Ringing in the Fourth

By Sara Schonhardt

Defying a heat index approaching 100 degrees, several hundred Rappahannock County residents and visitors brought chairs, blankets and picnic baskets to the lawn of Washington’s Avon Hall on Sunday evening to witness retired U.S. Marine Col. John Bourgeois lead his talented orchestra of current and former military musicians in an “All-American” salute to 1776 — from Stars and Stripes Forever to God Bless America.

By John McCas

The esteemed conductor, who lives in Tiger Valley, is seen here taking a bow alongside Marine Gunnery Sergeant and renowned soprano soloist Sara Sheffield.

By John McCaslin

Decked out in red, white and blue for the occasion is county Board of Zoning Appeals member Ron Makela; while NBC4 news anchor Wendy Rieger, seen picnicking here with friends, described the patriotic concert as nothing short of stirring.

Unfortunately, moments after the concert ended, Col. Bourgeois was transported by ambulance to Fauquier Hospital for apparent dehydration, but he is now doing fine. On Wednesday, as this newspaper was going to press, Ben Venue Farm was gearing up for a spectacular 4th of July festival and fireworks, organized again this year by the men and women of the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department.

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