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Music & Arts

  • HoustonFest celebrates traditional music’s future, honors the past

    Debbie Robinson, HoustonFest’s chief organizer, said she was pleased with this year’s event.

  • HoustonFest will celebrate 80 years of fiddlers' convention

    Staff Report

    Over the past five years, HoustonFest has presented and showcased a veritable who’s who of bluegrass and old-time music.

    Each year brings special and rare performances including the Banjo Jubilation in 2014 and the Orthophonic Joy Presentation in 2015, always paying tribute to the legendary artists of the region while featuring a strong focus on young up and coming artists.

  • Camerata to present spring concerts

    The Highland Camerata will present its spring program, “Songs of the Americas,” in three upcoming concerts.

  • Galax adds RexFest to festival calendar

    Though the long-running Galax Leaf & String Festival is no more, the city will have a new music festival this year — RexFest

    At its April 11 meeting, Galax City Council voted to approve a request for a new festival to be held in downtown this September.

    Tourism Director Ray Kohl brought council a proposal for RexFest, conceived of by Stevie Barr of Barr’s Fiddle Shop. The event would be held on Sept. 24 and be headlined by popular country act Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, along with 11 supporting bands.

  • Music center announces summer concert series

    Staff Report

    The Blue Ridge Music Center will open its season on May 28, welcoming a weekly lineup of musicians to the venue for the 2016 Roots of American Music Concert Series. The season continues most Saturdays through September, and includes two fall heritage performances in October.

    The center at milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway selects performers that carry on and interpret traditions of bluegrass, old-time, folk, gospel, Americana and country blues music.

  • State song to debut at HoustonFest

    Staff Report

    Acclaimed bluegrass singer Amber Collins will debut her performance of Virginia’s new anthem on June 11 at HoustonFest.

    Collins will be introduced by Kylene Barker McNeill, originally from Galax, who made history in 1979 as the first Miss Virginia to become Miss America.

  • Radio station changes name, format

    If you tune in to 1360-AM on April 1 and hear “Stairway to Heaven” instead of “Amazing Grace,” it’s not an April Fool’s Day prank and you’re not having a flashback to the radio station’s format from the 1970s.

    At noon on April 1, the Galax station is changing its format from gospel to classic rock, and its call letters from WWWJ to WCGX, “The Cat.”

    The new station will launch by playing Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll.”

  • Art school plans program to help veterans

    Chestnut Creek School of the Arts’ Woodworking Studio will soon be the site of yet another community development effort, and this time, says Director Christina Pollins, the focus will be on veterans.

  • Dori Freeman: Rising Star

    The video on YouTube is arresting. A slender, pale young woman in a tank top and jeans, sitting partly in a shaft of light, leans back into her seat, pulling the hand that turned the camera on down to rest on her thigh before she kicks into the song.

    It’s a hard-luck tale of the kind so prevalent in American folk and old-time mountain music, about poverty and its accompanying hardships. She sings it a cappella, accompanying herself only with rhythmic slaps against her denim-clad legs.

  • Music center drawing more fans to parkway

    Staff Report

    More than 35,000 patrons visited the Blue Ridge Music Center near Galax last year to explore the Roots of American Music exhibit, listen to Midday Mountain Music and plan their parkway journey at the visitor center during the May through October season.

    Total concert attendance at the amphitheater was 6,130, an increase of 10 percent from the 2014 concert season, said Rita Larkin of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, which coordinates programming at the center.