Blog Archives

Registration open for Civil War day camp

newspaperRegistration is open for the 14th annual summer day camp at the Virginia Museum of the Civil War, located at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park.  Intended for children age 7-12, the camp will runMonday through Friday, July 11-15, from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Camp activities include learning basic drill maneuvers, eating period food, and playing 19th-century games.

“You can explore the Battle of New Market as if you were a soldier, or maybe a civilian or even a VMI cadet,” said Maj. Troy Marshall, site director. In the 1864 Battle of New Market, Virginia Military Institute cadets fought alongside Confederate forces.

The cost is $20 per camper per day, or $80 for all five days. Pre-registration is required and space is limited.

For more information or to register, contact the museum at 866-515-1864 (toll free) or visit the park website at

Shenandoah University to host 31st annual Children’s Literature Conference

shenandoah-uFor the past 31 years, the Children’s Literature Conference at Shenandoah University has been striving to share with teachers and librarians the best that children’s literature has to offer. This year, the conference will be held Monday, June 20, through Friday, June 24, on the campus of Shenandoah University.
The theme of the 2016 conference is “Words and Pictures: The Art of the Matter,” which will immerse attendees in the beauty of pairing words and pictures.
Throughout the week, participants will study with award-winning, best-selling authors and illustrators, including Matt de la Peña (2016 Newbery winner “Last Stop on Market Street”), Eric Litwin (the “Pete the Cat” series), Adam Rubin (“Dragons Love Tacos”), Peter Sís (“Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei”), E. B. Lewis (Caldecott Honor for “Coming on Home Soon” illustrations), Sara Pennypacker (the “Clementine” series), Daniel Salmieri (“Meet the Dullards” illustrator), Jarrett Krosoczka (“Lunch Lady” and “Platypus Police Squad” series), Greg Pizzoli (“The Watermelon Seed”), Christian Robinson (“Last Stop on Market Street” illustrator), Pam Muñoz Ryan (“Echo,” “Esperanza Rising”), Wendelin Van Draanen (“Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief”), Pat Mora (“Book Fiesta!”) and Matt Tavares (“Growing Up Pedro”).
Each morning, authors and illustrators will offer presentations, vividly sharing stories about their work. In the afternoons, participants will be given the choice of attending small group workshops, roundtable discussions with the authors and illustrators, and classes on how to use literature to teach reading and writing. The guest speakers’ books are sold daily, with signing opportunities in the afternoon.
Participants who attend the conference may elect to earn up to three hours of graduate or undergraduate credit. To enroll in the conference, visit, email or call 540/545-7215. Registration form and payment are due by Friday, June 17.
In conjunction with the conference, two events will be held which are free and open to the public. Special thanks to the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation for their support of the conference and these community events.
Eric Litwin LIVE in Concert – 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 21 – Daniel Morgan Middle School (48 S. Purcell Avenue, Winchester)
Eric Litwin is a guitar-strumming, book-writing, harmonica-blowing, song-singing guy. He is the # 1 New York Times Best-Selling author of the first four Pete the Cat picture books (“Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes,” “Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes,” “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons,” and “Pete the Cat Saves Christmas”) and the author of the new musical series “The Nuts.” Litwin’s books have sold more than 1.5 million copies, been translated into seven languages and won 15 state and national awards including a Theodor Geisel Seuss Honor Award. He has also recorded award-winning music CDs. Litwin is a popular performing artist who plays guitar, sings, tells musical stories and brings books to life.
Rockin’ the Library with Jarrett Krosoczka – 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 22 – Handley Regional Library (100 W. Piccadilly Street, Winchester)
Jarrett Krosockza, author of the popular graphic novels in the “Lunch Lady” series will participate in Handley Regional Library’s Family Fun Night, which begins at 6:30 p.m. with special guests and a performance on the library steps. Attendees will have a chance to meet and hear from Krosoczka at 7 p.m. that evening.
Perseverance, optimism and above all a talent for visual storytelling are traits that have benefitted Krosoczka in his pursuit to become the award-winning author-illustrator he is today. All 33 books Krosoczka has created in just 15 years as a published author-illustrator are infused with humor, heart and a respect for his readers. It’s these qualities too that attract his young readers (and listeners) to his books, from “Punk Farm” to “Platypus Police Squad,” and make them all perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries and bookstores.
Inspired by the connections his “Lunch Lady” graphic novels made on his school visits, Krosoczka founded School Lunch Hero Day, a national campaign that celebrates school lunch staff. He also launched Platypus Police Reading Squad, a program wherein police officers read aloud to children in schools and libraries.

Lime Kiln Theater presents an Evening with the Seldom Scene

seldom sceneLime Kiln Theater’s Summer 2016 concert series continues on Friday, June 17, as the Seldom Scene take the stage. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8.

Advance tickets are $25 and are on sale now at Tickets will be $30 at the door, with cash, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover all accepted.

Lime Kiln Theater’s summer concert series is sponsored by Devils Backbone Brewing Company and Charles W. Barger & Son Construction. Devils Backbone beer, Kind Roots Café food, and Rockbridge Vineyard wine are available for purchase at all shows. An Evening with the Seldom Scene is sponsored by Kendal at Lexington.

What does it take for a bluegrass band to remain popular for more than four decades? For the Seldom Scene, it’s taken not only talented musicians, a signature sound and a solid repertoire, but also a sheer sense of fun. In 2014, the longtime pillars of the bluegrass world returned with the aptly titled Long Time… Seldom Scene. The newly recorded collection features fresh interpretations of 16 often-requested tunes and is the band’s first studio album since the Grammy-nominated Scenechronized in 2007. It’s a family reunion in all the best ways, featuring the current and longest-running lineup, joined by founding members Tom Gray and John Starling and guests Chris Eldridge, Emmylou Harris and Rickie Simpkins.

Lime Kiln Arts, Inc. is a non-profit (501c3), operating at Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington. It opened in 1984 and is rooted in and inspired by the magic of a natural, outdoor theater. After a brief hiatus that started in 2012, Lime Kiln Theater is thrilled to present its third straight summer season of live music featuring local, regional and national acts.

For more information, visit Lime Kiln on the web at, or check out our Facebook page at

John McCutcheon at Court Square Theater on Saturday, June 18

court square theaterNo one remembers when the neighbors started calling the McCutcheons to complain about the loud singing from young John’s bedroom. It didn’t seem to do much good, though. For, after a shaky, lopsided battle between piano lessons and baseball (he was a mediocre pianist and an all-star catcher), he had “found his voice” thanks to a cheap mail-order guitar and a used book of chords.

From such inauspicious beginnings, John McCutcheon has emerged as one of our most respected and loved folksingers. As an instrumentalist, he is a master of a dozen different traditional instruments, most notably the rare and beautiful hammer dulcimer. His songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe. His thirty recordings have garnered every imaginable honor including seven Grammy nominations. He has produced over twenty albums of other artists, from traditional fiddlers to contemporary singer-songwriters to educational and documentary works.

Even before graduating summa cum laude from Minnesota’s St. John’s University, this Wisconsin native literally “headed for the hills,” forgoing a college lecture hall for the classroom of the eastern Kentucky coal camps, union halls, country churches, and square dance halls. His apprenticeship to many of the legendary figures of Appalachian music imbedded a love of not only homemade music, but a sense of community and rootedness.

The result is music…whether traditional or from his huge catalog of original songs…with the profound mark of place, family, and strength. It also created a storytelling style that has been compared to Will Rogers and Garrison Keillor.

But it is in live performance that John feels most at home. It is what has brought his music into the lives and homes of one of the broadest audiences any folk musician has ever enjoyed. People of every generation and background seem to feel at home in a concert hall when John McCutcheon takes the stage, with what critics describe as “like a conversation with an illuminating old friend.

John McCutcheon performs at Harrisonburg’s Court Square Theater on Saturday, June 18. Doors open at 7:00pm, concert begins at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 in advance and $24 at the door. Please visit or call 540.433.9189 for more information and to purchase tickets.

Court Square Theater is located at 41-F Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Staunton Stories Exhibit celebrates 20 years of Staunton Downtown Development Association

sdda logo2The Staunton Downtown Development Association hosted Staunton Stories, a one-day event to celebrate and document the people that make Downtown Staunton a dynamic and diverse community, to mark its 20-year anniversary.

The event was held at the R. R. Smith Center in March, and SDDA received almost 70 stories and items of memorabilia.

During the event, local residents and business owners were invited to bring up to three original photos or handheld items that told the story of their connection to Staunton. These items included photographs, documents, and memorabilia that relates to local families, businesses, downtown events, activities, social clubs, etc.

The data, digital images, and videos collected at the event have become part of the upcoming exhibit and an online archive housed on the SDDA website. The Staunton Stories Exhibit is being organized in partnership with the Historic Staunton Foundation, NBC Channel 29, Virginia Eagle Distributors, The Artisan Loft, FlyingWarthog Films, and the City of Staunton IT Department.

The Staunton Stories Exhibit Grand Opening is scheduled for Friday, June 17 from 6-9 p.m. at The Artisan Loft. The exhibit will run through July 31 and will consist of items collected at the March event, plus 20 years of photographs and documents depicting a history of Downtown development and SDDA accomplishments. 

“It is an honor to be part of the 20-Year Anniversary of the SDDA and to honor those people and organizations that make this community thrive,” says Julie Markowitz, director of the Staunton Downtown Development Association. “Everyone is invited to come and celebrate with us at The Artisan Loft, a new gallery space located above the Staunton Antiques Center at 19.”

The Staunton Stories Exhibit is funded by a $25,000 Downtown Investment Grant awarded by Virginia Main Street and is part of a series of activities and special promotions that not only commemorate the 20-year anniversary of SDDA but are designed to connect the Staunton Community to Downtown.

The SDDA was founded as a Virginia Main Street organization in 1996 and has been a driving force in the development of Downtown Staunton.

The idea for the March “Staunton Stories” was presented to the SDDA by Heather Cole, historian and newcomer to Staunton. Cole conducted a similar project in Massachusetts — the Massachusetts Memories Road Show — that held public events across the state to digitize family photographs and stories.

For more information about Staunton Stories, visit the SDDA website at

Trout Fishing in America with Dana Louise and the Glorious Birds at the Wayne Theatre

trout fishing in americaThe Wayne Theatre presents Trout Fishing in America with Dana Louise and the Glorious Birds on Saturday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ross Performing Arts Center in downtown Waynesboro.

Tickets are $25 and $20. Tickets are on sale now.

Four time Grammy award nominees Trout Fishing in America is the long-standing musical partnership of Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet. Trout Fishing in America is an eclectic folk/rock/pop band.
Best known for family music and kids’ songs, this show is for all ages. Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet, the musicians of Trout Fishing in America, met in Houston more than three decades ago and have been playing together ever since.

The name, taken from a Richard Brautigan novel, seems almost as incongruous as a picture of this musical duo: Ezra Idlet (guitar) stands six feet eight inches and Keith Grimwood (bass), five feet five and one half inches. Ezra is more playful and extroverted while Keith is more serious and reserved. Each of them bring out the best in the other and the joy that comes from this musical interaction is contagious and impossible to deny.

story-danalouiseDana Louise is a new songstress astonishing audiences with her vibrant, melodic vocals, adept finger-picking and cool sound.

Now touring her debut album, she is joined by the Glorious Birds — Adams Collins (vibraphone and 5-string banjo), Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood (Trout Fishing in America/guitar, percussion and bass).

Drawing from jazz and bluegrass, carrying a contemporary beat, the sound is roots-rooted flung-into-the-future folk. Dana Louise & the Glorious Birds work to leave their audiences glowing with the magic music can bring: genuine human connection.

“Dana Louise is something special … nothing short of magical.” Doug Treadway for Nightflying

Visit South Court Inn in Luray

south court innSouth Court Inn is only 90 miles (about 2 hours) from the DC metro area and conveniently located nearby most everything the historic Shenandoah Valley has to offer.

If you are wondering what you can do in Luray, VA? You’ll find South Court Inn is close to just about anything you want to do. Hiking? Wine Tasting? Exploring Caverns?  It’s all nearby and we have specially priced packages for just about everything you’d like to do.  We hope you make us your home base for fun while visiting in our area.  Ask us about the Wine and Whisky Loop.  In partnership with Discover Shenandoah check out the “Blue Ridge Whisky Wine Loop”, a convenient grouping of specially selected local wineries, eateries, antique shops and yes, even a distillery right here in the heart of Virginia!

The town of Luray is quaint and very well managed for visitors.  There are numerous shops for antiquing, ice cream, coffee, pastries; food and drink from shacks to several very good places for different types of bar-b-cue to gourmet dining are within walking distance.  You can even get legal moonshine at the local ABC store! Yea-Ha!  If you want to work off those luscious calories you can take a stroll on the town ‘Greenway’ walk along the Hawksbill Creek, a short walk in itself from the South Court Inn.

More on South Court Inn online at

10th anniversary national gathering of Coming to the Table

coming to the tableThere will be a national gathering of the 10th anniversary of Coming to the Table at Eastern Mennonite University on June 9-12.

CTTT provides leadership, resources and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States’ history of slavery.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Gail Christopher, is senior advisor and vice president at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. She leads the foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) enterprise (with which CTTT is a partner) and serves on the president’s cabinet that provides overall direction and leadership for the foundation. Dr. Christopher will be speaking on Thursday, June 9, 7-8 p.m.

On Friday, June 10, 7-9 p.m. in Martin Chapel , Dr. Edda Fields-Black will speak on writing the libretto for “The Requiem for Rice,” a classical music piece written for the repose of the souls of Africans enslaved on rice plantations in the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry and will discuss the need for a “requiem” for enslavement.

Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival set for June 12-19 in Harrisonburg

BachFestivalThe 24th annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival will take place June 12-19 in Harrisonburg, with concerts at Eastern Mennonite University’s Lehman Auditorium, 1191 Park Road, and First Presbyterian Church, 17 Court Square.

Festival Concert 1, June 12 at 3:00 p.m. at EMU, entitled “The Colors of Bach Cantatas,” features several of the composer’s cantatas performed by the Festival Chamber Choir and Orchestra, along with vocal soloists Christine Glick Fairfield (soprano) of Staunton, Joel Ross (countertenor) and David Newman (baritone) of Harrisonburg, and Brian Thorsett (tenor) of Blacksburg. The audience will be invited to join the musicians in singing the well-known Jesu, joy of man’s desiring.

“An Early Music Concert” is the theme for Festival Concert 2, June 17 at 7:30 p.m. at EMU, with internationally acclaimed countertenor Nathan Medley, a 2005 graduate of Harrisonburg High School, and virtuosic recorderist Nancy Buckingham Garlick of Charlottesville, who will perform Vivaldi and Vinci recorder concertos with the Festival Orchestra. Joining Medley will be another countertenor, Tommy Tutwiler, Medley’s choral director at H.H.S., and members of the H.H.S. Choir, whose current director is Bethany Houff.

Festival Concert 3 presents “Rural Roots,” a 20th-century orchestral concert showcasing the Festival Orchestra in works by Aaron Copland (Appalachian Spring and Quiet City), Virgil Thomson (The Plow That Broke the Plains), and Alberto Ginastera (Estancia).

Tickets for all three performances can be purchased online (, by phone (540-432-4582), or at the EMU Box Office. $27 (adult), $22 (senior), $5 (ages 22 & under); season tickets and group discounts are available.

The Noon Chamber Music Series takes place daily at noon from June 13 – 18 at First Presbyterian Church, with Festival musicians being featured in small ensemble settings. Details for those concerts can be seen online at

The 24th season concludes with the cherished Leipzig Service, modeled on services during Bach’s years as a church musician in Leipzig, Germany, during the Baroque era, on June 19 at 10:00 a.m. at EMU. Nathan Medley and the Festival Orchestra will perform Bach Cantata No. 170; Brett Davis, pastor of Harrisonburg’s Muhlenburg Lutheran Church, will deliver the homily; Marvin Mills of Baltimore, MD, will perform on organ; and the audience will participate by singing.

Admission for the Noon Chamber Music Series and Leipzig Service are free, and donations to the festival are gratefully received.

Founder and Artistic Director/Conductor Ken Nafziger has provided leadership for this festival, which was named “the jewel in Harrisonburg’s crown” by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, for almost a quarter of a century and continues in that role.

Red Wing Roots Music Festival announces single-day tickets

Red Wing Roots Music FestivalA limited number of single day tickets to the fourth annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival have been released for purchase. For those still planning to enjoy the festival weekend, 3-day passes remain available, as well.

The event is held from July 8-10 at Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, VA. The Steel Wheels host the festival and perform several times during the weekend. This year they welcome the following headliners: Dawes, Shovels and Rope, The Lone Bellow, Aoife O’Donovan, Steep Canyon Rangers, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors and many more!

To see the full lineup visit

Held in the heart of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, the family-friendly festival will feature more than 40 bands on four stages, over three days of music, surrounded by the great outdoors. Incredible camping, an impressive list of kids activities, bike rides organized and led by the Shenandoah Valley Bike Coalition, fun runs organized by VA Momentum, and a group of food vendors that set a high bar for delicious, unique food set this festival apart from many others.

The Steel Wheels’ Trent Wagler explains, “there is a momentum that is comfortable and yet, many times has surprised us all with collective beauty and joy. In our first three years we’ve had the opportunity to define what Red Wing is and it’s nice to start feeling the consistency and dependability of traditions seeping into this gathering. This year we hope to maintain that richness, but make no mistake, we still have some tricks up our sleeves!”

The festival is environmentally aware with attendees encouraged to use their own reusable beverage containers or souvenir steel cups which can be purchased on site. Drinking water is available for free and craft beer, wine, and hard cider are sold in the South Street Beer Garden.

Last year’s third annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival was wildly successful with approximately 2,750 attendees who raved about the music, the beauty of the setting, and the intimate and friendly atmosphere. Festival organizers are determined to retain that atmosphere and are limiting availability to 3,000 tickets this year.

With sales running ahead of last year, fans are encouraged to purchase tickets soon, while they are still available.