A Clarke County Portrait In Music

An original by composer James Meredith premiered at The Barns

By Krista Jo Brooks

This year the Clarke County Community Band commissioned a piece of music to be written by Virginia composer James “Jim” Meredith in celebration of Clarke County and as a way to give back all the love and support the band receives from its community. 

The band premiered the piece, titled “A Clarke County Portrait,” on December 6 during the their first holiday concert of the season at Barns of Rose Hill. It will be performed again during the second holiday concert at Armstrong Hall, Shenandoah University on December 13 at 3pm.

“A Clarke County Portrait” has four distinct sections. The River, Daniel Morgan, The Village, and a Clarke Celebration. As Mr. Meredith writes in the program notes, “The pieces I write are not specific moments like scenes from a movie, but are open to any number of interpretations according to where your heart takes you.” The following is one flute player’s interpretation of “A Clarke County Portrait”.

***

It starts with the late silence of the witching hours. The collectively held breath of an audience interspersed with the shifting of a leg or muffled cough like the creak of a branch or a single bird plopping onto a bed of new spring growth. 

The conductor’s raised arms make small, timed movements and suddenly dawn has arrived on the Shenandoah River. The rays of the sun shooting across the sky as they escape over the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and out of the holes of woodwind instruments.

 Sunlight sounds like bells as it bounces in ever more vibrant forest colors and punctures the gentle flowing water. You can hear the waves lapping the shore and rolling over the rocks of the shallows.

The river awakens, playful and gentle. A fish splashes, a bird twitters, and the sun continues its song of bouncing light and flitting colors. The band seems to sway with the waves and the audience closes their eyes to feel the warm sun on their shoulders and the cool water between their fingers as they dream of floating down the river that nourishes the soul of Clarke County.

***

Jovial voices ring loudly across the intersection of the Winchester Turnpike and Charlestown Road as rowdy young toughs stumble out of the Battle Town tavern into the sticky summer evening. Their boisterous banter playing up their own greatness to each other in the happy temperaments of early drunkenness. 

Frontiersmen puff out their chests and slap one another on the back as trombones cheerfully slide through the melody like so many men of that 
historical time.

Woodwinds echo the tune as the youth’s pitch and drunkenness rise and an older, brasher Daniel Morgan stands above the rest in jolly competition. And much like those many years ago, the music soars with the egos: too high and too far. Morgan’s famous pride has been prodded and poked past its limits and what was a pleasant time suddenly turns into a right brawl. Stones fly and fists fall as many ripe bodies fight for greatness in the dirt of the crossroads.

In the end, Daniel Morgan stands imposingly above the rest as the losers skulk away into the night. His temper extinguished and a well-timed chuckle throws the remaining group back into the swing of its earlier temperament until none can stand a moment longer.

***

An Iroquois woman sat atop the hill that rises above her village below and gazed at the valley beyond. Smoke rose in the distance on the sound of a flute. It has started. Her people set the land afire and soon the flames would be visible from her perch. The fire would reset the barrens so that the grass will grow as tall as a man and the elk and bison can range close by. The burned forest floors will fill in with Oak, Hickory, and Table Mountain Pine. The woman lightly touched the petal of a wild rose growing next to her. The roses will thrive.

The smoke thickens, and in it she can see the generations of her people that the stories and skills have passed through. Behind her she can hear the sounds of children climbing the hill to see the red horizon. The flames lap the skies and a stag runs out of the smoke to safety. A few will be lost so more can thrive. This is the way of a healthy world.

***

This community is small, but fiercely loyal and tightly woven into a diverse tapestry of histories. Together we are the beating heart of Clarke County. Our surroundings give us a strong sense of place. The Cardinals and the Sycamores have taken root in our blood. The river nourishes us, our history grounds us, and our diversity strengthens us. The heartbeats of our people create a rhythm. As we have added more voices and more stories the beat has strengthened into a 
celebratory dance.

Our feet tapping with the sirens of John H. Ender’s firetrucks as delighted school kids don plastic fire hats. Our heads bobbing to the sounds of the High School marching band practicing on the field after school, filtering through our house and car windows. The crash cymbal sounds of crackling fireworks bouncing around the sky as somebody celebrates one of their best days at Rosemont Manor. You can feel people swerving around antique cars parked on Main Street or bobbing and swaying to better see the goods for sale at a Saturday yard sale.

It is our home that we love and as the final movement of the piece reaches its peak, we no longer know if our beating hearts form the music or the music beats in our hearts. But isn’t that the point? This music is a celebration of all of us, here now or gone, and is thus added to the grand tapestry that is Clarke County.

The conductor holds his arms up, welcoming the last joyful note into the hall, before cutting it off. For a moment a ghost of the feeling the note held reverberates off the walls before that first clap of that first citizen breaks its mood and the real world filters back in.

***

The Clarke County Community Band was founded in 1992 to promote music in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. It is a group of local musicians who gather together Tuesday nights to play. They give a variety of concerts throughout the year and have a wide range of ages and skill levels among the players.

The band had its 25th anniversary last year. As a way to celebrate, Mr. Shoremount proposed the idea of commissioning a Grade 4 piece of music for and about Clarke County. The band enthusiastically agreed that this was a way to give back to the community a gift that would outlast us all and cement the Clarke County of today into the history of tomorrow.

It was very important to Mr. Shoremount that a composer from Virginia be used and Mr. James Meredith fit the requirement perfectly. Meredith, known as “Jim”, is an alumnus of the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Winchester. He passed through the county on his way to and fro and would often stop and read the historical markers and take in the quaint, old buildings of Berryville. His favorite part, though, was the Shenandoah River. His heart had a stake in this composition.

Mr. Meredith has been a staple of Virginia for decades, retiring from forty years as a band director in the classroom. During his tenure at Sandusky Middle School in Lynchburg, Virginia the band received statewide, national, and inter-national recognition for its many superior ratings, awards, and multiple performances at the Virginia Music Educators’ Conference, at universities, and the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Jim is the 2013 Virginia music Educator of the Year and the recipient of the 2015 Shenandoah Distinguished Alumnus Lifetime Achievement Award. He is co-founder of James River Music Publishing Company, and, in his own words, “Enjoys trying to master the frustrations of golf.”

Mr. Meredith and Mr. Shoremount knew each other from their days at Shenandoah University, where Mr. Shoremount earned his Bachelors and Masters in Music Eduction. Shoremount taught in public schools for thirty-one years where his various bands received numerous accolades and Superior ratings, as well as various positions at the collegiate level. Among his many awards and honors, he was inducted into the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association’s Hall of Fame in 2018 and was awarded the “Presidents Award” at the Shenandoah Apple 
Blossom Festival’s Concert Band Competition. He currently is an adjunct professor of Music Education at Shenandoah University and performs regularly with “Jumptown”, a rhythm and blues soul band.

The Clarke County Community Band is sponsored by the Clarke County Board of Supervisors.

The Traveling Art Club Offers Opportunities and Fun, Welcomes Artists

By Rebecca Maynard

When Julia Young attended back-to-school night at Middletown Elementary School, she asked the principal when the art club met and discovered it hadn’t existed for several years.

“No one in the community had taken the initiative to take it back up, so a couple of moms got together to talk about forming an art club in Middletown,” Young said. “But we found out quickly as we talked to people that it was a huge void in the surrounding community and it’s evolved way past the Middletown Art Club.”

Thus the Traveling Art Club (TAC) was born, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing sustainable no cost arts programming, mentorship, education and supplies to the youth of Winchester City, Frederick, Clarke, Warren and Shenandoah counties. Young serves as its president.

A free program for children and teens called Investigation Stations is offered at Bowman Library in Stephens City on alternating Tuesdays and Fridays, and TAC hopes to soon include a similar program at Clarke County Library.

“Investigation Stations partners literature and art, and we have books that kids probably wouldn’t normally be exposed to,” Young said.

“We read a book, talk about the book, and do three or four art projects that pertain to the subject we just read. Sometimes we bring music and movement into it, because kids are restless and need to move around.”

A call for art is open to all Shenandoah Valley artists through January 1 for an exhibit called Artists of the Valley, which will be displayed at the Shenandoah Museum of Contemporary Art in Strasburg. Interested artists can sign up by visiting www.thetravelingartclub.org/artists-of-the-valley.  

“We plan to have a reception in January and an opening event that will be open to the public so it really encourages community involvement in art,” Young said. “We’ve heard over and over that there’s a real need to involve the community at large in whatever the programming is that we offer. It means people other than artists are seeing their work.” 

The community is invited to a free open house at 4:45pm on Jan 22 at the Clarke County Recreation Center to learn about an upcoming series of ”Unconventional Arts” workshops for children ages 5 to 14 that allows them to freely express themselves with art using unconventional methods and upcycled materials so that they are able to continue to experiment at home regardless of the availability of art supplies. Call the recreation center at 540-955-5140 for details and to register.

Young has been talking with a librarian who works at Clarke County High School  about the possibility of doing something with their art program, geared toward learning how to showcase art. “We like the idea of students partnering with local artists as mentors,” Young said.

The TAC is also planning a partnership with the Barns of Rose Hill. For up to date information about activities and opportunities, visit www.thetravelingartclub.org or visit their Facebook page. 

The organization is grateful to Bank of Clarke County and Sheetz for their sponsorship. Local businesses can sponsor at different levels, and individual donations are welcome and are tax deductible.

“When you donate, you enable our founders and board members who are all actively invested in their community, all in the trenches of our local education system, to enrich the local community through art,” the TAC says. “Imagine a world in which our children are encouraged, excited, and able to explore all sides of their artistic abilities in a safe space. The Traveling Art Club aims to provide this safe haven for the youth of the Frederick, Clarke, & Warren Counties as well as the surrounding areas.”

Fire House Gallery To Close

The Berryville Main Street board has decided to close the Fire House Gallery retail shop so the organization-legally known as Downtown Berryville Inc. – can focus all its attention on promoting and supporting downtown businesses and the Town. The gallery, located at 23 E. Main St., will close on September 30.

The Fire House Gallery opened on January 9, 2010, as an economic development project featuring distinctive handmade arts and crafts from local and regional artist to enrich the local culture.

It was able to provide incubator spaces that were rented to start-up business owners who needed space to launch their businesses.

The Town of Berryville owns the historic, two-story former fire station building and has rented it to Downtown Berryville Inc. Town Manager Keith Dalton said Downtown Berryville has expressed interest in utilizing the second-floor space for its Berryville Main Street office. The Town will find a new tenant for the former gallery space.

Berryville Main Street president Nathan Stalvey said by closing the gallery, board members and Berryville Main Street volunteers can put all its energy and resources into projects and events, with the continued support of the Town of Berryville.

Events include the hugely popular Berryville Main Street Summer’s End Cruise-In in late August, the Berryville Main Street Yard Sale on the second Saturday in April and September, and Berryville Main Street Music in the Park on Friday nights throughout the summer. Berryville Main Street also organizes

a decorated parking meter contest during the winter holiday season and a Christmas tree lighting event. It supports the annual Christmas parade along Main Street.

Residents formed Downtown Berryville, Inc., a 501© (3) non-profit organization to promote the town much like a Chamber of Commerce might. The following year, the Berryville Historic District was listed in the National Register, and the town became a designated Virginia Main Street community in

1992. That’s when Downtown Berryville, Inc. adopted the Berryville Main Street moniker.

“The Berryville Main Street board appreciates all the volunteers and staff who worked in the gallery over the years,”Stalvey said. “We are also grateful for the many local artists and craftspeople who kept the gallery filled with their extraordinary work.”

The Town of Berryville is one of more than 2,400 American communities in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Program, and it is one of only 29 Virginia towns with the designation. Nearby, Harrisonburg and Luray also have Main Street designations.

The Virginia Main Street program, managed by the Virginia Department of housing and Community Development, aids in providing assistance and training to communities so they can increase the economic vitality in downtown commercial districts by focusing on their unique heritage and attributes.

Stalvey and the board want to assure the community, “Downtown Berryville Inc. is not going out of business. By closing the gallery, we won’t have to worry about running a business while trying to promote other businesses.”

The Bitter Liberals at Bright Box Theatre in Old Town Winchester

Out + About in Winchester
By Keith Patterson

The excitement in the sold-out room was palpable. The “palp” in the air on this night was about the Bitter Liberals, who, after several successful years performing and recording as a four-piece with two guitars, a fiddle and a percussionist, played their first live show as a five-piece, including a bass player and a drummer on a full kit.
The Bitter Liberals have played at Bright Box Theatre multiple times, and have always drawn a crowd, so it was no real surprise that it was a packed house again. Clearly, for many in the crowd it was their first “Bitter” experience. These new fans quickly caught the buzz — they gobbled up advance tickets and left many Bitter Liberals groupies turned away at the door.
The opening act was a young Japanese solo guitarist, Hiroya Tsukamoto. His music incorporated classic Japanese melodies and textures with strong, Western rhythms and verse/chorus arrangements. He expertly utilized loop stations on both his guitar and vocals to create lush, evocative soundscapes worthy of an ensemble. The full-house was very appreciative and warmed-up for the headliners.
The Bitter Liberals are still co-fronted by singer/songwriter/guitarists Allen Kitselman and Clark Hansbarger. And Gary McGraw remains the ace-in the-hole sideman fiddler. These three players have developed a deep chemistry, and their playing together is a real joy. The new rhythm section, Michael Rohrer on bass and Nick Shrenk on drums, enhanced the nuanced sound of the band and played without a hitch. In fact, the more pronounced rhythms laid out a structure that really showcased the harmonies, melodies and solos of the featured players.
Allen Kitselman is a tone-hound, and when he plays guitar he produces some sweet sounds rooted in rock ‘n roll. Clark Hansbarger has more of a blues sensibility in his playing. And Gary McGraw, the classically trained hillbilly/Mozart fiddle player, generally just tears it up.
The Bitter Liberals mixed some outstanding new material into their strong set of mostly original songs. It is deep, evocative, emotional music. People in the audience laugh and cry as the lyrics and shared experiences hit home through the shimmer and jangle of well-played and inspired rock n’ roll.
This band is always on my radar for a live show and the Bright Box Theatre is a great venue to see them play. You can also get a meal and drinks and the wait staff is helpful and friendly. Never mind the cold, pouring rain outside. It was warm and rocking inside. Stay bitter, my friends!
For more information, visit thebitterliberals.com Join the bitter liberals email list by emailing: gem@garymcgraw.com.

Time for the Clarke County Studio Tour

By Liam Harrison

Mark your calendars for the Clarke County Studio Tour on Saturday October and Sunday October 2. This self-guided, free family-friendly tour will take visitors through the Clarke County countryside and the towns of Berryville, Bluemont, Boyce, Millwood, and White Post. The tour offers a diverse group of 30 artists and 22 different locations. The artist studios will be open 10am–5pm each day. Most artists will be doing demonstrations, offering refreshments, and have items for sale. Locations will be marked by a tour sign at

the location.

On the tour you will see woodworkers, furniture makers, fine artists in watercolor, pastels, acrylics, and oil painting, pottery, a variety of sculpture, fiber art, jewelers, floral design, antique upcycled/repurposed items, art in nature, and hand carved gilded work. The following 30 artists are participating on the tour:

Julie Abrera, Gale Bowman-Harlow, Scott Carpenter, Tim Chambers, Mizue Croswell, Christy Dunkle, Jay and Peggy Duvall, Constance Fisher, Norma Fredrickson, Malcolm Harlow, Diane Harrison, Liam Harrison, Russ Harrison, Jeff Headley and Steve Hamilton, Hip and Humble – Julie Ashby & Steve Scott, Dave Hickman, Sue Hickman, Ron Light, Carl Maples, George Maxwell, Tia Maggio, Julie Miles, Peter Miller, Keith Patterson, Kellie Patterson, Nancy Polo, Rachel Rogers, Mikisa Shaajhante, Bruce Smallwood, René Locklear White-Feather.

Peter Miller, a frame maker on the tour, was key in helping revive the tour. A Connecticut native who moved to the area and opened his shop on Main Street in Berryville was amazed at the number of artists and artisans in the county. Peter started in January by pulling in a key group of artists, shop owners, citizens, and staff working on tourism in the town and county. After receiving all the responses from artists, the group was surprised by how many newcomers and the variety there is in the area that will be opening their studios.

The Clarke County Studio Tour organization, headed by Miller, hopes to highlight the abundant creative talent that resides in Clarke County. Also, the group wants to help promote tourism which will benefit the county as a whole. The Clarke County visitor’s center at the Barns of Rose Hill is the center point of the tour, providing information on the area and tour, brochures, and a viewing of the raffle items beginning mid-September. The center will have extended hours that weekend from 10am–4pm on Saturday and 10am–3pm on Sunday.

Diane Harrison, a Berryville potter, helped run the previous tours in the county. She said that this tour goes above and beyond any that we have had in the past. The quality and the variety of skilled artists and artisans is amazing. “It has been a great pleasure to work with the group to get this one off the ground and to meet so many new artists to the area,” she said. A number of the artists are also participating in the new Top of Virginia Artisan Trail kicking off in September. This will help to give tourists and locals an idea of what a treasure of artistic talent Clarke County has to offer.

A Passport Program gives each tour visitor a chance at one of many artist-donated items which will be on display starting September 16 at Barns of Rose Hill. Visitors will pick up a passport at their first stop. At each stop, the passport will be stamped marking where you have been. When a participant is finished with their tour, they turn in the passport at their last stop to be entered into the raffle. You must have visited at least one tour stop to be eligible for the raffle. Winners will be drawn the following week.

A website allows visitors to preview artists with links to their websites and maps are available so that you can plan the route. The site is also phone friendly, and ties into Google Maps. You may also download the PDF brochure if you want to ‘go green’. The website address is clarkecountystudiotour. You may also access the tour Facebook page directly from the site for posts highlighting artists on the tour and updated information.

 

Around Clarke County May-June 2016

May

Happening Now!
Thru the Garden Gate at Barns of Rose Hill through May 28th. Everyone is invited to step thru the wrought-iron gates to enjoy this lovely collection of garden-related art by sixteen mostly-local artists. Natural Composition and Natural Attraction by Stephens City artist Ron Heath adorn the gates.

Stepping thru the gates takes one past watercolor peonies and roses by Julie Read and Janie Caspar’s Redbud Time. Ed Cooper’s Country Garden and Summer Garden occupy the top of the path. Proceeding clockwise brings into view two watercolors by watercolorist Allene Fraser of Edmonton, Kentucky: The Blue Door and the Pott Home Place.

Coming into view next are Blue Bench with Hydrangeas and Thru the Garden Gate, both by Cheryl Voytek.
A stroll around the outside perimeter features Blooming Places, a triptych in lovely pastel colors by Winchester artist Don Black and an abstract series entitled Sanctuary, The Glade and Small Pond, by Bob Black, of Millwood.

Works by C. B. Fisher, Michele Frantz, Janet Hansen Martinet, Jill Perla, Cari Sherwood, DeeDee Volinsky and Robert Whitacre are also represented.
Most of the paintings may be purchased.

Memorial Day Service
May 29, Rose Hill Park in Berryville. 2pm. Sponsored by VFW Post 9760 and American Legion Post 41. The theme of this year’s service is “Clarke County’s Honor Roll: A Tribute to Our Fallen Heroes. Clarke County High School’s Band and Choir will perform at the service. Major General Hugh “Bugs” Forsythe, USAF (Retired), will deliver the Memorial Day message.

A U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, General Forsythe is a highly qualified pilot and experienced, professional leader. He has more than 35 years experience flying high performance fighters, including combat missions in Southeast Asia and Iraq. General Forsythe currently serves as the Director of Marketing for Potomac Air Charter, managing a King Air in Leesburg. He also serves as Chairman of the Board for Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers, a non-profit organization assisting those in need. Following the service, a social event and luncheon will take place at VFW Post 9760 at 425 South Buckmarsh Street in Berryville. The luncheon is free and open to the public. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place at the Barns of Rose Hill.

14 World Fair-Trade Day
My Neighbor and Me. 15 East Main Street. Berryville. 11am-1pm Jona Masiya & Friends will be playing live music on Djembe and Marimba on the sidewalk. 2pm Storyteller Larry Lee Fickau with live illustrator Norasack Pathammavong. For information call 540-955-8124.

14 Kidz Fest
Old Town Winchester. Loudoun Street Mall. A day full of fun and education featuring more than 60 interactive exhibits highlighting education, art, music and sports. Free activities and engaging exhibits ranging from musical instrument demonstrations to gymnastics will line the Mall. For information contact Jennifer Bell at 540-535-3660 or jennifer.bell@winchesterva.gov.

15 VHSA Jumper
Sandstone Farm. 3805 Millwood Road, Millwood. Free admission to all events. Breakfast and lunch available. For Information 540-837-1261 or e-mail sandstonefarm@aol.com. See schedule for times and details at www.sandstonefarm.com. Free.

15 Spaghetti Dinner and Auction
Clarke County High School. 627 Mosby Boulevard. Berryville. 3–7pm. Clarke County High School Chamber, Concert, and A Cappella Choirs will sing for you while you enjoy a Spaghetti Dinner. Proceeds will benefit the student singers’ future performances and their choral education. Donate for your dinner. There will be a silent auction following the meal. For information, contact Michelle Suling at suling5@comcast.net or Teresa (TC) Miller Welch at bruceandtc@gmail.com.

20 Budding Artists Exhibit Opening
Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct. Berryville. We are excited to join forces with Heritage Child Development Center to showcase children’s art in a delightful exhibit—Budding Artists. The children spend months making individual and collaborative pieces to proudly display for family, friends and the public. While the younger children focus on tactile exploration and development of gross motor skills and visual acuity, the older groups explore a world of creative invention through a multitude of mediums. Doors open at 5pm. Exhibit starts at 5:30. Free. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

20 Student Writers Open Mic Night
Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct. Berryville. Come out to read your original poetry and stories in a creative and supportive atmosphere! Arrive between 7 and 7:30pm to add your name to the list of readers. Reader slots are limited to five minutes. Participants must be middle-school through high-school students. Home schooled students are encouraged to participate. Local writers will serve as emcees. Doors open at 6. Readings start at 7:30. Free event. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

21 Muse Art and Craft Festival
Loudoun Street Mall. Old Town, Winchester. 11am-6pm. Woodworking, printmaking, painting, collage, ceramics and ! aMuse Art & Craft Festival is Winchester’s only festival dedicated to the arts. With a committee of local arts professionals, we are community driven and proud to host artists from across the region to our charming little town. For information visit www.amuseartfair.com

21 Charm City Junction
Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct. Berryville. From dance inducing Old Time rhythms and foot stomping Irish melodies to hard-driving Bluegrass, Baltimore-based Charm City Junction creates a fresh soundscape that keeps listeners on the edge of their seats wondering where they’ll go next. The band is comprised of four of the most talented and promising acoustic roots musicians in the country. Doors open at 7:00, Show starts at 8:00. $15.00 in advance, $20.00 at the door, 12 and under free. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org

21 Job Hunting 101
Workshop for teens and young adults, Clarke County Parks & Recreation Center, 225 Al Smith Circle. Berryville . 1–2:30pm. Suggested donation is a can of food for FISH. To register by email contact Patty Maples at maplespatty@gmail.com or register directly on Eventbrite. at www.eventbrite.com/e/job-hunting-101-for-teens-and-young-adults-clarke-county-va-tickets-24591865933.

22 VHSA Horse and Pony Hunter show
Sandstone Farm. 3805 Millwood Road, Millwood. Free admission to all events. Breakfast and lunch available. For Information 540-837-1261 or e-mail sandstonefarm@aol.com. See schedule for times and details at www.sandstonefarm.com. Free.

22 Clark Hansbarger
And the Bitter Liberals. Mt. Zion Historical Park. 40309 John Mosby Hwy. Aldie, VA. 7pm. “Dream of a Good Death: New songs of the Old War—A Civil War Folk Odyssey”. Each song is introduced with slides and a bit of lecture to enrich the audience’s experience of the music, and then performed by Hansbarger and his band The Bitter Liberals, featuring Allen Kitselman, Mike Jewell, and Gary Mcgraw. As a special addition, the evening will also feature paintings of Civil War themes by artist Winslow McCagg. Seating is limited, but tickets can be purchased in advance at the Mosby Heritage Area Association website at mosbyheritagearea.org/calendar. Admission for the evening is $15 for adults in advance. $18 at the door. students $10. More about the show and the project can be found on Clark’s website civilwarsong.com.

22 Loudoun Youth Guitars
Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct. Berryville. One of the finest youth ensembles in the metropolitan area, the group is comprised of talented and highly motivated guitar students from several middle and high schools in Loudoun County. They perform music by composers from various musical eras, including Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and contemporary. Dr. Miroslav Lončar conducts the orchestra and Dr. Nataša Klasinc-Lončar is the assistant. Doors open at 3pm. Show starts at 4. $5 per person. 12 and under free. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

25
Clarke County Studio Art Tour Reception

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court. Berryville. 7pm. All participants in The Clarke County Studio Tour which will be held on October 1st and 2nd and interested folks are invited to a gathering to learn more about the tour & pick up “Save the Date” cards. For information or an application contact Diane Harrison at diane@centerringdesign.com.

26 The Honey Dewdrops
Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct. Berryville. Laura Wortman and Kagey Parrish share more than most couples. As the Honey Dewdrops, they share stages from venues to festivals across North America, stretches of rolling, infinite roadway, and a lot of songs; they share one mic and a hunger to pay attention to what endures. With tight harmonies and a musical ensemble that includes clawhammer banjo, mandolin and guitars, the effect is to leave listeners with only what matters. Doors open at 7pm. Show starts at 8. $15 in advance. $20 at the door. 12 and under free. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

28 Strawberry Festival
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall. 15 Barnett St. Berryville. 11am–2pm. Come enjoy delicious strawberry shortcake, homemade ice cream, scrumptious fried chicken lunches, baked goods, and much more. A gas card and a basket of cheer will be among items being raffled. Additional information is available by calling 540-955-4617. Proceeds benefit ECW Outreach projects.

28 Corn Potato String Band
Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct. Berryville. The Corn Potatos have delighted audiences with their driving fiddle tunes and harmonious singing across the US, Canada, Europe, Mexico, and India. They are all multi-instrumentalists dedicated to continuing the music and dance traditions of the Central and Southern US. In addition to being champion fiddlers they play banjo, guitar, bass and mandolin and deftly handle many different antiquated styles including ballads, “ho-downs,” country “rags” and southern gospel, specializing in twin fiddling and double banjo tunes. Doors open at 7pm. Show starts at 8.. $15 in advance. $20 at the door. 12 and under free. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

June

2 Brown Bag with Books
Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court. Berryville. 12 noon. Bring your lunch and join the Clarke County Library at The Barns of Rose Hill the first Thursday of each month to discuss the book of the month. June’s book is The Lost City of Z by David Grann. All are welcome. For information call Laurine Kennedy at 540-955-5144.

4
BRH Annual Hunter Horse Show
Sandstone Farm. 3805 Millwood Road, Millwood. Free admission to all events. Breakfast and lunch available. For Information 540-837-1261 or e-mail sandstonefarm@aol.com. See schedule for times and details at www.sandstonefarm.com. Free.

4 The Bitter Liberals
Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct. Berryville. The Bitter Liberals is a band of focused concentration and joyful collaboration, encompassing decades of musical experience. They play all original music of texture and maturity, featuring rich story-telling, fine vocals, and the seasoned musicianship of Allen Kitselman, Mike Jewell, Clark Hansbarger, and Gary McGraw. Doors open at 7pm, Show starts at 8. $15 in advance. $20 at the door. 12 and under free. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

5 5k Color Fun Run/Walk
Clarke County Parks and Recreation. 225 Al Smith Circle. Berryville. Clarke County Education Foundation, in partnership with CCPS and CCPR, hosts the 2nd “Color Me Clarke 5k Fun Run/Walk”. This is NOT a certified course; it’s about FUN. 7:30am checkin/packet pickup. Race waves begin at 9am. $30 in May. $35 after May 31st and day of the event. DJ, Awards, Color Finale – For information visit www.ccefinc.org For online registration visit https://runsignup.com/Race/VA/Berryville/ColorMeClarke.

10 Community Band
Rose Hill Park. Berryville. 6:30pm. Clarke County Community Band Spring Concert. Bring the family and a picnic and enjoy an evening of traditional band music and show tunes.

12 Safety in the Home
Berryville Baptist Church. 114 Academy St. Berryville. Sheriff Tony Roper will be giving a talk on how to stay safe in your home. A light lunch will be served at 12 noon with the presentation following. Free event. 540-955-1423.

A Spring To Remember At The Barns

Two concerts and a special offering for Historic Gardens Week top the spring lineup

Michael Chapdelaine in concert

Sunday, April 17, 4pm

Michael Chapdelaine is the only guitarist ever to win First Prize in the world’s top competitions in both the classical and fingerstyle genres; the Guitar Foundation of America International Classical Guitar Competition and the National Fingerstyle Championships at the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield, Kansas.

His performances, played on both steel string and classical guitars, include musical styles ranging from blues to Bach to country to rhythm n’ blues as he wins his audiences’ hearts with breath-taking technique and the poetic magic of his original musical portraits and landscapes. Advance tickets $15 until 1pm the day of the performance, $20 at the door.

The Gardens of Famous Artists

Saturday, April 23: A visual book review of Artists’ Gardens  by Bill Laws

April 23 and 24 mark the Historic Garden Week tour in Clarke County of the Garden Club of Virginia. As part of the weekend’s celebration of springtime and gardens, Barns of Rose Hill is offering “Thru the Garden Gate”, an exhibit of garden artwork, and a special presentation on Saturday, April 23 by Suzann Smith Wilson looking at the influence of their gardens on the work of a number of famous European and American artists.

Suzann Smith Wilson lives in Arizona. She’s a lecturer, photographer and painter who has led private tours of gardens and stately homes in England, France and Italy for over 14 years, and has taught fine arts at the Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City for 29 years.

The free presentation will be given twice, at 11am and at 1pm in the James R. Wilkins, Sr., Great Hall in the Barns at 95 Chalmers Court, off E. Main Street in Berryville.

The Historic Garden Tour on Saturday and Sunday will showcase several beautiful historic homes in Clarke County. Information is available on the Garden Club of Virginia website. The Barns is the designated “Lunchbox” stop on the tour. Parking is available in the Government Center parking lot on Chalmers Court.

Big Mike Lynche

Wednesday, Ap

Michael Lynche,  an American Idol winner, brings his band  Black Saints R&B to the Barns. Lynche’s life has been defined by two things: love and second chances. The Florida native and devoted family man’s rise from obscurity was well documented through his riveting appearance on American Idol. Known to America as “Big Mike,” he was famously “saved” by the judges, giving him a second chance to continue through the prized competition.

His heartfelt music has been virtually a lifetime in the making. He got his first guitar when he was three. He would mimic the moves of guitar players. Beyond church, Michael’s mother shared her love of music with Mike and introduced him to a wide range of artistic sounds and styles, including 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bonnie Raitt and Jimi Hendrix.

After wowing millions of fans on Idol with his comforting and powerful voice, and performing throughout the United States as part of the American Idol LIVE! tour, Lynche and his band come to the Barns with music by James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Luther Vandross, Al Green and more. Tickets are $25 in advance to 1pm the day of the concert, $30 at the door.

Tickets for all events are available at the Barns box office at 540-955-2004 or order online at barnsofrosehill.org.  Parking is available at the Government Center lot on Chalmers Court off E. Main Street in Berryville.

Phil Travis Teaches Blacksmithing for Everyone

Story and photos by Claire Stuart

In Colonial America and during the settlement of the west, “the blacksmith shop was the hardware store of the day,” says blacksmith Phil Travis, who teaches a series of classes in this vital traditional craft. He explains that the town blacksmith made all the essential tools (and tools for making tools) for home and farm, from nails and hinges to shovels, axes, forks, pots and pans.

To 21st Century eyes, the most amazing thing about blacksmithing is that all of these things can be made using only a forge, an anvil, and a hammer. Tongs are useful for holding metal stock, but not essential.

Movies usually show the blacksmith at a huge brick forge, often making horseshoes. Travis explains that farriers are another type of blacksmith, and they specialize in not just making horseshoes but also caring for the horses’ hooves. If a blacksmith was the only metalworker in town, he would be making all of the implements and hardware, and horseshoes would be a very small part of his business. If the town was large enough, there was a blacksmith and a farrier.

The big brick forge in the movies also isn’t necessarily typical. Forges come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Travis conducts his classes at forges that are about the size of a backyard grill. The forge is a very simple invention, requiring only a firepot to hold fuel and a source of air that is forced through to make the fire burn hotter.

Travis uses a coal burner and an electric fan, but explains that in third-world countries, blacksmiths use whatever fuel they have — be it charcoal, wood, or animal dung. The firepot can even be just a hole in the ground to contain the fuel and a way to blow air through it. For air, they might use a child blowing into a tube or operating a simple bellows made from animal skin.

Of course, nails were essential for early settlers, and Travis says that they were frequently made in the home. Mothers and children would make them during winter in the hearth fire. Often they would make enough to sell for extra cash, just as farm women sold butter and eggs.

Forging differs from other types of metal work because forging does not remove any of the metal. Travis explains that all blacksmithing is based on one or a series of just five processes. “Drawing” is thinning or lengthening a metal rod by heating and hammering it. “Upsetting” is shortening and thickening it by heating it and hammering in at the end of the rod. Then there is cutting (punching holes), bending, and forge welding (which joins two pieces of hot metal by hammering them together).

Blacksmiths generally work in dim light so that they can see the color of the metal being heated, which is essential to the process. As it heats up, the metal goes from dark gray through shades of red, orange, yellow and white. Golden yellow is the ideal color, and white is too hot, causing oxidation and flying sparks.

Travis has been interested in blacksmithing since he was about ten years old. As a teenager, he made a forge out of a hibachi grill. He recalls forging arrowheads out of 16-penny nails. He learned his skills by reading about blacksmithing and taking classes. In 1989, he took a class at the John Campbell Folk School in North Carolina with noted seventh generation blacksmith Daniel Boone VII, descendant of THE Daniel Boone.

Retired as an electrician and project manager with Xerox, Travis says he doesn’t call himself a professional blacksmith, but rather an enthusiast and hobbyist. He has participated in French-Indian War and Revolutionary War living history demonstrations, Shenandoah Longrifles and other events. He used to camp at the Belle Grove Plantation and he rebuilt the forge there, and he demonstrates at Sky Meadows State Park. He enjoys going to blacksmith “hammer-ins” and meeting people in the blacksmith community, who he describes as having “old American-style ethics.”

He has been teaching since 2011, and his classes are open to anyone age 16 and up. He says his students have included teens and seniors, men and women, office workers and construction workers, jewelry makers and artisans who want to make specialized tools for their craft.

“They can make a tool and then use the tool,” he says.

In his first class this year, Travis taught students to work with a coal forge, hammer and anvil to make wall hooks, nails, punches for metal work and several types of tongs. The punches made by the students were used to make holes for inserting nails to hold the two arms of the tongs together. It was interesting to see how many steps were necessary to make a small steel bar into a simple hook.

Student Jay Quintin was taking his second class with Travis. He said that he grew up on a farm and his father did blacksmithing to maintain equipment. He is trying to set up his own shop. “I make stuff like hooks and nails and give it away,” he laughed.

David Patton was taking his first blacksmithing class. He, too, says he likes to “make stuff,” especially “old school stuff” and also plans to have a small forge.

Travis recycles discarded metal and gives it new life. He indicated some pieces used in the class made from coil springs and a hammer he made out of a truck axel.

He notes that several popular old sayings came directly from blacksmithing, including “dead as a doornail,” “Strike when the iron is hot,” and “too many irons in the fire.”

Travis will teach two-day blacksmithing classes on several weekends from April through July and one five-day class. Absolute beginners are welcome in all classes and will learn to make items like bar-b-que tools, hammers, colonial boot scrapers, shelf brackets, and custom tools.

All classes are held at Opus Oaks Art Place, 2330 Crums Church Road in Berryville. For dates and details, e-mail gale.bowman-harlow@opusoaks.org or call  540-539-6685.

Around Clarke County April–May 2016

15

Rhythm Future     Quartet

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court. Berryville. The acoustic jazz ensemble, Rhythm Future Quartet, has a straightforward agenda: to keep the spirit of Gypsy jazz alive and expanding in today’s musical universe. The virtuosic foursome, named for a Django Reinhardt tune, offers up a newly minted sound, influenced by the classic Hot Club of France, yet wholly contemporary. Led by violinist Jason Anick and guitarist Olli Soikkeli, the quartet performs dynamic and lyrical arrangements of both Gypsy jazz standards and original compositions that draw upon diverse international rhythms and musical idioms. With Max O’Rourke on second guitar and Greg Loughman on bass, Rhythm Future is dedicated to expanding the boundaries of a vital musical genre. Doors open at 7. Show starts at 8. $15 in advance. $20 at the door. 12 and under free. For more information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

 

15

Mindfulness in Nature

Guided Walking Meditation. Led by Shell Fischer of Mindful Shenandoah Valley. Blandy Experimental Farm. 6:30—8:30pm. Slow down and draw on nature through guided meditation, silent walking, and personal reflection. Dress for the weather. 16 and older. $10 FOSA members, $12 nonmembers. Reservations required. For information call 540-837-1758 ext. 224 or visit www.blandy.virginia.edu.

 

16

Cash Party

John Enders Fire Hall. 9 South Buckmarsh St., Berryville. Doors open at 5:30. Crazy Cash Party and BBQ Dinner. Grand Prize $1500. Only 275 tickets. Call 540-955-1110 or email secretary@endersfire.com.

 

 

16

Clarke County Rotary Casino Night

Boyce Volunteer Fire Company Social Hall.  Funds will be used for the new Rotary Picnic Shelter at Clarke County Parks and Recreation.  Doors open at 5pm. Food served from 5:30­–6:30. Gaming starts at 5:30. Tickets: $40 donation.

 

17

Michael Chapdelaine

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court. Berryville. From New York’s Lincoln Center to the Cactus Cafe in Austin, from Milano to Bangkok, Michael continues to enchant, dazzle and surprise audiences and critics alike as he redefines the modern acoustic guitar with his amazing technique. His performances, played on both steel string and classical guitars, include musical styles ranging from blues to Bach to country to rhythm n’ blues as he wins his audiences’ hearts with breathtaking technique and the poetic magic of his original musical portraits and landscapes. Doors open at 3. Show starts at 4. $15 in advance. $20 at the door. 12 and under free. For more information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

 

17

VHSA Jumper Show

Sandstone Farm, 3805 Millwood Road, Millwood. Free admission to all events. Breakfast and Lunch available. For Information 540-837-1261 or e-mail sandstonefarm@aol.com. See schedule at www.sandstonefarm.com.

 

19

Film: Land Rush

My Neighbor and Me. 15 E. Main Street. Berryville. One hour Why Poverty? documentary will be shown followed by discussion on tonight’s focus on land and how do you feed the world? 7pm. Free event. 540-955-8124. www.myneighborandme.com.

 

 

22

Berryville Drum Circle

My Neighbor and Me. 15 E. Main Street. Berryville. This evening’s drum circle will be lead by Jona Masiya. 7–8:30pm. Free event. 540-955-8124 www.myneighborandme.com.

 

22

Book Talk

By Lesley Lee Francis – You Come Too: My Journey with Robert Frost. Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court. Berryville. Lesley Lee Francis, granddaughter of the beloved American poet Robert Frost, talks about her new book, You Come Too: My Journey with Robert Frost.  In the book, she combines priceless personal memories and rigorous research to create a portrait of Frost and the women, including herself, whose lives he touched. Francis’s invaluable insights into Frost’s poetry and her inclusion of previously unpublished family writings and photographs make this book essential to Frost scholarship. But You Come Too will appeal to anyone interested in this great poet’s life and work. It also reveals unforgettable stories of strong, independent women and their passion to create and share poetry. Doors open at 6. Book talk starts at 7. Free event. For more information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

 

23

Thru the Garden Gate

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court. Berryville. Lower Gallery. Multimedia exhibit of garden-related art. Free. Opens at 11am. Runs through May 28th.

Oils, acrylics, watercolors, sculpture, including work of Kentucky artist Ailene Fraser. kelli.hart@borh.org. www.barnsofrosehill.org. 540-955-2004.

 

23

Artists’ Gardens

Presentation by Suzann Smith Wilson. Barns of Rose Hill. Great Hall. 11am and 1pm,  Free. Guests must be seated 5 minutes before program time to be admitted. Suzann will discuss artists and artwork featured in the book entitled Artists’ Gardens by Bill Laws. The book features twenty artists’ gardens worldwide from those of Claude Monet, Carl Milles, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth to Gertrude Jekyll, John James Audubon, Frida Kahlo and William Morris. kelli.hart@borh.org. www.barnsofrosehill.org. 540-955-2004.

 

24

Bluegrass and BBQ

featuring The Foghorn Stringband. Barns of Rose Hill. Berryville. The Foghorn Stringband is the present day shining gold standard for American string band music, with eight albums, thousands of shows, over a decade of touring under their belts, and an entirely new generation of old-time musicians following their lead. Through all this, they’ve never let the music grow cold; instead they’ve been steadily proving that American roots music is a never-ending well of inspiration. The music of The Foghorn Stringband today, revolves around four master musicians: Portland, Oregon-based Caleb Klauder (vocals, mandolin, fiddle) and Reeb Willms (vocals, guitar), and Yukon-based Nadine Landry (vocals, upright bass) and Stephen ‘Sammy’ Lind (vocals, fiddle, banjo). Each member of The Foghorn Stringband comes not only from a different part of the American roots music spectrum, but leads the pack in their field as well. Doors open at 7. Show starts at 8. $15 in advance. $20 at the door. 12 and under free. For more information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

27

Michael Lynche and the Black Saints

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court. Berryville. Michael Lynche is a new breed soul singer with classic influences. Undeniable charisma, well-crafted uniquely arranged songs, and a voice soaked in passion gives Big Mike the tools to bring it every night without fail. With talent so versatile he’s played jazz/blues clubs to opera halls with 100 piece symphonies backing him, Mike aims to please and doesn’t disappoint. Often compared as a new-age Luther Vandross, get ready for a night of amazing love songs from ‘The Minister of Love!’ Michael Lynche’s life has been defined by two things: love and second chances. The Florida native and devoted family man’s rise from obscurity was well documented through his riveting appearance on American Idol. Known to America as “Big Mike,” he was famously “saved” by the judges, giving him a second chance to continue through the prized competition. Doors open at 7. Show starts at 8. $25 in advance. $30 at the door. 12 and under free. For more information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

 

30

Independent Bookstore Day

Winchester Book Gallery. 185 North Loudoun Street. Winchester. 400 Bookstores. 12 Exclusive Books & Art Pieces. One Day Only. The Winchester Book Gallery will launch Apple Blossom Saturday at 10am with hourly giveaways, a central coloring table for everyone, a bloomin’ tree upstairs, a Favorite Classics Wall, an all-day Open Poetry Mic, and a Trivia Wheel with a Grand Prize! We will also offer exclusive day-of merchandise created especially for Independent Bookstore Day by major publishers and authors. www.winchesterbookgallery.com. 540-667-3444.

 

 

May

1

April Verch

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court. Berryville. April Verch steps, sings, and fiddles with a fresh and feisty approach to deep North American traditions. Verch’s delicate voice, energetic footwork, and stunning playing, a trifecta of talents she brings together simultaneously to jaw-dropping effect. While Verch is perhaps best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada, her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and beyond, for a well-rounded tour-de-force of North Americana sounds. Verch tours with world-class musicians as a trio, featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass and clawhammer banjo in addition to Verch’s vocals, fiddle and foot percussion. One might suspect a performer with as many talents as Verch would pause to take a breath, or need to somewhat compartmentalize her skills during a live performance. But on stage, Verch is almost superhuman, flawlessly intertwining and overlapping different performative elements. She stepdances while fiddling. She sings while stepdancing. Sometimes she sings, steps and fiddles all at once, with apparent ease and precision. Verch is – as they say – a triple threat in performance, her live show a beautiful companion to her music: versatile, robust, and masterfully executed. Doors open at 7. Show starts at 8. $15 in advance. $20 at the door. 12 and under free. For more information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

3

Film: Give Us the Money

My Neighbor and Me. 15 E. Main Street. Berryville. One hour Why Poverty? documentary will be shown followed by discussion on tonight’s focus on money and how do you change the world? 7pm.  Free event. 540-955-8124 www.myneighborandme.com.

6

Bluegrass and BBQ

Featuring Bud’s Collective. Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court. Berryville. Join us for a night of Bluegrass & BBQ with Bud’s Collective.  Bud’s Collective is a dynamic group of pickers and singers from the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. With deep roots in Bluegrass music, they are not afraid to venture off the well beaten path and play songs by Bill Withers, Tom Petty, Alabama, Django Rhinehart, Johnny Cash and many more, while maintaining an energy that is all their own. The group also features a long list of original material written by band leader and guitar player, Buddy Dunlap. What began as a “throw together group of whoever Buddy could collect,” quickly turned into one of the hottest bluegrass bands in the DC area. Since its inception in December of 2012, Bud’s Collective has played with the likes of Ricky Skaggs, Loretta Lynn, Rhonda Vincent, Sierra Hull, Larry Sparks, and Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen just to name a few. The band took first place in the 2013 DC Bluegrass Union Band Competition, and second place in the 2014 SPBGMA Band Competition in Nashville. Doors open at 7. Show starts at 8. $15 in advance. $20 at the door. 12 and under free. For more information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

7

VHSA Horse and Pony Hunter show

Sandstone Farm. 3805 Millwood Road, Millwood. Free admission to all events. Breakfast and lunch available. For Information 540-837-1261 or e-mail sandstonefarm@aol.com. See schedule for times and details at www.sandstonefarm.com.