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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.”

In the Gingko Grove at Blandy Experimental Farm

1447172893482Thousands of leaves, all the color of the sun as it slips behind the Blue Ridge Mountains. Blue sky shone through bare branches. The breeze has gathered leaves into drifts, swept together like the tips of hair at a barbershop. I was standing in the Gingko Grove at Blandy when that atrocious simile came to me. The inadequacy, whimsicality, borderline absurdity of the phrase bothered me, so I stood, my attention fixed on the yellow fallen leaves, waiting for some clever aphorism to happen upon me, until I realized that perhaps this was not meant to be described. I was doing just fine, reflecting on this golden panorama, experienced wordlessly, in appreciation of the almost-silence, day after day as the ground is littered with leaves.

Everything was motionless. Wading through leaves slick with rain, I had the feeling that I was late. Fallen leaves are still slick with yesterday’s rain. The ground was slippery,  like trudging through snow and stepping on a patch of ice. It was easier to remain still. The air was sodden with the heavy sticky scent of gingko. My breaths were weighed down and my attention drawn the movement of air through me. Perhaps that is why Chinese monks in adorned their temples with the ancient trees: a way to foster mindfulness during meditation.

Some of these gingko trees have shed and regrown their leaves eighty times or more, ever since Dr. Orlando E. White, the first director of Blandy, planted a sapling in Boyce soil in 1929. Soon thereafter, students helped to plant nearly six-hundred more trees, thus seeding what would grow into the grove in which I stood.

The tree has a history far outdating Blandy, civilization, and humanity. Gingko is the “living fossil,” and records trace its existence back 270 million years. Gingko canopies shaded the Jurassic era forests, casting shadows onto the creatures whose bones we admire in disbelief and wonder at museums. The tree’s history is contained in the shape of its leaf: a tadpole, a flame. It is unchanging, atavistic, and essenti1447172775463al. Maybe it is this agelessness, this permanence, that lends credence to those who attest to the memory-enhancing benefits of the leaf. Perhaps it is a placebo, although there is something poetic about the ancient tree’s ties to memory, a  remembrance of time that far precedes us.

Without realizing it, yellow shadows have darkened as the sun sets between peaks. Golden, with beams that radiate like veins, it casts a shadow over the thousands of small setting suns that have fallen to the ground.



Acting on the Small Town Arts

By Peter Wood

mbailey-140422-0206-3327548025-o (1)It has been a tough winter to walk the streets of our small Piedmont towns. Snow and ice piled up on the sidewalks of Middleburg, yet many art lovers braved the wind and weather to enjoy gallery openings, artist talks and painting demonstrations. Now it is March and it’s time to act on the arts!

Middleburg will once again be home to Shakespeare in the ‘Burg, an amazing weekend festival that brings performances by the internationally acclaimed American Shakespeare Center. The festival is set for March 27-29, 2015, and kicks off with “movie night.” This year, the organizers have selected “West Side Story,” based on the Shakespeare play, “Romeo and Juliet.” It will be a fun night to enjoy hors d’oeuvres  and a glass of wine or two before seeing the movie in the wonderful Sheila C. Johnson Performing Arts Center at the Hill School, located on the edge of town.

The weekend continues with workshops on stagecraft and two plays, Hamlet on Saturday, and Much Ado About Nothing on Sunday. Another highlight is the midday performance by local actors of the one act play from the play writing completion. While that might be enough for an exciting afternoon, there is also a performance by the Crooked Angles, a husband and wife music duo. Find out more at

That is just one weekend! Throughout the spring, summer and fall, you will hear music in the air! Starting in April, the new 4th Friday night concert series, “Open Late” will be hosted by the National Sporting Library & Museum. Several more concerts are planned by the Middleburg Community Center on their front steps. Music will also play a role during the local summer art fairs – Art in the Pink Box Park, and at the town-wide arts celebration Art in the Burg, on June 20th.

There is more art outside Middleburg too. Traveling west you will find Millwood, VA, where the Duvall Designs Gallery reopens, featuring Winslow McCagg on March 14th. Don’t forget to stop at the historic Locke Store for lunch or to pick up a bottle of wine. Down the road from Middleburg you will find fresh works in The Plains at Live An Artful Life Gallery and Zig-Zag Gallery. So much variety of arts in our small towns.

The Piedmont region is home to so many talented artists – authors, musicians, visual artists and performers. You can find all the art events on Come enjoy the arts with us!

Peter Wood is a local metal sculptor, founder of the Middleburg Arts Project and Chair of the Middleburg Arts Council. More about his art: Learn about the art events in the region at

New Autumn Issue Available

covers for slideshow


Pick up a copy of the Fall 2014 issue, on newsstands now! Click the following link to find the closest location to you:

Our newest issue includes our annual fall art guide with artwork from around the Piedmont.

Featured stories include Virginia’s Moonshiners, Hot Air Ballooning in the Blue Ridge, lamb recipes, two local art clubs: The Loudoun Sketch Club and Firnew Farm’s Artists’ Circle, photo contest winners and more!

Take a peak at other featured articles on our homepage:


On newsstands now—the Summer 2014 issue! The Castleton Festival, history, hiking and more.

Pick up a copy of the Summer 2014 issue, on newsstands now!

Our newest issue highlights the sixth annual Castleton Festival with the full program published in the back of the magazine.

Featured stories include the Alvictus Spy House, the history of Hurricane Camille, five great hikes in the Piedmont, beautiful summer landscape paintings, poetry, photo contest semi-finalists and much more!

Take a peak at other featured articles on our homepage.

Click the following link to find the closest newsstand to you:

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