If you weren’t part of the dulcimer community, it’s unlikely that you would have heard of a man named Ralph Lee Smith. Ralph played a significant role in the folk revolution of the 1960s and ’70s and was also a groundbreaking researcher of the history of the Appalachian dulcimer, a wooden instrument with three or four strings and frets that is played on the lap.
If it had not been for a hive of honeybees, John R.Bourgeois may never have become the director of the “President’s Own” Marine Band. In his new book, “Play On!: A Marine’s Musical Journey from the Bayou to the White House,” Bourgeois tells the story of how he came to lead the oldest continuously active professional music organization.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled innumerable arts events over the past year, the Rappahannock arts community is still alive and well. The Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community has created several different ways to keep artists and audiences connected virtually.
The Middle Street Gallery in Washington. is putting on its annual Members and Friends exhibition, on exhibit from Friday through Feb. 14 will be a rich variety of colors, textures, subjects, and media from some two dozen artists.
The Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community launched its Artist Relief Fund in July, and since then the fund has provided financial aid to 17 local artists, craftsmen and musicians who have lost jobs or gigs due to COVID-19.
Rappahannock County is fortunate to possess the eye of Gary Anthes, a member of the Middle Street Gallery artists’ co-operative and gallery in Washington, whose fine-art photographs have appeared coast-to-coast in newspapers and magazines to exhibitions and solo shows to breathtaking books.
Last Friday, Sept. 25, children from Renee Estinola’s Child Care and Learning Center class toured the gardens at the The Inn at Little Washington. My granddaughter was one of those to visit. She had so much fun that when she came home she could not stop talking about the fun she had. She especially loved the llamas.
The bearded man’s roots on his mother’s side run deep in Rappahannock, although he grew up in Culpeper. When he was a young boy his dad sold his handmade birdhouses out of the Sperryville Emporium.
Artistically inclined? Socially isolated? Time on your hands? Make the most of your COVID-19 isolation by competing to create a handcrafted holiday ornament for display in Virginia’s Executive Mansion.
This year’s grants, totaling $36,703, include a diversity of educational and performance projects, a variety of media, emerging and established artists, arts programs within community-based organizations, and collaborative projects.
“We started thinking about all the fantastic music here in Rappahannock, all bottled up at home with nowhere to go,” KPA Founder Paul Reisler.
Kid Pan Alley is launching a “Virtual House Concert” series with local musicians, beginning this Sunday, April 19th, at 7 p.m.