Shenandoah Valley Music Festival Kicks Off This Weekend With Full Line-Up Through September 5 | Winchester Star
The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival kicks off its 58th summer concert series today with the Four Tops and special guest Meisha Herron performing at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, Classic Albums Live will perform music from Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors” at 8pm.
This year’s schedule has been a work in progress after more than a year of restrictions on mass gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this summer, restrictions were largely lifted in Virginia, but festival staff were still working hard to fill gaps in the festival’s weekend performance series that runs through September 5.
“It’s great to find things back at… I guess we call this the new normal,” said Dennis Lynch, President and CEO of the Festival.
Following the social distancing, plastic screens and pods they put up for spectators on the lawn last year, he said: “We can think outside the pod this year.”
“Things are back to normal,” Lynch said. “We are selling our pavilion at 100% of its capacity.
In addition, he said the eight-concert series has now been sold out for a few days.
On August 14, Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste of Black Violin, two classically trained musicians who met in a high school orchestral class in Florida and are now fusing string arrangements with modern rhythms and vocals for a style that is their own.
“They kind of defy comparison,” Lynch said.
With four albums to date, including a Christmas album released last fall, the two have said they are defying expectations as well. People don’t expect two young black men to take the stage with a violin and a viola playing symphonic music, they said.
Their first two albums are titled “Classically Trained” (2012) and “Stereotypes” (2015), and through his work, Baptiste said he learned that it was “important not to shy away from this stereotype”.
Their Grammy-nominated album, “Take the Stairs,” released in 2019, features the upbeat and upbeat song “Impossible is Possible,” which Baptiste says offers a strong message of hope.
“We’ve always kind of kept that narrative of, you know, thinking outside the box, having hope,” he said by phone Monday.
“There is a point where you realize / All the things they said were lies,” the song begins, accompanied by a string orchestra and backing vocals.
“We can do anything… we can go anywhere… because we have fire,” he says, challenging listeners to “show the world that the impossible is possible”.
Baptiste said the spirit of the song clicked with the message from the duo “Take the Stairs”, which was nominated for Best Contemporary Orchestral Album.
Lynch said people could arrive in Orkney Springs next month without hearing Black Violin, but they’ll leave wanting to hear everything the duo have ever done.
“You’re going to be there for five minutes and you’re going to say, ‘Oh my God, this is one of the best acts I’ve seen,” he said. “They’re just phenomenal.”
Black Violin is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. on August 14. Lawn tickets cost $ 60 for adults and $ 18 for those 18 and under. Tickets for the pavilion cost $ 67.
“It will be a high energy show,” Baptiste said.
Also in the summer lineup, Aoife O’Donovan with special guest Carsie Blanton at 8 p.m. on July 30, Kansas at 8 p.m. on July 31, Phil Vassar at 8 p.m. on August 13, Madeleine Peyroux at 7 p.m. on September 3 and Nitty Gritty Dirt Group with special guest Daniel Donato at 7 p.m. on September 4.
On September 5 at 7 p.m., the Hot Strings & Cool Breezes Minifest will feature the Steep Canyon Rangers, Gibson Brothers and Chatham Rabbits.
Lynch said they ask unvaccinated guests to wear masks.
The festival won’t be selling food this year either, but he said people can call ahead to book dinner from the Shrine Mont dining room.
“Otherwise, it’s picnic time,” says Lynch.
“Come see us,” he said. “The weather is going to be wonderful this weekend.
The concert hall is at 221 Shrine Mont Circle in Orkney Springs, 13 miles west of Mount Jackson. For more information, visit musicfest.org or call 540-459-3396.