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Music & Arts

  • Mandolin players shatter world record in Galax

    Describing the sound of 491 mandolins all playing the same song at the same time is almost impossible, though you can try:

    A choir of extremely cheerful angels.

    A thousand silver needles dipped in liquid sugar and dropped on a polished mirror.

    A very melodic rain hitting a perfectly smooth lake.

    (As one musician remarked to another afterwards, “I was afraid it would sound like a bunch of bumblebees trapped in a dryer.” Thankfully, he was wrong.)

  • Old Tunes, New Talent: Youth Night at the Galax Fiddlers' Convention

    Young musicians took the stage in Felts Park on Monday for the convention’s annual Youth Night. Now in its 15th year, the night has grown into one of the most popular for the week-long music festival in Galax.

  • Robbins' photos capture musical moments

    Professional photographer Mark Robbins isn’t a Southwest Virginia native, but that doesn’t stop him from making the trip to the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention every year.

    Originally from Norfolk, Robbins lives in Portsmouth and Virginia Beach, and comes to the Twin Counties in what he refers to as a “stag weekend with my guy friends.”

  • Fiddlers flocking to Galax for weeklong festival

    Staff Reports

    Galax’s population will soar in the coming week, as thousands of fiddlin’ fans descend on the city. Felts Park will open its gates at 7 a.m. Sunday for the 80th Annual Old Fiddlers’ Convention. The competition opens Monday night and lasts through Aug. 8.

    Most of the convention’s expected 1,300 campers will show up Sunday to set up camp.

  • Musicians tune up to retake world record

    Got a mandolin and even a rudimentary ability to play it?

    Tara Linhardt wants you to come to the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention on Aug. 4 at 1 p.m. to help make history — again.

    In 2012, the world’s largest mandolin ensemble – 389 strong – came together at the Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax. That’s not just an idle boast; the event made the Guinness Book of World Records.

  • Patsy Stoneman, mountain music pioneer, passes away

    Patsy Stoneman Murphy was born in Galax and ended up near Nashville, a life journey that almost mimics the evolution of the country music her father, Ernest V. “Pop” Stoneman helped to bring about.

    Normally, uttering the words “Patsy” and “country music” turns the average American’s mind to Patsy Cline, the pioneering female country singer out of Winchester, whose life was cut tragically short in a plane crash at age 30.

  • Venzie's marimba playing takes listeners on musical journey

    Larissa Venzie started out playing the piano at age seven, but after hearing a marimba for the first time a few years later she knew that was her focus.

  • Wilson's memory celebrated in song

    At the Blue Ridge Music Center’s celebration of Joe Wilson’s life last week, the crowd waxed and waned, breezes came and went; but the one constant that shone more fiercely than the sun was an enduring love and pride for Wilson’s legacy.

  • Leaf & String Festival is this weekend

    Originally created 15 years ago as a traditional music event, the Galax Leaf & String Festival has evolved into a showcase for the area’s music, art and culture.

    Bands will perform on Friday and Saturday in downtown Galax.

    This year, Leaf & String is hosting a Art and Craft Fair featuring members of ‘Round the Mountain, Virginia’s heritage craft trail. Chestnut Creek School of the Arts will be front and center promoting classes and activities for all ages.

  • Music center kicks off concert series

    Music will ring out from the foot of Fisher Peak on the Blue Ridge Parkway as the 2015 concert season begins at the Blue Ridge Music Center.

    The Music Center will showcase the talents of great performers, including Della Mae, The Sherman Holmes Project with Phil Wiggins, Marty Raybon, The Jeff Little Trio, Alice Gerrard, Steep Canyon Rangers, Wayne Henderson with Helen White and Herb Key, De Temps Antan, Rebecca Frazier, The Steel Wheels, and many more.

    Shows are Saturdays at 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted. In mid-September, Saturday showtimes move to 4 p.m.