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5th annual RVA East End Festival set for September 24th

The event, canceled for the past two years due to the pandemic, celebrates music and the arts and supports Richmond Public Schools in the East End.

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Organizers of the RVA East End Festival have announced that the fifth celebration of music and the arts supporting Richmond Public Schools in the East End is scheduled for Saturday, September 24th, from noon until 9:00 pm at Henry Marsh Elementary School, 813 N. 28th St. in Richmond. The festival has been on hiatus for two years due to the pandemic.

Co-chairs of the festival are James “Saxsmo” Gates and Marilyn Heckstall.

James “Saxsmo” Gates is one of Richmond’s premier musicians. A talented saxophonist, he has played in the U.S. and abroad with notable artists including Dizzy Gillespie, The Temptations, Roberta Flack, Marvin Gaye and many others. He is the director/coordinator of the Dr. Billy Taylor Jazz Studies Program in the Department of Music at Virginia State University.

Marilyn Heckstall is the former pastor of Asbury Church Hill United Methodist Church in Richmond and most recently served as pastor of Saint Paul United Methodist Church in Roanoke. She has served as chair of the RVA East End Festival since 2017.

“Mark your calendars now because our fifth RVA East End Festival will be a special occasion to celebrate the artistic excellence of RPS students and the amazing talent in our community,” said Saxsmo Gates. “Music and the arts have been pivotal in my life. I want our students to have the same chances as I did to unlock their creative potential and even discover career pathways.”

“This event is a communitywide investment of love in our children because it creates opportunities for them to succeed,” added Marilyn Heckstall.

Since 2016, the RVA East End Festival has raised over $400,000 to support music, visual arts and performing arts programs at eight elementary, middle and high schools in the East End communities of the Richmond Public Schools system. The free family event will feature performances by local professionals including members of the Richmond Symphony, as well as some of RVA’s most talented youth musicians, dancers and visual artists.

Volunteers are being sought for the festival; learn more and sign up here.

Cheryl Burke, who serves on the School Board for Richmond Public Schools, noted that past proceeds from the festival have been used by the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation to acquire or repair musical instruments and to create a dance studio at Armstrong High School, as well as to purchase choral risers, concert attire and visual art supplies such as pottery kilns. “The festival’s financial goal for 2022 is $100,000 to be used for a variety of purchases to benefit music, performing arts and visual art programs at our wonderful East End schools,” she said.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.

Arts & Entertainment

VMFA announces Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 Recording Artists

The series spotlighting revered guitarists will kick off on October 12th on YouTube.

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced today that its Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 series, featuring recorded studio sessions by more than a dozen recognized guitarists, will launch online October 12, 2022. In conjunction with the museum’s highly anticipated exhibition Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art, a new recording will be released every other week through March 2023. Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 videos will be hosted on VMFA’s YouTube channel and linked on the museum’s website.

On view at VMFA from October 8, 2022, to March 19, 2023, Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art will explore the guitar as a visual subject, enduring symbol and storyteller’s companion. Strummed everywhere from parlors and front porches to protest rallies and rock arenas, the guitar also appears far and wide in American art. Its depictions enable artists and their human subjects to address topics that otherwise go untold or under-told.

“Inspired by the famous Bristol Sessions of 1927, which are regarded as the origins of commercial country music, Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 will be a unique extension of the museum’s exhibition,” said Dr. Leo G. Mazow, VMFA’s Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art and exhibition organizer. “With such multifaceted and expressive possibilities, a guitar is as meaningful to see and hear as it is fun to play.”

Taped in an impressive, fully functioning recording studio constructed within VMFA’s Storied Strings exhibition, Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 will feature an eclectic roster of musicians, some with Virginia ties, representing a variety of genres including folk, jazz, blues, country and rock, played on acoustic and electric guitars.

The first Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 recording, featuring folk musician Lucy Kaplansky, will drop on October 12. Musicians slated to appear in future sessions include Wilco guitarist Nels Cline; guitarist, singer and songwriter Cat Dail and guitarist Felicia Collins (Late Show with David Letterman); internationally renowned guitarist Tommy Emmanuel; blues and roots guitarist Corey Harris; jazz guitarist Joel Harrison and multi-genre guitarist Anthony Pirog; The Long Ryders’ Stephen McCarthy (who has also toured and recorded with The Jayhawks) and The Bitter Liberals’ Charles Arthur; Retrosphere’s Seamus McDaniel; folk and blues guitarist Elizabeth Wise; and acoustic guitarist Yasmin Williams.

The recording studio will be fitted with quality equipment loaned by Digital Video Group and Ear Trumpet Labs, and premium microphones and monitors loaned by Sennheiser and Neumann. In partnership with VMFA, the award-winning Richmond-based recording studios In Your Ear will produce Richmond Sessions ’22–’23.

“In Your Ear is proud to partner with VMFA on this innovative and thoughtful project, and we’re excited to work with such accomplished musicians in the recording studio,” said Paul Bruski, Chief Engineer/Sound Designer at In Your Ear Studios. “We look forward to sharing Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 with museum visitors and listeners near and far.”

Special guitars by Virginia makers on display in the recording studio include a “Virginia Guitar” crafted from wood gathered throughout the Commonwealth by Wayne Henderson and two guitars from Huss & Dalton and Rockbridge Guitar Company.

To learn more about the Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 roster of musicians and upcoming recording release dates, visit www.VMFA.museum.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Events

Flying Squirrels’ annual Squirrel-O-Ween event returns October 28th

The free Halloween celebration offers trick-or-treating and other family fun at The Diamond.

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The Richmond Flying Squirrels will host “Squirrel-O-Ween,” an annual Halloween celebration, at The Diamond on Friday, October 28th, the team announced on Friday.

The annual event will include free trick-or-treating along the concourse at The Diamond and will take place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Squirrel-O-Ween provides a safe and fun environment for children to trick-or-treat through the stadium. There will also be hayrides around the warning track of The Diamond’s playing surface.

Everyone is encouraged to come out dressed up for a chance to win prizes in a Halloween costume contest. The Flying Squirrels have also teamed up with Woofy Wellness Ranch for a dog Halloween costume contest with K9 prizes for the winners.

Nutzy and Nutasha will be on hand to take pictures with fans.

Free parking is available in the lots at The Diamond.

The Flying Squirrels open the 2023 season at The Diamond on Friday, April 6, 2023. To stay up to date with the Flying Squirrels during the non-baseball season, visit SquirrelsBaseball.com.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Arts & Entertainment

Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt Returns for a Spooky Good Time

Fall events are back on select nights beginning September 24th through October 30th.

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Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt makes its return beginning Saturday, September 24 and it’s bigger and scarier than ever, with six mazes, five scare zones and new live shows, along with hundreds of monsters roaming the midways.  During the nighttime event, guests can also get their adrenaline fix on more than 20 rides, including Twisted Timbers, IntimidatorTM 305 and Dominator, as fog and darkness blanket the park. The Great Pumpkin Fest also returns September 24 with family-friendly daytime Halloween fun in Planet Snoopy.

New Haunt highlights this year include:

FRESH BLOOD – NEW ATTRACTIONS

  • NEW MAZE: 21
    You find yourself deep in your greatest nightmare. There is no escape. Around each corner, new horrors await. The things that go bump in the night are here, and they are here FOR YOU!!
  • NEW SCARE ZONE: Site X
    The Jungle X-pedition team made discoveries that changed history. But rumors have emerged that while excavating this site, the crew unearthed something sinister, and the jungle began to transform them. Venture into Site X to discover the horrors of the jungle, but listen closely as a luring whistle or rhythmic drum could spell your impending doom.
  • NEW SHOW: The Queen’s Ball
    Join Queen Majesty as new Monsters from far and wide have come to pledge their allegiance to her ruinous reign. Watch dancers, musicians, and acrobats prove their loyalty through fierce performances. But they must be wary, if the queen does not enjoy their antics, they may meet a fiery end.
    NEW SHOW: Convergence
    There is nothing to do but watch our Ceremonial Drummers as they summon the spirit of El Tunchi. Passersby beware as this ancient jungle spirit does not like visitors and you could become the latest traveler to never leave Site X.


Great Pumpkin Fest
Kings Dominion’s daytime Halloween event, the Great Pumpkin Fest, puts the “WEE!” in Halloween with a full day’s worth of family-friendly fun, including a pumpkin patch, hay maze, ghostly games, costume party with the PEANUTSTM gang, favorite rides and so much more! The Great Pumpkin Fest is held Saturday and Sundays from September 24 through October 30 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Planet Snoopy will close at 6 p.m. as the park transforms for Halloween Haunt.

The Great Pumpkin Fest has fun for the whole family to enjoy together and as an added benefit, children three to five years of age are eligible for unlimited FREE admission to this event and the rest of 2022 when their parent or guardian registers online and activates their 2023 Pre-K Pass at the park.

Kings Dominion Halloween Haunt Admission

Single night tickets – Buy tickets at KingsDominon.com and get monster savings of up to $30 off the regular main gate price of $75. Applicable taxes and fees apply to online orders.

Halloween Haunt General Parking is $25 per vehicle and can be purchased online or at the parking booth upon arrival. Preferred Parking is available for $35. Applicable taxes and fees apply to online orders.

Scream more and wait less. Speed past the lines with a Fright & Fast Lane pass. Enjoy all the Fast Lane Plus attractions PLUS bypass the regular wait lines for six Haunt mazes, one time each. Fright and Fast Lane can be purchased online for as low as $70. To get unlimited visits and free parking to Kings Dominion for the rest of 2022 and all of 2023, including Halloween Haunt, guests can purchase a 2023 Gold Season Pass.

Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt has welcomed visitors for over 21 years and has become an institution in the Virginia theme park landscape. For the most up-to-date hours of operation, visit kingsdominion.com. The Great Pumpkin Fest and Halloween Haunt are both included with park admission. Due to the explicit and frightening nature of Halloween Haunt, the nighttime event is not recommended for children under 13.

To increase safety and provide efficient entry into the park during the Haunt event, guests will be asked to adhere to a new policy which states that no bags of any kind larger than 6.5” x 4.5” x 2” may be brought into the park after 6 p.m. on Haunt nights. All bags will be subject to search.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

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