Albemarle Sinfonia Presents Benefit Concert

svbf med jpg While the Charlottesville Symphony and the Tuesday Evening Concert Series may have finished their 2014-15 seasons, there’s no need for classical music lovers to lament the end of spring.

Kenneth Nafziger conducts the Albemarle Sinfonia in a program of works by Bach, Haydn, and Vivaldi to benefit the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival on Sunday, May 31 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church at 3:30pm.

The week-long Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, presented by Eastern Mennonite University since 1993, has been called the “jewel in Harrisonburg’s crown” by the Virginia Commission for the Arts for its devotion to promoting an appreciation of Bach’s music. The Festival Orchestra features professional musicians from around the country and in this concert, collaborates with the recently formed Albemarle Sinfonia, founded by violinist Susan Black in 2014.

The concert will feature solos by Nancy Garlick on recorder, Joan Griffing on violin, and Diane Phoenix-Neal on viola.

Admission is free and donations are gratefully accepted. For more information about the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, visit the website or call (540) 432-4367.

-Danielle Bricker

WriterHouse Presents “A Memoir of Place”

sue_eisenfeld2 When and how does a place become the subject of a memoir? On Thursday, May 28 at 7:00pm, WriterHouse presents “A Memoir of Place: Sue Eisenfeld and Shenandoah National Park.”

Author Sue Eisenfeld will discuss with C-VILLE Weekly writer Elizabeth Derby how a form of writing that is usually focused on the author’s personal experience can expand to encompass place and history.

Eisenfeld’s hikes in the Shenandoah National Park over decades compelled her to investigate and write about the history of the creation of the park in the context of her experiences of it.

Sue’s work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Washingtonian, The Gettysburg Review, Potomac Review, Health Affairs, Hunger Mountain, Still: The Journal, Blue Lyra Review, Virginia Living, Blue Ridge Country, and other publications. Her essays have been listed among the notable essays of the year in The Best American Essays (2009, 2010, 2013).

This event is FREE and open to the public.

American Shakespeare Center Presents “Wittenberg”

mbailey-140630-349-nh-X2-2 To study or not to study? That is the question.

UVA and other college students may be celebrating their summer freedom this week, while children and teens eagerly await their final bell, but if by some chance you don’t have enough academia in your life, follow Prince Hamlet to university at the American Shakespare Center’s production of Wittenberg, on stage through June 13.

This modern play by David Davalos puts a modern spin on the Bard’s most famous characters. Denmark’s tortured prince is a student at Wittenberg University caught between two professors’ heated debate. The devout Martin Luther verbally spars with cunning John Faustus on the virtues of faith versus logic. Filled with wicked modern humor, this prequel to both Hamlet and Doctor Faustus – which are also playing at ASC this month – draws comparisons to Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

For a mega-dose of wit and wonder, plan your visit to Blackfriar’s Playhouse – the country’s only replica of Shakespeare’s original indoor theater – for Saturday, May 23‘s More Shows Marathon. Wittenberg kicks off the action at 10:30am, followed by Christopher Marlowe’s Machiavellian Doctor Faustus at 2pm, and the original great tragedy of Hamlet at 7:30pm.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the ASC website.

-Danielle Bricker

May Satellite Arts Blog Series

artinthepark47622mtWelcome back to the “Satellite Arts” Blog Series!

This series explores the many exciting arts and culture events happening beyond the Charlottesville/Albemarle area. Follow the Satellite Arts blog posts to stay in the loop on what’s happening in the greater central Virginia region!

Coming up this month:

Our Town (Barboursville)
May 8 – May 24

The Hamner Theater joins Four County Players for this production of Thornton Wilder’s American classic. Tickets are available for purchase online or by calling the box office at (540) 832-5355.

Art in the Park (Staunton)
May 23 and May 24

Art in the Park at Gypsy Hill has grown into a two-day festival of quality fine art and fine craft every Memorial Day weekend. The exceptionally beautiful municipal park provides a tree-lined, intimate setting for participating artists and artisans as well as for area residents and tourists attending the event. Visitors linger as they admire the artwork, chat with the artists, listen to live music coming from the bandstand every hour, and enjoy the food provided by a variety of vendors. This event is FREE and open to the public. Find more information online.

Memorial Day Square Dance (Waynesboro)
May 23 from 7:00pm to 10:00pm

Join the Circle Eight Square Dancers for a Memorial Day Square dance at Woodmen of the World, located at 4001 White Bridge Road. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Orange Community Band Concert
May 25 at 7:30pm

The Orange Community Band has had a close relationship with American Legion Post 156 in Orange County and over the years has been invited to provide music for its Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day observances. The band will once again participate in the Memorial Day Observance held at Taylor Park on Main Street in Orange. This year, the band has invited community members to play alongside them for the concert.

25th Annual Strawberry Festival (Stanardsville)
May 30 from 7:00am to 3:00pm

Stop by The Palette Art Gallery booth/tent and see some beautiful artwork and visit with local artisans. The event, sponsored by the Art Guild of Greene, features the famous Strawberry Breakfast, as well as strawberry cakes, pies, and desserts. Lunch will be served as well. Enjoy great gospel music, have your face painted, browse craft booths, and watch local cloggers and square dancers. This event is FREE and open to the public, and will take place at the Stanardsville United Methodist Church.

Stay tuned for more events happening in your area! If you would like to submit your organization’s event for the series, feel free to email at least one week prior to your event.

Image Credit: Mike Tripp, The News Leader

May Art Drinks

Exterior Night Join PCA for the next Art Drinks at The Paramount Theater on Wednesday, May 13 from 5:30-7:30pm!

Art Drinks is a casual monthly event where you can network with other creative professionals in Charlottesville.

In May, Art Drinks will be held at The Paramount Theater on the Downtown Mall, a historic theater and performing arts center dedicated to offering a wide variety of arts, education, and entertainment opportunities for everyone to enjoy.

The May Art Drinks event will feature a guided tour of this historic downtown treasure. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about The Paramount’s beginnings in 1931, the movers and shakers behind The Paramount’s construction, movie palace architecture, and the behind-the-scenes-details of the two-year long restoration!

Each month features a raffle with local arts and culture prizes, and the line-up this month includes a pair of tickets to Alabama Shakes at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion on June 9, a pair of tickets the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph TREES talk by Piotr Naskrecki at The Paramount Theater on June 10, and a tasting for two at King Family Vineyards.

The raffle is free to enter and takes place at 6:30pm, followed by community arts announcements. The guided theater tour will take place directly after announcements. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Questions? Please email us at

Charlottesville Swing Dance Society Beginner Lesson & Dance

Mike-Glasgow-300x215The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society is excited to host their monthly Swing Dance on Saturday, May 16 from 7:00pm to 11:00pm.

DJ Mike Glasgow will teach a Beginner West Coast Swing Dance Lesson from 7:00pm to 7:55pm included with admission. The dance will follow from 8:00pm to 11:00pm.

Singles and couples are welcome and no partner is needed. Admission is $13 per person ($10 for CSDS members, $5 for students with ID or first time attendees).

Please take note of the new location for this month, the Municipal Arts Center located at 1119 5th Street SW in Charlottesville. This will also be the location for the next two monthly dances (on June 20 and July 18).

Three Notch’d Road Presents “Brandenburg Virtuosi”

9893306_origThree Notch’d Road: The Charlottesville Baroque Ensemble, is excited to present “Brandenburg Virtuosi: Masterworks of J.S. Bach” on Friday, May 29 and Saturday, May 30 at 7:30pm.

Named for a colonial route that once spanned much of central Virginia, Three Notch’d Road was founded in 2011 by local period-instrument specialists David McCormick (baroque violin), Fiona Hughes (baroque violin), and Anne Timberlake (recorder).

The group seeks to enrich the local performing arts scene by bringing an exciting and informed approach to music of the baroque era.

Three Notch’d Road expands into a chamber orchestra for an evening of instrumental virtuosity featuring some of J.S. Bach’s most famous works during these two concerts.

Tickets cost $20 (FREE for students).

The first concert will be held at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton, and the second concert will be held at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Greenwood.

Also, Three Notch’d Road is pleased to announce that their “Flow My Tears: Dowland’s England” program has been accepted into the Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Concert Series in June.

Boston Early Music Festival is the largest and most prestigious early music festival in the world with multiple opera productions, dozens of concerts by the world’s leading musicians, and nearly 100 fringe concerts by established and emerging artists.

With seven musicians traveling from various parts of the country, expenses for the trip will be upwards of $4,000. If you are interested in donating funds to support this endeavor, contact David McCormick at (703) 587-0483 or

“Secrets of Montpelier” Photography Exhibition

Larry Bouterie Nov 2014 Montpelier is excited to announce a new exhibition titled Secrets of Montpelier that will run from May 8-22 in Montpelier Visitor Center’s Grand Salon.

The exhibit displays the work of advanced digital photographers participating in a one-of-a-kind photography course designed by Montpelier in partnership with the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The exhibit is FREE and open to the public.

We interviewed Caroline Godfrey, Assistant Director of Communications at Montpelier, to learn more about Montpelier and the exhibit.

Could you tell us about the recent changes you’ve seen or been a part of at Montpelier?

Over the last two years, Montpelier has embarked upon a new chapter in its development under the leadership of Kat Imhoff, president and CEO of The Montpelier Foundation. To highlight a few our favorite successes, we restored James Madison’s library, received a $10 million lead gift from patriotic philanthropist David Rubenstein, and partnered with the U.S. State Department on its Young African Leadership Initiative. Most recently, we broke ground to begin the reconstruction of the South Yard, the enslaved community site adjacent to the mansion where the Madisons’ domestic slaves lived and worked.

For the last decade, Montpelier has been working to bring James Madison back to Montpelier by restoring the mansion and landscape to its 1817 appearance. The restoration of James Madison’s library, unveiled on Presidents’ Day 2014, marked a milestone in this effort. What was an empty space is now complete with books, work desks, a telescope, and personal effects that help our visitors envision James Madison’s work on the U.S. Constitution and lifelong dedication to securing democracy in America.

Restoration efforts at Montpelier will accelerate considerably in the coming years, thanks to Mr. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group. His monumental gift is supporting the curatorial research needed to continue the ongoing refurnishing of the mansion, as well as the reconstruction that will transform the South Yard. These projects will significantly enhance the visitor experience by bringing to life the home and landscape that Madison knew, including the experiences of Montpelier’s enslaved people.

Place is a powerful instrument in helping people imagine the past, but also the future. Montpelier is thus uniquely positioned to to extend James Madison’s continuing impact through programs at the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, located on-site at Montpelier. Last July, the Center welcomed 25 young African Fellows for a constitutional studies program as part of its collaboration with the U.S. State Department’s Young African Leaders Initiative and the Presidential Precinct. Working with Montpelier staff and scholars from leading universities, the Fellows deepened their understanding of democratic government and considered how constitutional reforms in their own nations could propel economic growth, prosperity, and democracy in Africa.

It is easy to believe that the historic landscape at Montpelier is as old as James Madison himself, who would be 264 this year if he were with us today. Yet, as a public museum and educational resource about Madison, constitutionalism, and self-government, Montpelier is only 14 years old — a teenager compared to sister sites like Mount Vernon and Monticello. With this youth comes vigor, innovation, and just the right amount of wide-eyed wonder, which makes Montpelier such a fun, dynamic, and future-oriented organization — and one that is making great strides.

Can you tell us more about the partnership behind the “Secrets of Montpelier” exhibit?

“Secrets of Montpelier” displays the work of advanced digital photographers participating in a one-of-a-kind photography course designed by Montpelier in partnership with the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The course was designed to do to things: provide a curriculum that would cover a swath of technical skills while offering an immersive, behind-the-scenes experience at Montpelier.

Thus, the 4-week course was a composite of educational lectures on select techniques in photography led by award-winning photographer John Hulburt, and field trips to Montpelier, where students tested their learning and talent against the backdrop a one of America’s most important historic homes.

Through custom tours, behind-the-scenes access, and John’s enthusiastic instruction, the class captured the character, quirks, and stories of James Madison’s Montpelier, as well its present-day “residents” whose dedicated work continues to make Montpelier a place of enduring education, inspiration, and beauty.

The exhibit is on display now in the duPont Grand Salon in the Montpelier Visitor Center through May 22. It is free and open to the public during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.). All art work is for sale with the written consent of The Montpelier Foundation.

How does the exhibit relate to the larger changes that Montpelier is currently undergoing?

“Secrets of Montpelier” was designed to give students an all-access opportunity to learn about the history of Montpelier and about the people who called it home, from James and Dolley, to the slaves that made their lives possible, to the duPonts who owned Montpelier from 1901 to 1983. Montpelier’s history is complex, as were the times when a slave-holding nation declared all men were created equal. There is so much to learn about America’s history in these 2,650 acres, and it was exciting to see the students come away with a new insight or perspective after each field trip.

At the same time, the course offered a view into the people and operations that are required to keep Montpelier running. Many of the students commented on how welcomed and inspired they felt by the Montpelier staff. It’s important that our supporters and visitors feel connected and engaged when they come to Montpelier, whether it is through a mansion tour, through the James Madison Trails, by taking an online course on the Constitution, or by digging alongside our archaeologists on an expedition.

Madison was about “we the people,” and so is Montpelier today. The grounds are free and open to the public during regular business hours, dogs are welcome (on leashes), and our hands-on kid activities are expanding. Madison found energy and inspiration from this landscape, and we encourages visitors to not only come to Montpelier to learn more about Madison but also to come here to renew their own energies, creativities, and passions.

Lastly, are there any more upcoming events either at or sponsored by Montpelier that the community can get excited about?

Congress designated September 17 as National Constitution Day, and each year, we invite the public to celebrate this anniversary with us at our own Constitution Day Celebration. This is again a family-friendly event complete with mansion tours, live music, children’s games, and the third annual Taste of Freedom Wine Festival. This year, Montpelier’s Constitution Day Celebration will take place on Saturday, September 19. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Image Credit: Larry Bouterie, courtesy of The Montpelier Foundation

Charlottesville Celebrates National Bike Month With Community Events

bikes-in-charlottesville-111May is National Bike Month! Charlottesville will be packed full of fun events for bicyclists of all ages and skill levels in the upcoming weeks.

A few fun events coming up:

Learn about the updated Charlottesville Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan at an open house on May 6 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at CitySpace.

Stop by the Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia at their Cherry Avenue location on May 15 from 4:00pm – 6:00pm for the Bike Safety Fair, a family event with bike drills, a repair stand, and more.

Meet at Community Bikes by 10:00am on May 16 for the annual Tour de Coop, in which participants will visit a variety of backyard chicken coops on bike. Registration for Tour de Coop is $5.

Ride over to The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative for a bike-in movie night on May 29 at 8:00pm with FREE hot pretzels courtesy of the Pretzel Peddler (if you tell her your best bike adventure story, of course).

Want to participate in the fun of National Bike Month, but don’t own a bike? UBIKE is offering 25% off a one-month bike pass for National Bike Month. Visit the Bike Month website and click on “Special Events” to obtain the promotional code.

The purpose of National Bike Month More is to encourage Charlottesville residents to hop on two wheels and have fun exploring the city while creating a positive impact on their health and their wallet. The average operating expense of a bicycle is just $308 versus more than $8,000 for a car. The average American household spends an entire three months’ pay on car transportation, according to a report by the League of American Bicyclists.

A full schedule of events is available online. Many events are FREE and open to the public, but some require advance registration and a fee.

Alabama Shakes at nTelos Wireless Pavilion

Alabama-Shakes-SpotlightStarr Hill Presents welcomes Alabama Shakes during the Bud Light Concert Series on Tuesday, June 9 at 7:00pm.

“We took our time to write this record, and I’m really glad we did,” says Brittany Howard, lead singer and guitarist of Alabama Shakes, about the band’s new album, Sound & Color.

“We were able to sit down and think about what’s exciting to us, explore all the things we wanted to on our first album. This record is full of genre-bending songs-it’s even harder now when people ask, ‘What kind of band are you?’ I have no clue.”

Sound & Color is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the Alabama Shakes’ 2012 debut Boys & Girls, which earned the group three Grammy nominations, including a nod for Best New Artist.

The album’s twelve songs reveal a band honed by years on the road, and drawing from a wide range of influences. Long instrumental intros and passages create hazy atmosphere, and then the intensity of Howard’s vocals snaps everything back into riveting focus.

Tickets cost $39 and can be purchased online.

The concert will be held at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion, located on Charlottesville’s historic Downtown Mall.