Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Upcoming Events at the Prizery, South Boston, Virginia

The Prizery Cultural Arts Center in South Boston, Virginia, has become well known for presenting a wide variety of high quality performances, both in its regular season and during the Summer Theatre Celebration. In addition, Halifax County Little Theatre presents its regular season in the Prizery’s Chastain Theatre, and Parsons-Bruce Art Association presents rotating exhibits of regionally recognized artists in the Robert F. Cage Gallery.  Many opportunities to see these impressive exhibits, live theatre, and performances by world renowned musicians await Prizery patrons in the months to come. All are invited and encouraged to visit and take part in the Prizery experience.  
Dueling Divas: A Broadway Revue  Travel down the hit parade of Broadway's most famous tunes, from years gone by to the most contemporary. The season begins as  Angela Fowler, Motormouth Maybelle from this past Summer Theatre's "Hairspray" and Brad Bass of Broadway's "Wicked" "Memphis" and "Jersey Boys" will fill the theatre with their powerful voices.  Also, children from Summer Theatre's past, "Annie", "The Sound of Music" and "Oliver" will delight one and all.  Saturday, Jan. 31 at 7:30pm and Sunday, Feb. 1 at 2:30pm
Over the River and Through the Woods” an HCLT Production  The weather is getting colder as winter approaches, but it will be warm in the Prizery’s Chastain Theatre when Halifax County Little Theatre produces “Over the River and Through the Woods,”  a heartwarming comedy by Joe DePietro.  Little Theatre president Sandy Slayton will be directing this theatrical gem for its February run. Casting has been done, and rehearsals are underway. We all hope for great opportunities for our children, even though we know those opportunities may take them far away from us. If we can just figure out how to make them want to settle down near their roots. Feb. 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 at 7:30pm and Feb. 22, March 1 at 3pm
American Chamber Players  Among today's most exciting and innovative chamber music ensembles, The American Chamber Players  ensemble performs repertoire ranging from familiar masterpieces to neglected gems to newly commissioned American works, and its fascinating and delightful programs with varied instrumental combinations have been as enthusiastically praised as its extraordinary, dynamic performances.  They have toured throughout North America, engaged and re-engaged by prestigious concert series from Florida to  British Columbia, have performed a series of special gala concerts at the Paris Opera and the Bibliothèque Nationale, have been heard National Public Radio's Performance Today, and are the resident ensemble of the June Chamber Festival at the Kreeger Museum, in Washington, DC. The American Chamber Players have recorded music of Mozart, Bruch, Bloch, Stravinsky, Harbison, and Rochberg for a series of compact discs and cassettes distributed internationally on the Koch International Classics label. Sunday, March 9 at 2:30pm

Richmond Ballet II This elite group of ten professional dancers led by former Richmond Ballet dancer Igor Antonov, serves as the ambassadors of Richmond Ballet’s outreach and education programs by performing lecture- demonstrations and youth performances. It has long been the mission of Richmond Ballet to awaken and uplift the human spirit; by adding another company, Richmond Ballet is able to better achieve its mission and deepen the organization’s impact in the community. Friday, March 27 at 7:30pm
“25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” an HCLT Production This musical theatre production and hysterical adults-only comedy that touches at the heart of adolescence. Do you remember those awkward years of early middle school? Do you remember spelling bees? Do you remember thinking about things you shouldn't? Add some good music, a little simple dancing, an interesting plot line, and a few lovable characters, and you have the makings of a wonderfully entertaining and lively production.  April 10, 11, 14, 17, and 18 at 7:30 and April 12 and 19 at 3pm.
Wayne Henderson and Helen White Wayne Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking is a source of great pleasure and pride to his friends, family and neighbors in Grayson County, Virginia. His guitar playing has also been enjoyed at Carnegie Hall, in three national tours of Masters of the Steel-String Guitar, and in seven nations in Asia. In addition to his reputation as a guitarist, Henderson is a luthier of great renown. He is a recipient of a 1995 National Heritage Award presented by the National Endowment for the Arts. He produces about 20 instruments a year, mostly guitars. Thursday, April 30 at 7:30pm
The Richmond Symphony The Richmond Symphony is dedicated to excellence in presenting all types of orchestral repertoire. It incorporates classical, gospel, jazz, and contemporary and popular music into its programming, making great music accessible to everyone. Thursday, May 14 at 7:30pm
Elizabeth (Betsy) Evans Holt, Watercolorist from Richmond, Virginia, is the featured artist at the Robert F. Cage Gallery this January and February. Admission to the gallery is free of charge.
For ticket information and additional information about upcoming shows, exhibits, and events please visit the website at www.prizery.com.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hunka Hunka Burnin' Blue Suede Birthday Party

It's not everyday that the King of Rock 'n Roll would have celebrated his 80th birthday. Thursday marked what would have been Elvis Presley's 80th, and in our house, that calls for a party.  Miss Courtie is one of Elvis' greatest, and probably youngest, fans ever. We have had a cat and a bunny named for him, have watched endless movie Elvis marathons, own a fairly impressive movie and poster collection, listened to the Elvis sirius XM station too much for me to want to admit, and Courtie even had an Elvis Blue Hawaii themed 4th birthday party. I could not make that stuff up. The party was short, but sweet. We put candles on the blue icing cookie and sang "Happy Birthday" to the boy from Memphis, as Courtie was all smiles.   
Happy Hunka Hunka Burning Blue Suede Birthday, Elvis!
You'll always be the King of Rock 'n Roll in this household.
xoxo, Erin
Southern Virginia Mom

Saturday, January 10, 2015

What to Expect at the New Ohm Yoga Center in Halifax, Virginia

How do you release tension and practice relaxation? I went to yoga class for the first time in a long time this week, and it was so wonderful! I stretched, toned muscles, breathed deeply, stretched some more, all in a comforting and relaxing atmosphere. I even had a brief head and neck massage. I heart Ohm Yoga.
First let me say, can you believe we even have a yoga center in Halifax? Though Yoga is a thousands year old practice with primitive origins, there is something that feels very progressive about having a yoga studio in rural, small town Southern Virginia. Support of this yoga center really speaks volumes of the level of community involvement and support from this traditional, yet progressive community. Ohm Yoga was located in the Town of Halifax near the courthouse, but has recently moved into a larger space just across the train tracks, across from the former dance studio, up a little ways from Toots Creek Antiques. The exterior of the Ohm Yoga looks like this.
The interior of the space was painted, the floor was replaced, and lighting was adjusted and added to create a serene environment.  Here is what to expect on the interior. 
Whether you have practiced yoga for years, or you are new to yoga, here are a few tips that will help you and connect you with this great yoga resource here in Halifax County in Southern Virginia, based solely on my personal experience.
1. First Class Jitters:  Everyone who practices yoga, including those whom my husband says can wrap themselves up like a pretzel, started somewhere. Most people don't go to their first yoga class and immediately start perfecting yoga poses. Most newcomers wouldn't know a cobra from a downward-facing dog. That's OK. It's like anything else in life. You have to start somewhere, and you will learn as you go. Your first class is free, by the way.  
2. Relaxation or Exercise? Yoga can be tailored to your personal needs and goals. If you are looking to stretch your body in a gentle and relaxing atmosphere, there is yoga class for that. If you are not able to get on the floor, and have delicate physical needs, there is a yoga class for that. You might benefit from Chair Yoga, which incorporates the use of a chair to help you stretch and is ideal for those otherwise unable to get up and down easily.  If your goal is to slim and tone and burn calories, yoga is great for that, too. Ohm Yoga Center holds Vinyasa Flow classes. According to internet sources, a 140lb person can burn 528 calories in one hour of Vinyasa Flow Yoga. I can't wait to see what my new Fitbit has to say about that.
3. What does Vinyasa Flow Mean? The word Vinyasa means "breath-synchronized movement." In Vinyasa Flow yoga, breathing technique is very important. Emphasis is placed on inhaling and exhaling as your body  moves, or flows, from one to pose to another. In Vinyasa Flow Yoga, you can expect a lot of movement, not just stretching.
4. What to wear? Wear something comfortable. You can wear stretch pants, or yoga pants. I like to wear form fitting clothing. When I lean over toward the front, putting my hands on the mat, I don't like for my shirt to hang open, and I don't like for shorts to hang open. Likewise, I like to wear a shirt that comes down to my hips, because when I stretch my arms and raise my hands above my head, I don't like my shirt riding up. Short answer: Long comfy pants and a form fitting lengthy shirt.
5. No shoes required. Most people go barefooted. Socks can be slippery. There is a cubby bench you can leave your purse and shoes in.
6. What do I need to take? No special equipment is needed, and you don't need to take anything with you. If you have your own yoga mat, that's great, but if not, Ohm Yoga owner and instructor Rebecca Ramey has plenty of mats and blankets at the studio. I use one of hers when I go. Grab a mat off the shelf when you enter, unroll it wherever you can find an empty space. Roll it back up when finished and put it back on the shelf. Grab a blanket, too, because...
7. At the end of the gentle flow class, Rebecca will have you lie down on your yoga mat, and will cover you with a blanket. She will place a weighted eye mask over your eyes. As soothing music continues to play, she will give a brief head and neck massage. Even if you find this a little different and maybe even awkward, you will quickly warm up to this. I know people that go to yoga just for this ten minutes of bliss. The only concern that I have during that 10 minutes is that I will start snoring, but Rebecca assures me that I won't be the first.
8. The Business Basics: You can find everything you need to know about cost, class schedule, location, and the studio here at the Ohm Yoga Center website. January 17, 2015, will mark the new location's official opening, and class schedules may be changing, so stay tuned. Rebecca is considering offering some new classes to accommodate more students and varied schedules. 
If I sound like I am pushing Rebecca and Ohm Yoga Center, it is because I am. The studio is a great asset to this community. Also, Rebecca is a fellow music classmate, kayak buddy, lunch date partner, and friend of mine, and I would love to see her have continued success in this venture. I first took her yoga class before she had a professional studio, when she was starting out teaching classes in the basement of St. John's Episcopal Church in Halifax. I have been really excited for her as I have watched her studio grow and her students grow in numbers. I am hoping that this post will shed light on what she does for her students and this community. I hope that you will consider working Yoga into your regular health and wellness routine, whether you are a fellow yogi or are curious about just getting started. If you're on the edge, my advice is this: Don't worry about what you can and can't do. Be bold. Be daring. Be adventuresome. Take a step in a new direction and try something new. You might just find that you love it. Hopefully I will see you in class. I might be the one snoring. Please wake me up before you leave.  
Until then, wishing you health, wellness, peace, and deep relaxation. Please meet me for yoga. I double downward facing dog dare you.
xoxo,  Erin
Southern Virginia Mom

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Virginia State Parks First Day Hike 2015

"2015 tiptoed in very quietly while we slept. I awoke early this morning and sat on the edge of Carrington's bed. He whispered, "Will you snuggle with me?" I did. I stole every imaginary sugar-cake that I could find. When my other two rise in their own time, we are heading out into the state park for our first day hike. It is a very happy new year, indeed." -January 1, 2015
First Day Hike is a national effort to get people out and into America's State Parks on the first day of each new year. Virginia State Parks had 36 state parks participating in First Day Hike 2015. What a fantastic way to christen the new year-by enjoying the peace and solitude and natural beauty that is within our state parks. Staunton River State Park held an organized hike at 8:30 am. We didn't quite make it to the organized hike. We slept in a bit, then headed out in our own time. We began with cool temperatures, but as we started moving and the sun shone overhead, we soon warmed up and shed our coats. 
The sun glistened on the shimmering water. We walked along a hiking path that emptied us at the Buggs Island overlook. This overlook is one of Courtland's very favorite peaceful places. She had specifically asked that we hike this trail today so that she could enjoy the beautiful view.
We continued walking along the trails, stopping to explore holes in trees and to study the water's edge and to enjoy the views and intermittent silliness. 
Of all the critters we observe in the woods, giggling children are my favorites.
I love seeing my children experience the joy and wonder of nature.
We crossed from one trail to another, then decided to take advantage of this opportunity to nab a couple of geocache finds. We found two caches, one of which the children found hidden in a stump.   
We logged our two caches, finished our hike, and grabbed a few Virginia State Park "First Day Hike 2015" stickers before heading home. We looked forward to cozying up inside our warm house and enjoying the lunch  I had left slow cooking in the crock pot.  It was a most perfect introduction to 2015. 
Halifax County is home to two state parks, Staunton River State Park, and Staunton River Battlefield State Park, a 300 acre Civil War battlefield site. The Occoneechee State Park is just a few minutes down the road in Mecklenburg County, and sits on Buggs Island Lake. There are many water access points in the state parks, with lots of opportunities for boating, hiking, kayaking and canoeing, camping, and more. To find out more about these opportunities, check out the Southern Virginia Wild Blueway. To find out more about Virginia's State Parks, go to their website here.