The Piedmont Virginian's Blog

Serving and Celebrating America's Historic Heart

The Piedmont Weekend Roundup: February 26 – 28

Pouring red wine from bottle into glass with wooden wine casks on background

Fauquier County Wine Tasting & Competition at Airlie (Saturday, Warrenton). Come out and sample the wines of sixteen local vineyards and vote for your favorites in the People’s Choice Wine Competition. Delicious food pairings, prepared by the Airlie Chef, and live music. Please note that, to accommodate more visitors, this year’s wine tastings will be offered during two time periods. All tickets must be pre-purchased.

Riverside Group Show postcard-3 copy-1Art in Its Natural Habitat: An Exhibit of Paintings in a Model Home (Friday, 5-7 p.m., Charlottesville). Interior designer Robin Ellis invites you to celebrate Stony Point Design/Build as well as Charlottesville artists Helen Hillard, Chris Tucker, and Nancy Wallace.

Lighting the Creative Spark lightingthecreativespark(Thursday, Live An Artful Life Gallery, The Plains). This workshop, led by Dr. Celia Im, utilizes the power of music to ignite attendees’ creative potential. By engaging this part of ourselves, we are driven to finish that creative project, sculpt the next stage of our lives, and live in the moment.

Winemaker for a Day: Blending Seminar at Narmada Winery (Saturday, Amissville). Have you always dreamed of being a winemaker? Challenge yourself and your friends at our interactive winemaking seminar. Join our winemaker Sudha Patil and guest speaker Duane Harris for this workshop and experience the excitement of combining both the art and the science that goes into making a distinctive wine! You’ll be sampling and blending cabernet franc, malbec, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot. Once your perfect blend is bottled, teams compete, imbibe, and select the most spectacular wine of the day!

FB_Motown-768x284Motown & More: A Tribute to Motown and Soul Legends (Friday, State Theatre, Culpeper).  An ensemble of today’s most talented artists brings it all back! Vocalists Bryan Fox, Gene McBride, Jeffrey Walker and Shang (each phenomenal in their own right) come together with exquisite harmonies to recreate classics and develop new musical arrangements. Less than a year old, Motown & More has become a popular production in the Baltimore/Washington/Virginia region.

An Evening with Groucho (Sunday, Louisa Arts Center, Louisa). Award-winning actor Frank Ferrante reprises his New York and London hit in this fast-paced hilarious tour-de-force. You will swear legendary comedian Groucho Marx is alive and well and making you laugh. Accompanied by his pianist, the comedy, one-liners, and songs of Groucho Marx make for an all-ages treat!

Six Pack Songwriter Series: An Evening of Central Virginia Songwriting (Friday, The Paramount, Charlottesville). With the goal of allowing audiences to experience a mixture of our best local artists at once, each “Six Pack Songwriter Series” event features 6 artists for one evening of live and local music. This year’s  production welcomes an all-new lineup to The Paramount stage. This year’s roster includes Michael Clem, Ben Eppard, Paulo Franco, Julia Kwolyk, Anne O’Brien, and David Tewksbury, all backed by a live band.

National Theatre Live in HD Presents: “As You Like It” at the Paramount (Sunday, The Paramount, Charlottesville). Shakespeare’s glorious comedy of love and change comes to the National Theatre for the first time in over 30 years, with Rosalie Craig (London Road, Macbeth at MIF) as Rosalind.  With her father, the Duke, banished and in exile, Rosalind and her cousin Celia leave their lives in the court behind them and journey into the Forest of Arden. There, released from convention, Rosalind experiences the liberating rush of transformation. Disguising herself as a boy, she embraces a different way of living and falls spectacularly in love.

Smithsonian at Little Washington Concert Series: Haydn Piano Trios (Sunday, Theatre at Washington, Washington). Pianist Kenneth Slowik is an artistic director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society. Violinist Heather Green joined the National Symphony Orchestra in 2005, and became a member of the first violin section in 2007. Cellist James Lee made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15. These three come together for a marvelous performance.

2015 90th Gold Cup 1

photo by Doug Lees

“Virginia Steeplechasing: The History and Future of the Sport in the Piedmont” (Sunday, National Sporting Library, Middleburg). This steeplechasing panel discussion is mediated by Robert Banner, President of Great Meadow Foundation. Panelists are Dr. William Allison (Ex-MFH and President and Race Chairman of the Virginia Gold Cup Races), Dr. Alfred Griffin (Ex-MFH and Director of Racing of the Virginia Gold Cup), Will O’Keefe (Race Director of the Virginia Fall Races), and Don Yovanovich (President of the Virginia Point-to-Point). Panelists discuss the history and future of this region’s beloved steeplechasing and equine sports. The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists. Also at NSLM currently are the exhibits “Side by Side with Gun and Dog” and “Line Dance: the Art of Fly Fishing.”

“Sunrise, Sunset” (Byrne Gallery, Middleburg). This weekend is the last chance to see this juried show featuring artworks inspired by sunrises and sunsets, bringing joy and warmth to the cold month of February.

“Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” at Riverside Dinner Theater (Through Mar. 13, Fredericksburg). Starring Todd Meredith as Holly, with the Buddy Holly tribute band, The Rave-Ons, this musical is the true story of the last few years of Buddy Holly’s life, spotlighting his meteoric rise to fame from the moment in 1957 when “That’ll be the Day” hit the airwaves until his tragic death on “The Day the Music Died.” Featuring many of his timeless hits, “Buddy” is a celebration of the life and times of “the young man with the glasses” that captures the unique mixture of innocence, determination, humor, and charm that was Buddy Holly and wraps it all up into a package that has become “The World’s Most Successful Rock-n-Roll Musical.”

Art, Music, and Books This Weekend

Furnace-Mountain2Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band: A Benefit for the State Theatre Foundation. (Saturday, State Theatre, Culpeper) Help us inaugurate the State Theatre as Virginia’s winter home for bluegrass with a local favorite, Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band. If you’re looking for hard driving traditional bluegrass, look no further. These five guys not only look good, they sound good!

Julie Miles Exhibit Opening & Furnace Mountain Concert. (Saturday, Barns of Rose Hill, Berryville) Join us for a very special evening of music by Furnace Mountain and the opening night of our latest exhibit, “Nature Study: Pods, Seeds, Flowers, Fruits and Orbs–paintings by Julie Miles.” Furnace Mountain, named for a mountain near where all the members grew up, consists of some of the most innovative and gifted young musicians in Virginia. Their music pulls from the American Appalachian traditions, as well as original compositions and songs penned by other songwriters.


5th Annual Art of the Piedmont Art Auction & Reception. (Friday, Middleburg Community Center) Distinguished works of art will grace the Middleburg Community Center in an auction of original artwork from select local artists. Proceeds will benefit Middleburg Montessori School.

Virginia Wine Expo. (Feb. 17-21, Greater Richmond Convention Center) This year’s Virginia Wine Expo features more opportunities than ever before for foodies and wine lovers, including a “burger blast,” a culinary walking tour, a Southern cuisine lunch, and seminars on wine, chocolate, and whiskey. The highlight will be the walk-around Grand Tasting with 600+ wines on February 20 and 21.

Plant Label Calligraphy at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.  (Saturday, Charlottesville) Learn the techniques for pen and ink script from Monticello’s talented vegetable gardener Pat Brodowski, who creates the beautiful plant labels for the Monticello gardens. Have fun decorating your own set of labels.

JP Jofre and the Hard Tango Chamber Band  at the Castleton Festival Theatre House. (Sunday, Castleton) Jofre is joined by the Hard Tango Chamber Band: violinist Eric Silberger, cellist Amy Kang, double bassist Chris Johnson, pianist Siyi Fang, and Argentinian guest pianist Pablo Cafici. The centerpiece of the program is Jofre’s “Tango Movements,” described by the San Jose Mercury Sun as “sweepingly romantic, elegantly crafted and rhythmically charged.” The Hard Tango Chamber Band will also play several pieces by Astor Piazzolla, the originator of nuevo tango and “the world’s foremost composer of tango music” according to American music critic Stephen Holden.

Masterworks 3: Gleb Ivanov Returns! . (Saturday, Charlottesville) The Charlottesville Symphony is joined by pianist Gleb Ivanov, who dazzled Charlottesville Symphony audiences last year, as the soloist at both concerts. Following a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Washington Post wrote, “Eerily like the ghost of Horowitz, Mr. Ivanov engulfed the keyboard, rattling the rafters and thrilling the audience. His talent is larger than life.”

Book Talk: “Letters From Edgar’s Trunk: Tell Them All To Write”. by Marilyn Elizabeth Thornton. (Sunday, Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg) As the world commemorates the 100th Anniversary of World War I, Edgar Thornton’s granddaughter, Marilyn Thornton, will share a trove of family history. James Edgar Thornton was a member of the legendary 369th American Expeditionary Forces Colored Infantry Regiment that fought on the front lines in the Argonne Forest under French command. The letters, recollections of an African American World War I soldier from Loudoun County, are invaluable to local history. Also serving as an account of civilian life in Loudoun County, this collection of over one hundred letters, dated between 1916 and 1919, capture vibrations of everyday life during wartime. Thornton will discuss the book and talk about what she learned through research.

Stop Making Sense. (Friday, Paramount Theater, Charlottesville) A 1984 concert movie featuring a live performance by Talking Heads. Directed by Jonathan Demme, the film was shot over the course of three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater in December 1983, as the group was touring to promote their new album “Speaking in Tongues.” The movie is notable for being the first made entirely using digital audio techniques.

webeventdavidcross45Live Nation presents: David Cross – Making America Great Again!  (Saturday, Paramount Theater, Charlottesville) Emmy Award winner and Grammy Award nominee David Cross is an inventive performer, writer, and producer on stage and screens both big and small. Named one of the Top 100 Stand-Up Comedians of All Time by Comedy Central, Cross launched his “Making America Great Again!” tour in January 2016.

Gainesville Ballet presents “Carmen.” (Saturday, Hylton Center, Manassas) See the world premiere of Rafik Hegab’s “Carmen,” based on the opera by Bizet. With fantastic music, thrilling choreography, and a powerful company of international professional dancers.

3456HISTcvr.inddBook Talk: Historic Cemeteries of Northern Virginia. (Sunday, Manassas Museum, Manassas) Join author Charles A. Mills for a discussion on the book “Historic Cemeteries of Northern Virginia” This book presents the history of the region through the medium of cemeteries. Every gravestone has a story to tell. Confederate raiders, freedmen, eccentrics, and nation builders lived and died in Northern Virginia. Sometimes, tombstones are all that remain of their stories. Often, finding their tombstones is the first step in rediscovering the stories of these figures.

“Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” at Riverside Dinner Theater. (Through Mar. 13, Fredericksburg) Starring Todd Meredith as Holly, with the Buddy Holly tribute band, The Rave-Ons, this musical is the true story of the last few years of Buddy Holly’s life, spotlighting his meteoric rise to fame from the moment in 1957 when “That’ll be the Day” hit the airwaves until his tragic death on “The Day the Music Died.” Featuring many of his timeless hits, “Buddy” is a celebration of the life and times of “the young man with the glasses” that captures the unique mixture of innocence, determination, humor, and charm that was Buddy Holly and wraps it all up into a package that has become “The World’s Most Successful Rock-n-Roll Musical.”

A Great Month for Local Art

This February features several great opportunities to see the work of local artists, all of whom capture the ineffable beauty of this region and then share it with us, adding to our understanding of this gorgeous region.

Ode to Young Hare by Trish CroseOn Friday, new exhibits open at Piedmont Virginia Community College. “Saints and Angels,” a watercolor series by Trish Crowe is inspired “by the terrain that surrounds her Madison County home, Crowe’s work depicts fields, farms and the animals within. Rendered with her signature strong lines and vibrant colors, the works evoke the energy and beauty of nature.”

Also on display is work by other artists in the “Firnew Farm Artists’ Circle,” of which Crowe is the founder and one of the 35 members in the artistic collective. The gallery features works by John Berry, Leslie Barham, Tina Wade, and many others.

Opening Reception Friday, Feb. 12, 5-7 p.m.

Next week, the 5th Annual Art of the Piedmont event features local fine art, an auction, food, drink, and entertainment. All-you-can-eat hors d’oeuvres from the Goodstone Inn and drinks sponsored by the Piedmont Fox Hounds add to a night of art appreciation and community outreach, as the event benefits Middleburg Montessori School.


The event takes place at the Middleburg Community Center, February 19, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tickets, further information, and a full list of contributing artists and their biographies are available on the AotP’s website:

Art by: Trish Crowe | Ode to a Young Hare

1796573_10202889919310186_4960203201090092007_nMorgan Hensley is a recent graduate of William & Mary where he studied English and creative writing with an emphasis on poetry. He is the Assistant Editor of the Piedmont Virginian and enjoys writing about music and the arts.

Calendar for PV Newsletter, week of 2/8/16

“Convenience” at Stage Door Productions (Fredericksburg), FINAL WEEKEND. A musical by Gregg Coffin. “Convenience” is a musical about family, the ties that bind, and the ones we struggle to break. A mother and son learn from their broken past that the promise of a better future is always present, if not elusive.

Hairspray Douglas Graham:Loudoun Now 2

“Hairspray,” presented by Loudoun Centre Theatre, at the Franklin Park Arts Center (Purcellville), FINAL WEEKEND. The big musical hit that will sweep you away to 1960’s Baltimore. Queen-sized teen Tracy Turnblad turns her passion for dancing into a spot on the local TV dance program. Transformed into an overnight teen celebrity, Tracy teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration and fair

Pianist Emile Pandolfi, at the Louisa Art Center (Louisa), Fri., Feb 12. Emile performs lush arrangements of standards, Broadway, a dash of classical and new gems as part of a special Valentine’s Day show. Joining Emile’s musical stylings is talented guest vocalist Dana Russell. All ladies receive a rose.

Thomas Jefferson’s Gadgets, at the Woodland Pavilion, David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center at Monticello (Charlottesville), Sat., Feb. 13. Join Charles Morrill, Monticello guide and woodworker, to hear of Jefferson’s passion for gadgets from folding ladders to orreries. Morrill has replicated a number of such items for Monticello and will have them on hand. Light refreshments provided.

Valentine’s Weekend – Wine and Truffles, at Granite Heights Winery (Warrenton), Sat., Feb. 13. Opened for tastings for a special Valentine’s Day pairing of our wines with our delicious chocolate truffles. Hours are from 1 – 5 p.m. This is the only date we will be open for tastings in February.

Be Mine with Wine: A Special Wine & Dessert Pairing at Keswick Vineyards (Keswick), Sat., Feb. 13. Join us in our wine cellar for this special tasting of Keswick Vineyards wines paired with delicious desserts, then enjoy the romantic setting while savoring a glass of wine by the fireplace on our enclosed porch. $10 for Keswick Vineyards Wine Club Members; $20 for non-members. Please call ahead for reservations (434-244-3341 x105) or email Walk-ins welcome based upon availability.

Waterford Foundation Valentine’s Sweetheart Ball, at Belmont Country Club (Ashburn), Sat., Feb. 13. Dress up and have a ball in 1940s festive finery to celebrate 73 years of preserving Historic Waterford. Champagne, cocktails, sumptuous dinner, silent and live auctions (of highly prized items), followed by dancing in the Grand Ballroom to the Big Band sounds of the 17-piece Martinsburg Jazz Orchestra.

Portraits of a Marriage: James and Dolley Madison, Presidents’ Weekend at Montpelier (Orange), Sun., Feb.14 at 2 p.m. Have you wondered about James and Dolley Madison’s love life? On Valentine’s Day, Hugh Howard, author of Houses of the Founding Fathers and Mr. And Mrs. Madison’s War: America’s First Couple and the War of 1812, will discuss the couple’s private relationship and public partnership. Grand Salon in the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center.


Starr Hill Presents: Dr. John and the Nite Trippers with Red and the Romantics, at The Paramount (Charlottesville), Sun., Feb 14. Legendary Dr. John is a six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning musician and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, known throughout the world as the embodiment of New Orleans’ musical legacy. A true icon in American culture, who introduced to the world his unique blend of voodoo mysticism, funk, rhythm & blues, psychedelic rock and Creole roots.

“Love is in the Air” with cellist Amit Peled, at Grace Episcopal Church Concert Series (The Plains), Sun., Feb. 14, from 5 – 8 p.m. Israeli cellist Amit Peled, a musician of profound artistry and charismatic stage presence, is acclaimed as one of the most exciting instrumentalists on the concert stage today. Mr. Peled has performed as a soloist with many orchestras and in such world-acclaimed concert halls as Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, New York; Salle Gaveau, Paris; Wigmore Hall, London; Kanzerthaus, Berlin; and Tel Aviv’s Mann Auditorium.

Piedmont Landscape Association Annual Seminar, at The Paramount (Charlottesville), Wed., Feb. 17. This event strives to bring gardening enthusiasts and landscape professionals together in an educational setting. Lectures include: “Planting in a Post-Wild World – Creating Resilient and Thriving Landscapes”; “Designing Plant Communities: The Art and Science of Successful Native Planting”; “To Bee or Not to Bee”; “Surround Yourself with Shady Characters.”

Waterloo Bridge Updates



The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) hosted a community meeting last Monday (February 2nd) to discuss the prospect of saving the historic Waterloo Bridge–known locally as the Ghost Bridge–which spans the Rappahannock River and links Culpeper and Fauquier County. This past January 15th marked the two-year anniversary of the bridge’s closing by VDOT due to safety concerns. There is still no established group working towards a solution, no comprehensive funding plan, and no commitments. The longer the structure sits there, the further it falls into disrepair. Eventually the bridge will exceed the possibility of restoration, at which point VDOT is likely to demolish the historic bridge and build a new, more expensive concrete one in its place.

According to PEC staff, Monday night’s meeting at the Orlean Fire Hall had a good turnout. Approximately 45 people attended, including Supervisor Mary Leigh McDaniel, representatives from Concerned Culpeper Citizens and members of the Mosby Heritage Area Association. PEC’s presentation covered the timeline of what’s happened since October 2013–when VDOT first brought up the need to look at the Waterloo Bridge–to when VDOT stated that rehabilitation was an achievable goal last year to the current lack of progress on the bridge’s rehabilitation. The meeting ended with a call for continued pressure on VDOT and local and state representatives. Attendees left energized, ready to take action, and many even bought yard signs that read, “Save Waterloo Bridge.”

Visit to see how you can help save the Ghost Bridge!

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