Clarke Monthly June 2024

Clarke Monthly May 2024

Clarke Monthly April 2024

Clarke Monthly March 2024

Clarke County Producer Has A TV Comedy

By David Lillard

Some of the most memorable television comedies are rooted in workplace antics. In shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation, the mundane becomes surreal; the quirky becomes absurd. Enter TEETH, a new WebTV sit-com created by Berryville’s Ben Hartland. It features a zany cast of characters played by local actors that inhabit the world of a dentist office. Many of the show’s stories emerge from two local dental offices where Hartland works as a nurse anesthetist. Others come from the cast who are amateur actors, but real-life dental professionals.

TEETH centers around a suburban-raised nurse anesthetist who moves his family to his in-laws’ farm and finds employment at a wacky dental office. He must find a balance between his ineptitude at farm life and a dental office with eccentric patients and quirky staff. Anesthesia isn’t the only element draws from his own life: He and his wife and kids do, indeed, live on the family farm just 
outside Berryville.

They grew from the entertaining stories Hartland would tell friends, stories accumulated from the office. Finally one friend suggested he turn the fodder into a show. Having never written a TV show — or watched a lot of it — he thought, why not? So he wrote an episode. “My friend suggested I write a pilot,” Hartland said. “And I said, what’s a pilot?” Yes, he was new 
to television.

If it sounds a bit like learning to sail while building a boat, that’s just the beginning. The making of the show could one day be a show in itself.

To Hartland’s delight, the pilot got some notice. TEETH one of three winners in 2023 Scriptapalooza TV Contest, earned a top 10 percent ranking on Coverfly, and reached the semifinals of ScreenCraft 
Comedy Competition.

Still, he says, only half joking, “Writing was the easy part.” After he wrote six full episodes, friends suggested filming them. Once again, having never produced a show before, Hartland thought, “Why not?” 

Production meetings started in January, and by May they were ready to go. They would shoot two episodes. Everyone was volunteering their time: actors, editor/cinematographers, producers, and even, eventually, Broadway and national touring actor Michael McCoy. All of them were fitting this in around day jobs as dentists, nurses, and 
dental assistants.

“We learned a lot,” Hartland says. They started editing — not final editing, just rough cuts to turn over to a pro. “I realized it was too much,” he said. Too much that wasn’t what he wanted it to be.

Despite the great excitement and dedication, Hartland and his creative got an answer to the “why not” question. Because you do the pilot first! That’s how you figure out the characters, the holes in the story line, the production issues. It’s what business developers call proof of concept.

So he made a tough decision. “Let’s stop and re-do. Let’s combine Episode One and Two into a new pilot.”

He also learned about the amount of time it takes to write, direct, act, cast, and then edit. “I have a two kids and a farm!” he said, without mentioning a day job.

Twenty actors were involved in filming the new pilot. Now that it’s in the can, it’s in post-production (editing, styling, adding the music, etc.), with a launch planned for October. 

You can be one of the first to watch the pilot, plus you can meet all the actors and crew, by visiting www.teethtvshow.com. Read about the people. Sign up for email notifications. Consider pitching in a few bucks to support a local 
creative enterprise.

Clarke County’s Kaylee Anderson Named Most Outstanding Wrestler at State Tournament

Story by Rebecca Maynard
Photo by Tricia Nalls

Clarke County High School senior Kaylee Anderson made the whole community proud on January 29 when she earned the Most Outstanding Wrestler award at the Virginia Girls’ Championship state wrestling tournament.

“I’ve never gotten one of those types of awards before, so it was pretty cool, and shocking,” Anderson said.

Anderson won the girls’ invitational in the 146 pound weight class. She won her first two matches on Saturday with first period pins. Leading by just one point while competing in neutral, Anderson scored a takedown with 18 seconds left and added two near fall points to win 6-1 over J.R. Tucker’s Victoria Harris.

Saturday’s tournament featured 11 weight classes and 13 divisions with girls from 58 high schools in Virginia. (The 100 and 127 classes had two divisions.) Anderson was the only girl from the five local high schools who competed.

The daughter of Tricia and Anthony Nalls, Anderson has been wrestling since 6th grade. “My cousin [Lexi Nalls] was on Team Virginia, and I’d heard about her doing big things in wrestling,” Anderson said. “At the time I was playing softball, but I was horrible at it and needed a new sport! I thought maybe I could try what she was doing.”

Anderson went to a wrestling practice at the middle school and the rest is history. She explained that currently, there is no sanctioned girls-only division in the Virginia High School League (VHSL). Girls wrestle male athletes during high school meets.

“Girls’ wrestling is growing really fast and we’re trying to get it sanctioned,” she said. “There are not many girls’ tournaments in this area, and I’m on Team Virginia, so I know when the tournaments are, but it’s harder for other girls who don’t have those people to talk to and figure out where the girls’ tournaments are.”

“Coach [Jon] VanSice has helped me a whole lot, getting me into tournaments, and his son Kyle VanSice has helped me a whole lot too, sticking up for me, and helping me with my confidence,” she said.

Outside of wrestling, Anderson said a memorable teacher for her is Mary Roberts. “She helped me whole lot, especially when we went virtual, with remembering to stay on task and get everything done and turned in,” she said. 

Anderson plans to attend Shenandoah University in Winchester, where she hopes to study exercise science and/or nutrition, with the goal of becoming a personal trainer. She is close with Tim McGuire, Shenandoah’s wrestling coach, who helped train her for World Team Trials in Texas and flew out on his own dime to help coach her. She has been talking with him about trying to start a women’s wrestling team at Shenandoah.

“He said, ‘We’ll try to help you,’ so that’s my plan,” she said. “We’re going to have to start off as a club first, and build the program, but I’ll still be able to wrestle in women’s college tournaments and he’s going to recruit me to the men’s team.”

While she looks forward to a new chapter at Shenandoah, she currently has the goal to once again make it to boys’ state this year, after becoming the first girl from Clarke County to do so. 

“I was really proud of myself when I made it to boys’ state as a freshman,” Anderson said. “It showed me that I was capable of doing anything.”

Main Street Chamber Orchestra Presents The Nutcracker

originally published in our September edition

By Claire Stuart

All human societies have some sort of music, and Jonathan Goldberg believes that timeless music resounds with human nature.

Although some people consider classical music a relic of the past, Goldberg vehemently disagrees. He counters that they are simply not familiar with it. With that in mind, Goldberg founded the Main Street Chamber Orchestra to make classical music a relevant part of life for everyone in the community. 

Retired from a lifetime in music, primarily as a conductor in performances from New York City to El Paso, Texas, Goldberg has worked with Leonard Bernstein (“and I’ve got the pictures to prove it,” he laughed) and William Shuman, president of Lincoln Center. Goldberg and his wife Felicia moved to Berryville from Ashburn to help their daughter, Helena, who operates the Goldberg School of Music in Berryville.

Not content with retirement, Goldberg serves as Adjutant Professor of Music at Northern Virginia Community College, Loudoun Campus, and for three years he was conductor of the Rose Hill Chamber Orchestra. He tells of playing excerpts from famous pieces by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and others to a music appreciation class, asking whether students were familiar with at least one. All of the students answered in the affirmative, proving that classical music is alive, whether we realize it or not.

Traditionally, chamber music is defined as classical music that could be played by a small group of musicians in a palace chamber or large room. Goldberg explained that many pieces of great music are never played because symphony orchestras are too big for colleges and universities, and there are no small orchestras available for those venues. He noted that there are no professional orchestras in Northern Virginia west of Fairfax.

Confident that the community wants and will support a chamber orchestra in the region, Goldberg debated starting one himself. “I talked to many people, and they said YES! I talked to Nela Niemann (of Blue Ridge Dance Studio), and asked her if I was crazy to try this. She said I was, but that she was told the same thing and has been here 30 years!”

That settled, the Main Street Chamber Orchestra still needed a home. Goldberg spoke to Justin Ivatts, Rector of Grace Episcopal Church and Wendy Oesterling, the church’s Music Director, and the orchestra will be playing in the church hall.

Then came the big question of funding. Fortunately, the orchestra obtained grants from the Marion Park Lewis Foundation, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Bank of Clarke County Foundation. In addition, they had a successful Go Fund Me campaign. “Now we can already pay for the first concert,” Goldberg reported.

Goldberg explained that the orchestra is not an amateur or volunteer group although community groups may participate in performances. He stressed that the orchestra’s musicians are all paid professionals. Musicians (and the arts in general) have disproportionately taken a financial hit with the Covid pandemic. Performances have been cancelled and many musicians were forced to find other work. Ticket sales never meet the needs of musicians, hence the need for fundraising.

Performers will vary with the needs of the pieces to be played, and they come from a pool of area musicians. “Our number one horn player plays in the Baltimore Symphony,” Goldberg noted, “and we’re blessed in this region with military bands. The musicians want to play stuff they don’t get to play often. This is a pool to grow with, but with the military, scheduling can be a problem.” 

The next big fund-raising event will be October 3 at The Mill at Carter Hall, featuring world-renowned pianist Brian Ganz in a benefit for the 2022 spring concert. “It’s a big coup to get someone of his stature,” Goldberg declared. “Brian has many friends in the area, and there isn’t much room, so this concert will be by invitation only. But if someone really wants a ticket, I may be able to get one if they contact me.

”Three members of the community will be playing with Ganz: Akemi Takayama, Vasily Popov and Donovan Stokes. Takayama and Stokes are both Professors of Music at Shenandoah University. 

The orchestra will present a free family concert each year, designed to appeal to young people, starting with their first concert on December 11. They will perform the perennial favorite, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, and showcase dancers from Nela Niemann’s Blue Ridge Studio for the Performing Arts. The performance will take place at 3pm at Grace Episcopal Church in Berryville.

Next year’s free concert will be Handel’s Messiah, featuring Wendy Oesterling’s Piedmont Singers, in addition to singers from local churches. Planned for next spring is a performance of Leos Janacek’s “Nursery Rhymes” (not  children’s music) with help from Ms. Kristi Snarsky’s Clarke County High School Choir.

Says Jon Goldberg, “The transformative power of classical music to enrich our lives can illuminate our shared humanity, reminding us that, in the words expressed in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, ‘All men are brothers.’”

Visit the website for information on upcoming performances:   www.mainstreetchamberorchestra.org.