The Rapp for July 14

Volunteers really needed; lunch really included

On Sunday, July 31, Sperryville Volunteer Rescue Squad and Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department are sponsoring a joint community meeting — and a free lunch — at which they hope to discuss their community services and the urgent need for new volunteers to support these and other similar organizations in the county. All are welcome. Lunch starts at 1, with meeting to follow at the Sperryville fire hall on U.S. 211 just west of the village. For more information, call 540-987-8085 and leave a message for Raymond Boc.

Park reflects on the history of gliders

Shenandoah National Park hosts a special presentation on the history of gliders this Saturday and Sunday (July 15-16), at 1 p.m. both days at the Byrd Visitor Center.

Presenter Lt. Col. Hulstrunk, a World War II glider pilot, speaks about his experience of attending and assisting with the glider competition held at Big Meadows more than 70 years ago — including the search for better aircraft and flying sites during the 1930s, the methods of getting a glider into the air and the unique experimental gliders of the time. He will also touch on how the pilots who competed for aviation records quickly found themselves on opposite sides during World War II.

There’s also a modern-day glider on the lawn at Byrd Visitor Center from 11 to 3 both days, weather permitting. The German-built 2003 Schleicher ASW 27B, a 15-meter high performance glider, can reach a maximum speed of 177 mph. Pilot Shane Neitzey will be available to answer questions on the glider plane.

In 1934, the Soaring Society of America held a glider meet where the nation’s foremost pilots and glider planes assembled in the heart of Shenandoah National Park. The glider center at Big Meadows was said to rival the world-renowned German Camp in Wasserkuppe. The pilots competed for world records while gliding from the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Reisler receives two fellowships

Paul Reisler works out on the guitar at a recent month-long Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellowship retreat.
Paul Reisler works out on the guitar at a recent month-long Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellowship retreat. Susan Saandhollen

Paul Reisler, founder and artistic director of Kid Pan Alley, recently received two fellowship awards from the Jubilation Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

The first is a two-year cash award to help support his work from the Jubilation Foundation of Seattle, in recognition of his work inspiring children to be creators of their own music and culture.

According to the foundation’s Elizabeth Shé, the Jubilation Foundation “funds extraordinary teaching artists. By using music and movement, these folks have an exceptional talent for helping others feel fully alive, connected, and joyful. We are proud and honored to support such exceptional and generous individuals.” These prestigious awards are only given to 10 individuals every two years.

Reisler also just returned from a month-long fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst. The VCCA is a working retreat for exceptional national and international artists, writers and composers. The results of this crucible of creativity can be seen in the numerous awards their Fellows have received — from Pulitzers to the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” grants.

Over the past 23 years, Reisler has received numerous fellowships at the VCCA where he has worked on most of his major projects including his “Aesop’s Fables for Orchestra and Narrator,” a new musical, as well as the music for five plays by his long-time collaborator, Julie Portman.

“The VCCA is where I have the luxury of time and space to focus on large-scale works,” said Reisler. “It helps balance out my work with Kid Pan Alley where I write eight songs a week with kids. It feeds me and informs all my creative work.”

Kid Pan Alley is currently at work on a year-long project with the Shenandoah National Park celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. They’ll be bringing children from eight gateway schools (including Rappahannock Elementary) to the park, and then writing songs inspired by those visits. For more information, visit

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