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Music & Arts

  • 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.

  • NEA supports music center, Crooked Road

    Staff Reports

    A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will support the 2016 “Roots of American Music” summer concert series highlighting traditional music at the Blue Ridge Music Center near Galax.

    The NEA announced awards totaling more than $27.6 million in its first funding round of fiscal year 2016, including an Art Works award of $15,000 to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.

  • Conservatory presents 11th annual 'Nutcracker'

    Treat yourself and your family to one of the holiday season’s most treasured and adored performances, the Conservatory of Dance & Theatre’s annual ballet, “The Nutcracker.”

    Holiday magic envelops the stage at Galax High School as the dancers of the Conservatory and the Galax Youth Ballet bring to life iconic choreography from the wondrous waltz of the snowflakes to the pristine Sugar Plum Fairy variation. Under the artistic direction of Barbara Johnson, the Conservatory will perform its 11th annual “Nutcracker”.

  • Art school opens new woodworking studio

    Chestnut Creek School of the Arts’ Woodworking Studio enjoyed its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday afternoon after eight years of anticipation, planning and effort, as Galax Mayor C.M. Mitchell welcomed all and CCSA Director Chris Pollins-Shackelford thanked everyone who worked to bring the studio to the city.

    After the ceremony, everyone headed inside for a look at the airy, light-filled space during a reception that featured a woodworking-themed cake from Horton’s Supermarket and live music from the Barr family.