Community Briefs November ’19

Surviving the Holidays After Losing a Loved One

When a loved one dies and condolence visits from family and friends have dwindled, often the bereaved are left trying to piece their lives back together. For those grieving the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be an especially 
difficult time. 

Blue Ridge Hospice’s Grief Support Staff is offering workshops in Winchester and Front Royal throughout November designed to help individuals and families prepare for a holiday season without their loved one. All grief support offerings are open to the public and free of charge. 

“The reason we offer these workshops is because every year around October we see an increase in people seeking grief counseling,” explains Christina Thomas, a Blue Ridge Hospice Grief Support Counselor, “The holidays are when we take time to be with our loved ones. It’s where we have a lot of our memories of family. We recognize the need to talk about how grief may look different during this time of year.” 

Surviving the Holiday workshops are for adults, and will occur on November 12 in Front Royal and November 21 in Winchester, Va. Preparing for the Holidays as a Family workshop is for families with children ages 4–17. Using music and other activities, families will have the opportunity to identify and work through feelings associated with their loss in preparation of the holiday season. All holiday workshops require pre-registration by calling 540-313-9214 or emailing

Thomas states, “In these workshops we focus on creating a plan. Instead of focusing on the holidays being ‘easier’ we want you to feel they are possible. That although you are grieving, you can get through them in the way that you want and the way that makes the most sense to you.”

Blue Ridge Hospice’s Grief Support Services are made possible through generous donations from the community. For a full list of grief support offerings, visit or 
call 540-313-9214. 

Sanctuary Wellness Center Has Booked 5-week Radio Series

Beginning Tuesday, December 3, from 4:30 to 5pm, Berryville’s Sanctuary Wellness Center will be featured weekly on Mind Body Radio, found at The show will not air on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve).

“We will be discussing much more than herbal medicine,” said owner Geo Derick Giordano, MSc, RH (AHG), a Registered Medical Herbalist. “We hope to include more holistic types of healing like those that we offer here at the Sanctuary Wellness Center. In my interview we discussed a bit about Homeopathy and Ayurvedic medicine. You can hear that interview from a link on our Facebook page.”

For information, contact the Sanctuary Wellness Center: 410-707-4486;

Blue Ridge Singers Christmas Concerts

The Blue Ridge Singers, a non-profit chamber choir in its eleventh season, invites the community to two Christmas concerts this season, “Canticum Novum: Sing a New Song.” A December 13 concert in Front Royal will be performed at Front Royal Presbyterian Church, located at 115 Luray Ave. at 7:30pm. A December 15 concert in Winchester will be at First Baptist Church, located at 205 W. Piccadilly St., at 4pm. Concerts are free to the public; the suggested donation is $10. A reception for all will immediately follow the performances. Visit for more information.

The choir’s members come from Hagerstown, Berryville, Boyce, Winchester, Front Royal and surrounding townships.  Along with the two scheduled concerts in Front Royal and Winchester, they have performed for Westminster Canterbury and The Village at Orchard Ridge, and more informally as carolers at Christmas in Front Royal at several assisted living locations.

Dr. Jeffrey Alban, artistic director for the tone of the Christmas concert series, explained that the choir will explore a new harmonic language through the music of Gerald Near. “Prominent in this music is the juxtaposition of melodies of Latin Gregorian chant with polyphonic choral settings of more common Christmas carols,” he said. “The choir is accompanied by the organ with a good deal of intense, but controlled dissonance. Because of the non-metric nature of Gregorian chant, the music is rhythmically challenging as well. 

“The choir will contrast this style with a variety of works featuring Renaissance polyphony, a 19th-century chorale and fugue by Johannes Brahms and contemporary settings of carols, old and new. This will be an eclectic, but enjoyable program, with something for everyone.”