MACRoCk XIV is upon us!

The 14th annual Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference (MACRoCk) will be occurring in Harrisonburg, VA on April 1 & 2, 2011. This year, MACRoCk will be hosting over 90 bands including Bouncing Souls, Capsule, S. Carey, Screaming Females, Turbo Fruits, Algernon Cadwallader,  Timbre, Super Vacations, Invisible Hand, 1994!, Pulling Teeth, US Christmas, Cannabis Corpse, Inter Arma, Pianos Become the Teeth, The Extraordinaires, Snack Truck, Dangerous Ponies, Snowing, Woe, Withered, Brooke Waggoner, Antlers, Gifts From Enola, Ocoai, Eternal Summers, Gringo Star, Air Waves, Arches, Andrew Cedermark, Sacred Harp, Heavy Cream and Pujol. MACRoCk will also host a variety of panelists speaking on topics such as Local Food, Booking in The Music Industry & Screen Printing.

MACRoCk was first put on by the student volunteers at James Madison University’s student radio station, WXJM, in 1997. Today, MACRoCk is an independently owned and organized organization, and is the largest independent music conference on the East Coast. MACRoCk offers a unique opportunity for bands, industry professionals and fans to interact and connect to support the music they love. With all the shows taking place in independently run and operated downtown music venues, MACRoCk was founded on a belief that corporate sponsorship and big business were not part of what makes music great. Through grassroots organization and an all-volunteer staff, MACRoCk strives to promote independent music, thought, art, business, and culture. This is MACRoCk’s 14th year, and it is going to be better than ever before. For more information about the conference, bands and tickets, please visit the MACRoCk website at

The David Mayfield Parade at Clementine

David Mayfield is the “other” voice and lead guitarist, as well as a contributing songwriter for folk rock favorites Cadillac Sky, whose last album “Letters In The Deep” was produced by Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) but his role as a member of the Texas by way of Nashville quintet is just one of the many musical paths this Grammy-nominated artist has journeyed.

Growing up in Kent, Ohio, David was surrounded by Bluegrass music. At the age of twelve he was playing bass for the family band, traveling from festival to festival, along with his younger sister, noted songstress, Jessica Lea Mayfield, singing and absorbing the stories and lessons taught by road hard veterans, all the while picking up tips on how to play a lick on guitar or mandolin. By the time he was a teenager, Mayfield had won several national awards for his guitar and mandolin playing and his reputation was being forged in the world of Bluegrass as a player to watch out for.

In 2008 when Jessica Lea Mayfield was ready to make her debut record, Blasphemy So Heartfelt, she asked David to play bass on it. He did. And over the next year he would tour as her bassist, and as a newly minted member of Cadillac Sky all while writing and performing his own songs.

On the road with Jessica Lea Mayfield and the Avett Brothers, Scott and Seth took notice of Mayfield’s musicianship and the three quickly developed a friendship, leading them to invite David to sit in with them dozens of times including their 2010 Bonnaroo & Merlefest sets. After urging him more and more to make a record of his own, when he took to the studio the Avett’s were quick to lend their voices.

David Mayfield Parade is the culmination of that encouragement. The album reflects the numerous influences that come from a lifetime of being immersed in American music and channeling its unique forms with sincerity and celebration from the howl of early rock-n-roll, to the low lonesome twang of folk and country with a voice that is all at once heartbreaking and inherently hopeful.

The show at Clementine will start at 9:30PM.
It is $8 in advance and $10 at the door.
Joshua Vana will be opening the show!
This will be an all ages event.

The Kopecky Family Band at Clementine!

The Kopecky Family Band will be returning to Clementine for their second performance tomorrow night (12.11.10). This Nashville, TN based group is composed of all classically trained musicians, specializing in an Orchestrated Folk Rock. They have been creating a lot of buzz throughout the nation with each one of their diverse and unpredictable live shows. Recently, they have showcased NYC’s College Music Journal in October as well as playing Nashville’s Next Big Nashville Festival, receiving critical acclaim with each of their performance’s around the nation. This 7-piece band is sure to deliver an amazing high-energy performance that is sure to leave you in awe! David Bayard Richard will be opening the show with his own Orchestrations range from a Southern Garage Pop to a more diverse and intricate Orchestral Folk. This show will start at 9:30PM and there is a $5 ticket price! Hope you will make it out for this special show! More information here!

New Book Revisits ‘Martyr’s Mirror’ Stories

Press Release HARRISONBURG – An Eastern Mennonite University professor has assembled a collection of poems, essays and fiction by noted and new authors responding to a classic book of martyrs who died for their faith over the centuries.

The anthology, “Tongue Screws and Testimonies,” will be released at a reception for the book’s editor, Kirsten E. Beachy, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 in Martin Chapel of the seminary building at EMU. Continue reading “New Book Revisits ‘Martyr’s Mirror’ Stories” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

Celebrating Dr. Joanne Gabbin, Celebrating Lucille Clifton


Flickr image shared by permission of Joanne Gabbin

Joanne Gabbin read at Lucille Clifton's Celebration

When I first met Dr. Joanne Gabbin late in 2004, it was clear she heard a different drummer. Here was a woman who dreamed big, kept her feet on the ground, and made things happen in Harrisonburg. She is owner of Franklin Street Gallery, English professor at JMU, and the visionary behind Furious Flower Poetry Center at JMU.

In June 2009, Furious Flower sponsored a seminar with African American poet Lucille Clifton. Eight months later, February 2010, Clifton unexpectedly died. On Sept 21 2010, Furious Flower brought 73 poets and poetry fans together to celebrate the life Lucille Clifton, and the free event was attended over 1,000 people from all over the state and country.   Continue reading “Celebrating Dr. Joanne Gabbin, Celebrating Lucille Clifton” »

This post was submitted by Diana Woodall.

Upd8: The Super Gr8 Film Festival

The Super Gr8 Film Festival to take place November 16th at 7:30 at The Court Square Theater in Downtown Harrisonburg.

The Super Gr8 Film Festival is coming together one splice at a time.  After talking with all of the filmmakers who are making the 20 films that will be presented, I can tell you it will be an intriguing show of local talent.  Nearly half of the filmmakers are visual artists who have exhibited and sold their artwork.  Others are professional photographers or play directors or SMAD students or video editors, the list goes on. The experience of all the filmmakers will enhance their filmmaking ambitions and abilities in different ways, making each film a unique exploration of form.

After the meeting with the filmmakers in September, where they were given a crash course in Super 8 filmmaking, Continue reading “Upd8: The Super Gr8 Film Festival” »

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.

Host Families Needed for Up With People Cast Members

Up With People, a traveling multicultural arts and music performing group, is planning a series of performances in Harrisonburg – and the cast members need local host families willing to provide a place to sleep, limited transportation, and a meal a day. More information is in the following press release: Continue reading “Host Families Needed for Up With People Cast Members” »

Up With People Coming to Harrisonburg to Benefit the Childrens Museum

Up With People released a press release stating it will bring its cultural show to Harrisonburg for a series of performances scheduled October 25-November 6.  The performances will benefit the Harrisonburg Childrens Museum.

Press Release:  When the multinational cast of Up with People takes the stage at Eastern Mennonite High School in Harrisonburg on Thursday, October 28 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, October 31 at 4 p.m. audience members will find something for virtually every musical taste and interest. [A special show is scheduled at the new Forbes Center – more information soon]

Long before American Idol began discovering and refining new talent or High School Musical tapped into the exuberance of young ensemble casts, Up with People pioneered these attributes while touring the world with their optimistic message of global cooperation and goodwill. Continue reading “Up With People Coming to Harrisonburg to Benefit the Childrens Museum” »

Skatan Worshipers #2

Skateboarding on Court Square

Skatan Worshipers is an annual art show that takes place at The Artful Dodger every October right here in Harrisonburg. The main focus of this show is to showcase the aesthetic achievements of skateboard culture. Maybe you caught the exhibit and/or opening last year, maybe you just saw a bunch of people skateboarding downtown on Oct. 2nd and wondered why, well this is why. Continue reading “Skatan Worshipers #2” »

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.

Sept 18: EMU Quintet to Spread Harmony Through Music

Press Release HARRISONBURG – Eastern Mennonite University’s faculty artist series will present an evening of chamber music by “Musica Harmonia,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, in Martin Chapel of the seminary building at EMU. Continue reading “Sept 18: EMU Quintet to Spread Harmony Through Music” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

Super Gr8 Film Festival in Harrisonburg

The Super Gr8 Film Festival is scheduled for November 16th at The Court Square Theater at 7:30 pm, with an awards ceremony and VIP After Party to follow at The Artful Dodger. The screening will feature films made by local filmmakers on the magical old Super 8 format. Each film will be three and a half minutes long and in black and white. The screening will last for approximately two hours. There will be a small suggested donation for entry, but no one will be turned away as we are mostly looking to fill all 260 seats of the theater. You may be wondering why Super 8 right about now so I will try to explain mine and other’s analogic love for the format. Continue reading “Super Gr8 Film Festival in Harrisonburg” »

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.

Children’s Choir Invites Auditions for 2010-11 Season

HARRISONBURG – The acclaimed Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir (SVCC), part of the music department at Eastern Mennonite University, will hold newcomer auditions for the 2010-11 year 3:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26. from 3:30-5:30.

All interested children grades 3-7, regardless of their singing experience, are welcome to audition. A short, 5-minute meeting and game time is all that is required, and no prepared solo is needed. Children should be ready to sing some familiar songs such as “Happy Birthday,” “Row Your Boat” and an echo game. A parent should be present for the audition, and an appointment is required.

“Most children are surprised to find that the audition isn’t worrisome, stressful, or upsetting,” said Julia J. White, SVCC director. “It is helpful, but not required, to have attended a rehearsal or performance, and to have a teacher recommendation.”

To schedule an appointment, contact Yvette Peak, SVCC choir manager, at 540-432-4650 and visit the website at for detailed information about the program. Continue reading “Children’s Choir Invites Auditions for 2010-11 Season” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

John Bell’s New Art Show: August 6 at the Artful Dodger

Long time artist and Valley resident, John Bell has an upcoming show of artwork at The Artful Dodger in Downtown Harrisonburg. Bell, who has had a large impact on The Valley’s art scene as an artist as well as a teacher of other artists, will be exhibiting a wide array of works on canvas.

Turning Point by John Bell

After earning a BFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from JMU, John Bell began teaching Art at Blue Ridge Community College in 1990 and has been there ever since.

Back in 2001, I was a student at Blue Ridge and when deciding my electives, chose John Bell’s Art History course. It was quite an introduction to the history of human creativity since the Renaissance. I found his lectures to be inspiring and incredibly knowledgeable. Most of my knowledge of Art History I attribute to Mr. Bell, but more importantly, my interest in the arts that continues to this day is largely of his doing. Continue reading “John Bell’s New Art Show: August 6 at the Artful Dodger” »

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.

Local Comedy Improv Group to Hold Auditions

No Strings Attached is an Improv Comedy group in Harrisonburg.

No Strings Attached (NSA), a local comedy improv group, will be holding auditions, starting Thursday, July 15. The audition-workshops, termed “auditionshops,” will occur mostly on Thursday over a five-week period, on July 15, 22, 29, August 5, and Tuesday, August 11. The group is looking for outgoing, confident adults (18 and high school graduates) who aren’t afraid to get up on stage and have a good time. Prior improvisational theater experience (although handy) is not required, and improvisational musicians are also welcome. More information can be found at their website,, by e-mailing, or calling (773) 875-7645.

This post was submitted by Rachel Jenner.

Go Skateboarding Culture!

Harrisonburg skateboarders recently celebrated Go Skateboarding Day - and "it was awesome".

Go Skateboarding Day is a national holiday, but unless you ride a skateboard on at least some of the other 364 days of the year, chances are you didn’t know that. Maybe, despite all the fliers posted around downtown, you didn’t know we celebrated it here in Harrisonburg. Well we did celebrate it at The Artful Dodger, and it was awesome.

The day began with the first day of Skate Camp at Westover Skate Park. From 9am til noon the owners of Wonder Skate Shop graciously volunteered their time to teach kids from 6-14 years old how to skate. Then, from 1pm until 5pm, Wonder Skate hosted a cookout in front of their store. They fed a ton of hungry skaters, parents and people just interested in the event. Continue reading “Go Skateboarding Culture!” »

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.

OCP Lawn Jam Underway

Our Community Place, a downtown nonprofit focused on supporting hungry and homeless people by providing basic needs and community, hosted its 7th annual Lawn Jam today. Complete with food, a live auction, volleyball tournament, balloon toss, and a yard sale, all proceeds support the nonprofit.

A highlight of the event was the “Slowest Bike Race”, featuring a dozen riders trying to be the last to complete a 10 yard distance. Video below:

[kaltura-widget uiconfid=”534″ entryid=”0_htrmnc0v” width=”400″ height=”330″ addpermission=”” editpermission=”” align=”center” /]

Continue reading “OCP Lawn Jam Underway” »

Denise Kanter’s Talent and Vision

Denise Kanter is a local artist and graduate from JMU; her medium is oil and her show is up at The Artful Dodger. To say it is a fine display of talent and vision only leaves me wanting to say more, but I do so with trepidation. I’ll try and explain.

Denise’s stylized oil paintings depict people or beautifully abstracted realities, and sometimes they depict both on the same canvas. Many of her figure paintings in fact seem to be emerging out of some abstract world or emotion. Stirring our curiosity with such subject matter, she further draws us in by the precise execution of her own unique style. Continue reading “Denise Kanter’s Talent and Vision” »

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.

Brandy Somers’ Cut Paper Art

One of the great things about Harrisonburg is the uncommon proliferation of high quality local art work that is easy for people from all walks of life to not only appreciate, but engage with. Local art seems to have been a staple and common place thing in Harrisonburg for some time now. With the First Fridays Downtown going strong for several years now, Harrisonburg’s, and the Valley’s natural beauty is matched by the creations of Harrisonburg’s local artists.

Brandy Somers Artwork at Yellow Button in downtown Harrisonburg

One especially extraordinary show of local art and talent is Brandy Somers’ art show on display at The Yellow Button (at the corner of Bruce and Main St.). Somers’ cut paper creations are colorful displays of common insects such as flies, ladybugs, praying mantises and even a couple spiders, which are technically arachnids.

Somers, an area high school art teacher, said the following about why she chooses this peculiar medium, “I like the challenge of making something look real with only paper. Since I’m an organized person, I like that it’s broken down into several tedious steps. I like that I can do it at home when the kids are sleeping because it allows me to do something I love while still being a good mommy. I love the clean, almost print-like quality it has.”

While her approach is mostly representational, she substitutes the uninspiring colors of the bugs she depicts with wonderfully bright, engaging colors that pop. Some of her bugs are also divided up into panels; the praying mantis is split across three equal sized panels for example. There is a dynamism created by the aesthetic color choices and division of space in her pieces that makes these ordinary insects very unique and interesting.

Brandy Somers' Artwork at Yellow Button

Art does not always have to be something that alienates people or has an unapproachable feel. As Somers’ show at The Yellow Button illustrates it can be quite the opposite: inclusive, inspiring, fun and engaging. Art also need not be unaffordable, and fortunately for Harrisonburg, and especially patrons of The Yellow Button, Somers’ beautiful bugs are actually surprisingly cheap. Original art can range a great deal in price, but rest assured if you fall in love with one of her bugs, it will likely cost under a hundred dollars to take it home.

So if you have not seen this show of bugs yet, you should take a stroll through Downtown Harrisonburg and stop in The Yellow Button before the end of May. You may also be interested in knowing Somers has upcoming shows of more cut paper creations, not bugs but animals, at The Turtles Back in June and Clementine Café in August.

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.