bequest from the estate of Claudia Mitchell, RAAC’s president for many years and a dedicated supporter of the arts and community.

The Fund continues to grow through ongoing donations, fundraising events and income generated by RAAC programs, principally RAAC’s annual art tour and film festival. For more information about the Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund, visit

Beck-Herzog is new Cedar Creek site manager

Karen Beck-Herzog is the new site manager of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.
Karen Beck-Herzog is the new site manager of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. NPS

Karen Beck-Herzog, an 18-year veteran of the National Park Service, has been selected as the new site manager for Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, replacing Amy Bracewell, who was promoted to superintendent of Saratoga National Historical Park in July.

Beck-Herzog, who’s been serving as the acting site manager since then, officially began her new  permanent duties Nov. 30.

“I am very excited to have Karen in this new position,” said Jim Northup, superintendent of both Shenandoah National Park and Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. “She has already proven that she has the leadership and relationship building skills necessary to be a great site manager at this partnership park; working with the park staff, the legislated partners, the Federal Advisory Commission, and the surrounding communities to continue with this park’s development and success.  She has quickly earned the support of the park staff and the partners, and after careful consideration of all of the applicants, I am confident that Karen has the best combination of skills necessary to manage Cedar Creek and Belle Grove at this time.”

Beck-Herzog began her National Park Service (NPS) career after earning a B.A. degree in economics and international affairs from Bucknell University, and an early career in financial services with SEI Investments. Her first National Park Service position was in maintenance administration at Grand Canyon National Park, followed by an assignment with the NPS Budget Office in Washington, D.C., where she managed the NPS Project Management Information System and Service-wide Comprehensive Call system — critically important systems to every park in the country. In 2002, she also served as the acting superintendent at Fort Clatsop National Monument in Oregon.

For the past 13 years, Beck-Herzog has served as the management assistant at Shenandoah National Park, where she has served as the park’s public affairs and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officer, has managed a complex portfolio of land and right-of-way issues, and served as the park’s primary liaison with its nine surrounding counties, a variety of stakeholder groups and the Shenandoah National Park Trust, the park’s official philanthropic partner.  

“I am very excited at the opportunity to serve as the site manager and to join the talented team already in place at the park,” Beck-Herzog said. “I’m thrilled to begin working in earnest with our partners, neighbors, and gateway communities to continue developing the park and drawing more visitors to the area.”

Karen, and her husband Steve, also a National Park Service employee, are the proud parents of two children, Zachary and Ashley.

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