Arts

Fluvanna County Library Director Cyndi Hoffman is excited about a unique experience for children this summer at the library: two live theater performances of Pinocchio and Beauty and the Beast performed by the Hampstead Stage Company, a traveling troupe of actors based in New Hampshire.

The company was named for the four founders who were originally from Hampstead, England, and realized their dream of having a theater company to engage and educate. The theater has been around since 1983 and has grown into one of the largest educational theater companies in the U.S. with 2,000 shows a year.

Through the animation of two actors who perform multiple roles and quick changes, their shows encourage reading books and plays through the magic of performing. Children are treated to original adaptations drawn from literary classics, including Frankenstein and Robin Hood as well as authors like C.S. Lewis and Charles Dickens. Fairy tales and fantasy are brought to life by actors who energize their young audience, nurturing imagination and wonder. Add a comment

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Watercolor painting by Linda BethkeArtist Linda Bethke has her own philosophy when it comes to her watercolor paintings. She shared her thoughts and discussed her style and techniques at the monthly meeting of the Fluvanna Art Association (May 19).

She began talking about the unusual circumstances that led her to art as well as music in her childhood.

“When you can’t run and play you draw and play the piano,” she said, leaving some curious as to what she meant. She was told at an early age she would never walk due to deformed feet and twisted ankles. There seemed to be nothing that could be done for her club feet. The daughter of a military doctor, he found the only surgeon who could do the surgery but was told by the surgeon, “You can’t afford me.” That did not deter her parents who, through the Shriners, were able to have this surgeon perform what was close to a miracle for Bethke.

Once past the hurdles of her physical problems, Bethke could run and play but still chose to make art her focus. But when it came time for her to go to college her parents, like many, were skeptical that anyone could make a living from art, no matter how gifted.

“My father was a practical man, so I went to college and became a teacher and taught third grade,” she said. While she taught she continued to share her love of art with her students, which kept her passion alive.

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Dale WiseDale Wise is a man on a mission: a mission to preserve accordion music and pass its legacy on to a newer generation.
The key is a new generation of interested musicians, he said. He – along with other accordion enthusiasts – is carrying on the traditions of music that has roots in many cultures.

Wise, a teacher who majored in piano, is passionate about the accordion. However, Wise realizes that the accordion has lost favor in the music world over past decades and has been downgraded to remain in history as part of a variety of cultural folk music.
Wise spoke and played his accordion for a wistful crowd at the Friends of the Library’s annual café event Wednesday (May 3) night. The café atmosphere set the tone for Wise’s music, which included many familiar standards known worldwide. He took the audience on a trip, beginning in America with the folk festival held in Burr Hill, Va., where people from around the world will sometimes show up and participate. His point in telling these simple stories was to show how cultures can come together through the love of music, bridging the gap between the past and the present.
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Carol EddyCarol Eddy’s elaborate and detailed work on a petite scale is astounding. Not one of her unique jewelry pieces is the same. Though she crafts them with precision her creative whimsy is obvious, especially in her spoon pendants that feature all kinds of little things from pearls to delicate little flowers, hearts, tea cups and butterflies. Her work is reminiscent of the Victorian jewelry designers, where graceful yet flawless details were added into every piece.

Eddy also has a neuromuscular disease, called Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, which causes a gradual loss of muscle that is not regained. Hip weakness was the first thing she noticed. Having lost her ability to walk, she is now confined to her scooter to get around the house. It has now affected her shoulders and she is unable to lift her arms very high, but said she can easily work at a table with her supplies in front of her.

“Gradually I lost function from the age of 29, but it was slow enough that I could keep ahead of the disease and adjust the way I do things.  My hands have always been one of my greatest assets,” she said. “As a quilter, I could do tiny stitches piecing together pieces of cloth. Now I do another kind of piecing with E6000 glue instead of thread. My hands are working for me, but they, too, will get weaker over time. When that time comes, I’ll just have to find another way to find a happy pastime. I never give up.”

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Hedy Schiller Watson and Dr. Bonnie MackeyFor most of us the alphabet is something we take for granted. We learn it, form words and communicate but never stop to think about its origins.

Dr. Bonnie Mackey has made a study of it. The alphabet is the subject of a book she co-authored with her niece, Hedy Schiller Watson. The book, titled Alphabet Books: The K-12 Educators’ Power Tool, provides an interesting perspective on a subject we seldom think about.

Mackey received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in art history from Mary Washington College, her Master of Education in educational administration from the University of Texas, and her Doctorate in philosophy, educational curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on language literacy and culture from Texas A&M University. Mackey’s passion about learning and education is evident.

This is not Mackey’s first book. She has written others as well as numerous opinions and theories on the subject. Add a comment

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