Front Royal impresario David Freese – he also organizes operatic performances at a local restaurant – announces a new choral society in Front Royal which will sing in concert the weekend of December 7-8 in Front Royal and Middletown.
The Valley Chorale of Front Royal (formerly the Front Royal Oratorio Society) presents its first performance on Saturday, December 7 at Grace United Methodist Church (7:30 p.m.) in Middletown under the baton of Dr. Ryan Keebaugh, its first artistic director. Keebaugh presents a variety of musical styles in a concert titled “Home for Christmas.” A community reception will follow.
The following day at 3 p.m., he brings the 45-member chorale to Front Royal Presbyterian Church at 115 Luray Avenue for a Sunday performance.
Freese says the “newly vitalized” chorale has members coming from several area counties, and invites “everyone to share in the music, the message, and the gift of Christmas.” He says a portion of each concert will be dedicated to a “carol sing-along.”
Both concerts are free but a portion of the freewill offering in Middletown will go to WINC-FM’s annual “Chain of Checks” supporting Winchester area homeless shelters.
For more information, go to ValleyChoraleofFrontRoyal.org or call (540) 635-4842.
American Heritage Girls serve community
American Heritage Girls (AHG), a faith-based character development program for girls ages 5 to 18, is making an impact by serving in the community. Recently, the girls in Troop VA2206 served by performing a Christmas caroling program at Fox Trail Senior Living.
“Service is the practical expression of a girl’s faith,” says Patti Garibay, AHG Executive Director and Founder. “Watching girls grow in their faith and discover their God-given purpose through the development of servant hearts is the greatest achievement of AHG.”
Faith-based organizations like churches and schools and civic organizations “charter” (partner with) AHG Troops to achieve their ministry goals for youth. With an emphasis on faith, service, and fun, AHG programming includes more than 240 badges, service projects, leadership opportunities, and outdoor experiences. Troops are led by adult volunteers who facilitate the AHG Program while encouraging girl leadership.
On Thursday, December 5, Troop VA2206 took their Christmas caroling service project to Fox Trail Senior Living. Led by adult leaders Melodie Murray and Ashley Clark, the girls retold the Christmas story for Fox Trail’s residents using both song and Scriptures. While honoring their commitment to community outreach, this particular service project helped girls to develop valuable skills, such as public speaking and musical talents. Troop VA2206 will continue their commitment community service on December 14 when they lay Christmas wreaths on veteran’s graves at Winchester National Cemetery.
Skyline High School’s Environmental Science, Ecology, and Green Team loves the Earth from the bottom of their hearts
On December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, Skyline High School’s Environmental Science, Ecology, and Green Team students were able to complete an Action Project began by their predecessors in January, thanks to the financial support of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, Walmart, Front Royal/Warren County Anti-Litter Council, Warren County Education Endowment, and Community Participants.
The goal of their project was to raise awareness of the plastic pollution problem that we have in our waters. Students and Samuels Public Library sold organic, fair trade and GOTS certified, reusable canvas bags from Gallant International, along with a story book about an animal that suffered due to our plastic waste problem, written by Ellie Jackson. For every bag and book sold, students were able to give a bag and book to a kindergarten student in Warren County Public Schools.
Nearly 400 bags and books were distributed during the educational assemblies in which SHS students shared lessons about how the kindergarten students can reduce, reuse, and recycle in order to help our aquatic friends.
Parts of the lesson included reading “Duffy’s Lucky Escape,” signing and singing “Here to Do Our Part, Love the Earth from the Bottom of Our Heart,” a song written for this purpose (sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star), and the distribution of a WCPS Earth Steward sticker, coloring sheet, song lyrics, bag, and book. It was a wonderful experience for the SHS students to be able to put their learning into action… to have a change of pace, share a wholesome message, and give meaningful gifts to our community’s young Earth Stewards.
A few bag/book combos remained and were raffled off to the kindergarten teachers and aids. Ellie Jackson also donated sets of her books to Samuels Public Library and each elementary school library. Several donated sets from the author remain if you have an elementary school library that would like a set of the books.
Also remaining are a few of the organic, fair trade and GOTS certified, reusable canvas bags that Gallant International donated to the group. These bags are for sale for $20 with the proceeds being used to support the group’s current and future action projects, one of which is the Community Earth Day Celebration coming up April 18. Please, save the date! Contact Kara Lewallen for more information at email@example.com or (540) 631-0366 ext. 31131.
Valley Chorale of Front Royal Annual Christmas Concert
The Valley Chorale of Front Royal (formerly the Front Royal Oratorio Society) held it’s annual Hometown Christmas Concert Sunday afternoon, December 8th at the Front Royal Presbyterian Church. The Chorale has been bringing choral music to the northern Shenandoah Valley since 1965. As the area’s longest-established community chorus, their aim is to put great choral music at the heart of civic and community life and, in so doing, entertain, illuminate and uplift our families, friends and neighbors. The men, women and youth in their current roster of singers come from Frederick, Clarke, Warren, and Rappahannock counties.
This year the Chorale has a new Artistic Director, Dr. Ryan Keebaugh at the helm. Noted for his “energetic, expressive, concise, insightful, and sensitive” conducting (The Washington Post), Ryan’s versatile and vibrant musicianship has distinguished him as a leading music educator and conductor.
At the end on the concert two young ‘future members’ joined the chorale for the encore number. They welcomed Amanda Baldwin, age 10 and Stephanie Fultz, age 8 to join them on stage.
For more information on the Valley Choral of Front Royal visit their website at: http://valleychoraleoffrontroyal.org/
The Royal Examiner was their and shares the concert with you.
Open House! Annual Holiday Pottery, Ceramic and Art Show
On Sunday, December 8th, Explore Art & Clay at the Kiln Doctor is having their Annual Holiday Pottery, Ceramic and Art Show at 100 East 8th Street in Front Royal. The Royal Examiner stopped by on Saturday to see what was planned for the big event on Sunday, from 1pm to 5pm.
Want to shop local for the Holidays? Well that’s a fantastic idea! This is the 5th Annual Holiday Pottery, Ceramic and Art Show, showcasing all the amazing artists of the area. Art pieces range from mugs, paintings, bowls, cards, and so much more! They’ll have cider and cookies too.
Warren County Middle School gifted and talented program students showcase their projects
Warren County Middle School students in the gifted and talented program displayed their presentations for parents and friends this week during a special showcase evening. Teacher Zach Logan welcomed guests and shared a few details about the students progress so far this year. Projects ranged from the Magic of Disney to interesting facts about New Zealand with several biographies in between! Great job by all of the students! Watch this video to see a few friendly faces and hear from Mr. Logan:
Belle Grove decorated for the holidays and open for touring December 6-30, 2019
Belle Grove Plantation is decorated for the holidays and will be open for touring from Friday, December 6, through Monday, December 30, 2019. Each room was decorated by a local Garden Clubs with the theme of “All Creatures Great and Small.”
“Belle Grove is celebrating the animal kingdom this year because it has always been a place that has included animals, from its more than 200-year history as a farm, to encouraging pollinators in the garden, to hosting the U.S. Border Collie Handler Association’s National Finals again in 2020,” said Kristen Laise, Executive Director.
Guided house tours are offered Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with tours beginning at quarter past each hour (first tour at 10:15 a.m. and last tour at 3:15 p.m.) and on Sunday 1-5 p.m. (first tour at 1:15 p.m. and last tour at 4:15 p.m.). On Friday and Saturday evenings 4-8 p.m. visitors are welcome to take self-guided tours, the Manor House will be lit by candlelight, and there will be live music in the Parlor from 6-8 p.m. All guests are invited to enjoy spiced tea and cookies as part of their house tour admission. Belle Grove will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and will close for the winter on New Year’s Eve.
The schedule for live holiday music on Friday and Saturday evenings will be:
- Friday, December 6, 6-8 p.m., Allen Dec, Happy Harper
- Saturday, December 7, 6-8 p.m., Soprano Deborah Balcom
- Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14, 6-8 p.m., Sweet Grass, Traditional Carols
- Friday, December 20, 6-8 p.m., Winchester Celtic Circle
- Saturday, December 21, 6-8 p.m., Flutist Elizabeth Dalton & Guitarist Jason Perry
- Friday, December 27, 6-8 p.m., John Tole, Evergreen Shade, Period Music
- Saturday, December 28, 6-8 p.m., Winchester Celtic Circle
The Little Garden Club of Winchester decorated the Manor House’s front porch and hall to welcome visitors as they arrive. The Massanutten Garden Club’s decorations in the Parlor compliment the 12-foot Norway Spruce Christmas tree donated by John and Judith Tole of Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm in Woodville, Virginia. Hawthorne Garden Club’s decorations are in the Library and Winchester/Clarke Garden Club adorned the Day Sitting Room. Glen Burnie Garden Club decorated in the Plantation Office and Warren County Garden Club decorated the Dining Room. Colonial Garden Club decked the Gold Bedroom and Middletown Garden Club decorated the Nursery. Shenandoah Garden Club of Woodstock festooned the Winter Kitchen and the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners Association provided natural decorations in the other rooms of the lower level of the Manor House.
Admission for all tours is $12 for adults, $11 for members of the military, AAA, the National Parks, and individuals 60 and older. Students 6-16 and National Trust for Historic Preservation members are $6. Children 5 and younger are free. Belle Grove members are free of charge as benefit of their membership. Visitors may join Belle Grove and immediately use this benefit at Christmas along with 10% off non-consignment purchases in the Museum Shop.
Visitors will arrive through the Beverley B. Shoemaker Welcome Center in the 1918 Bank Barn, which opened to the public in April 2019. This is now where the Belle Grove Museum Shop is located and it will be open during all touring hours. The Museum Shop carries unique gifts and many products from area artists, artisans, farms, and businesses. The Welcome Center also contains exhibits about Belle Grove and the families who lived here. On the exterior of the Welcome Center guests can see lifelike portraits by local artist Michelle Luttrell of the animals that used to be stalled on the lower level of the barn.
Belle Grove Plantation is a non-profit historic house museum that is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site and a partner in Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. It is located off Route 11 at 336 Belle Grove Road south of Middletown, Virginia. Information on Christmas tours may be found at www.bellegrove.org or at www.facebook.com/BelleGrove.