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.

Enough is a Feast – 7 Things To Do Instead of Shop

What a bizarre world we live in that some people got up at 4 am on November 26—not to meditate, not to practice yoga, not to write in their dream journal—but to get in line to shop for “Black Friday.”

I decided nearly 40 years ago to abandon the custom of gift giving at Christmas. I used to make a practice of staying away from stores like Walmart from Thanksgiving to well past Christmas. When I became seriously interested in yoga, about 25 years ago, I learned that part of the practice includes observing ethical precepts, and one of those is aparigraha, or non-grasping, non-hoarding, essentially non-greed.

Of course, other spiritual traditions also emphasize the value of simple living, and value spiritual practices and traditions over possessions. In the Christian faith, Continue reading “Enough is a Feast – 7 Things To Do Instead of Shop” »

This post was submitted by Diana Woodall.

November 22, 1963

Airman 3rd Class Rood

In the summer of 1963, I was looking forward to beginning college but being one of ten children in a blue-collar family, and being unable to find a job since high school graduation, it seemed unlikely that would happen. My scholarship would cover only tuition, which left books, room and board. I had received no information or advice about student aid and felt hopeless about my future. Home life was becoming increasingly more difficult so when Sgt. George Sterling, US Air Force recruiter, came to the house, I was ripe for the picking. Before I realized what was happening, I was stepping off a plane in San Antonio, headed for basic training at Lackland A.F.B. in Texas. Continue reading “November 22, 1963” »

EMU A Door To Better Things For Two German Alumni

Carl Wesselhoeft, EMU class of 1955

HARRISONBURG, Va. – Both of them were born in eastern Germany, both fled their homes in the aftermath of the second World War, and both – through a series of coincidences – arrived in North America as laborers on Mennonite farms before attending Eastern Mennonite College (now University) in the 1950s.

The second weekend in October, 2010, Carl Wesselhoeft, EMU class of 1955, and Werner Will, class of 1960, returned to Virginia to celebrate their 55th and 50th class reunions during homecoming at Eastern Mennonite University. Though they only lived briefly in Harrisonburg, both men said they gained much-needed opportunity and purpose at EMU. Continue reading “EMU A Door To Better Things For Two German Alumni” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

Still ‘Speedy’ After All These Years

Phil Helmuth, executive director of development at EMU, accepts the keys and title to Margaret Martin Gehman's 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. Photo by Jim Bishop

HARRISONBURG – At age 88, Margaret Martin Gehman of Harrisonburg has lost a little of her trademark drive, largely because she has parted company with a faithful friend.

Dr. Gehman and her trusty, albeit a bit rusty, mechanical steed, a blue 1967 Volkswagen Beetle, are almost synonymous to many observers. For years she motored the streets of the greater Harrisonburg area even though she preferred walking to as many destinations as possible. She has been a resident of Continue reading “Still ‘Speedy’ After All These Years” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

The Making of a 91-yr-old Activist

Maxine Keier, Photo by Diana Woodall

“I’m 91 years old and these are the scariest times of my life.” This statement made by Maxene Kleier of Bridgewater piqued my curiosity, so recently I arranged to interview her at her home. Why do some of us identify as activists, or progressives, and some don’t?

DW: You say you’ve been an activist since you were born?

MK: My parents both believed we all have an obligation to other people. My mother volunteered until she was in her late 70’s–for Meals on Wheels, for example. I was raised in that tradition. I think some of the problems of today are related to the fact that real caring for one another is not exactly held as a desirable value, as it could be. I’ve never seen such disregard for ethics as I see now.

We are living in a secular system, and any attempt to change it into a theocracy is very scary, and we do have that going on now. Continue reading “The Making of a 91-yr-old Activist” »

This post was submitted by Diana Woodall.

Then and Now: Dining Out

During my early years in the 1930’s and 1940’s, “Dining out” meant going to a friend’s house for supper or grandmother’s house for dinner after church on Sunday. While I’m certain there were one or two restaurants in Front Royal, meals in such were unknown to me although I do remember a place on Route 11 mid-way to Roanoke where we occasionally stopped to get “a foot-long hotdog” to be eaten in the car on the long drive to visit our grandparents and family. Continue reading “Then and Now: Dining Out” »

Then & Now: 1872 Rockingham Crime Reporting

Any visitor from another world checking the TV Guide might wonder at Americans apparent fascination with crime and the criminal mind. In one week’s listing TV watchers have an offering of good guys and girls vs. the bad on endless different one-hour shows. Among them are 48 Hours, NCIS, Law & Order, CSI: NY, Criminal Minds, The Evidence, The First 48, Without a Trace, Conviction, and Cold Case Files: Special Victims Unit—which runs four entirely different shows on Saturday nights.

But this is no new fascination. Continue reading “Then & Now: 1872 Rockingham Crime Reporting” »

This All Might Be A Little Too Much

Part III in a series about the South Africa 2010 World Cup and the meaning of life in Harrisonburg, Virginia (Part I and Part II).

Here I am, alone, in the cool, comfortable dim of a booth in the Harrisonburg edition of Buffalo Wild Wings, basking in the electric glow of, like, 20 televisions. It is just after 10 a.m., early for a Saturday trip to my friendly local sports bar, and I am the only patron in the restaurant section. The staff are engaged in a relaxed and practiced weekend morning routine: cutting lemons, wrapping napkins around cutlery, updating the markerboards, Windexing glass surfaces.

On the biggest of the big screens, centered along the south wall, Uruguay and South Korea are playing the first game of the 2010 World Cup’s knockout stages. The vuvuzela cacophony, beamed across the world through the digital ether, blares through the house sound system. Continue reading “This All Might Be A Little Too Much” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

Vengeance Is Mine, Hopeth The Pilk

Part II in a series by local writer Andrew Jenner about the South Africa 2010 World Cup and the meaning of life in Harrisonburg, Virginia (read Part I).

John Pilk says the Dutch are due.

For 36 years, John Pilk has been waiting on revenge.

Ever since that July day in 1974, when Pilk watched his beloved Dutch soccer team, the Oranje, lose 2-1 to West Germany in the World Cup final, Pilk has been hoping for another chance.

After the game ended, Pilk stepped out on his porch in The Hague and wept. He sounds as if he might weep again, telling the story, because Pilk is madly Continue reading “Vengeance Is Mine, Hopeth The Pilk” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

Give Me a Little K.I.S.S. Will Ya, Huh?

Keep It Simple, Stupid! (KISS)

I cannot recount the number of times I have been subjected to the over-used acronym-adage – K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). I first heard it in the military, then college lectures and most recently, while attending professional seminars and workshops. The more I am exposed to this morsel of unsolicited advice, the more I realize that it does not, at least not in any practical way, pertain to the human race.

First, human beings are complex organisms driven by complicated mental and Continue reading “Give Me a Little K.I.S.S. Will Ya, Huh?” »

This post was submitted by David Rood.

Alternative Health: Home Birth

Many women want choices for safe and affordable healthcare during pregnancy, and yet the options seem to be decreasing as the rate of birth by Caesarean section increases across the United States. Here in the Valley, Stonewall Jackson Hospital in Lexington, and also Bedford Memorial Hospital, will close their birthing centers. Yet, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report a rise in the number of home births, with a 5% increase between 2005 and 2006. Women who want to give birth at home are turning to midwives for assistance. In the Shenandoah Valley, some are turning to Misty Ward, a certified professional midwife.

Ward is the director of the Harrisonburg chapter of Birth Matters, a supportive community for women who want to give birth at home. She is also the founder and Continue reading “Alternative Health: Home Birth” »

This post was submitted by Tracey Brown.

USA v England: Remembrance Of So Many Things Past

Part I in a series about the South Africa 2010 World Cup and the meaning of life in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

By Andrew Jenner

The older I get, the more time I seem to spend remembering – the World Cup no exception. I was seven when Roger Milla led Cameroon to the quarterfinals of the 1990 tournament in Italy. My family lived in Africa then, when Milla captivated the continent. The neighborhood kids and I spent most of the summer imitating the corner-flag hip-shake jig he danced after he scored the decisive goal against Colombia in the second round.

In ’94, I followed the US team with the religious devotion of a sixth-grader who fully expected to Continue reading “USA v England: Remembrance Of So Many Things Past” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

Coop Reaches Goal! Celebration on Friday



May 19, 2010

HARRISONBURG, VA – The Friendly City Food Cooperative announced that it has reached a major milestone in its effort to open a community-owned grocery store in downtown Harrisonburg. On Tuesday, May 17, members of the food co-op passed their goal to raise $600,000 by May 20. This significant accomplishment keeps the co-op on track to begin design and build out of the store.

Owners and supporters of the food co-op invite everyone to celebrate with them this Friday, May 21, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Blue Nile. The final amount raised by the loan campaign will be announced at 8:30 p.m.

The loan campaign had raised only $370,000 when the co-op signed a lease for the building last month. The lease carried a contingency that required the co-op to raise sufficient capital by May 20 to move ahead. With the successful completion of the member-loan campaign, the food co-op now plans to move ahead with final store design and renovations. In addition, candidates for general manager are already being interviewed.

Over the last year, more than 160 member-households loaned the co-op startup money to open and operate the store. The average loan amount was $3,750. As of Tuesday, the food co-op has sold 960 membership shares. “This is a great indicator of our potential for success,” said Ben Sandel, president of the food co-op’s board of directors. “Getting this far shows the community really wants the co-op to come into existence.”

While the Friendly City Food Co-op met its $600,000 loan-campaign goal on Tuesday, additional loans continue to come in from members. “More loans are needed to offset future cash needs,” said Sam Nickels, chair of the member-loan campaign. “The more we raise now, the stronger position we’ll be in as the store builds a foothold in the community.”
The entire community is invited to the Loan Campaign Celebration to share in the excitement, enjoy live music, food, and celebrate the four years of planning, the countless volunteer hours and the many generous loans that made this announcement possible.


Alternative Health: One Mother Balances Through Belly Dance

Healing is the tendency of any system to return to equilibrium when equilibrium is disturbed. — Andrew Weil

In 2005, Rose Shenk was a happy, fulfilled stay-at-home mother of four boys living in Charlottesville. But her equilibrium was about to be disturbed. That spring, her husband was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Soon after, he was killed in a head-on car collision. Her father, whom she also relied on, died a week later from injuries sustained after being hit by a truck in Kenya. Shenk attended two funerals in two consecutive weekends: One for her husband and the next for her father.

“It was so painful,” she said. “I had to do what was best for my sons. I had to remain grounded.”

Shenk began to heal her grief using the traditional methods of journaling and talking to a therapist. But she needed another method. “I became super self aware of the extraordinary circumstances that were happening to me. I needed to get out of my head and find a physical outlet.”

While in a Charlottesville pizzeria, Shenk found a flyer for a belly dancing class held on Monday nights when the children were visiting with their paternal family. She was afraid to attend and considered not going. “When I went, I found that it was lots of single moms and women in their 40’s and 50’s. I wasn’t the the only widow,” she said. “I was stepping out of what I was comfortable with and realized that I can do it. It was feminine, beautiful, strengthening — and you didn’t need a partner.”

“My first teacher taught belly dance from a New Age, mystical point of view, stressing the sacred energy of the feminine. It was foreign to me but it stretched me,” she said. “Emotions, the body and sexuality are all part of the dance and those are part of a whole and balanced person. It didn’t fully connect with my Christian faith, but I could understand the attempt to balance yourself. Also, at this time, I did not have a sexual partnership. Belly dance was a sensual experience that was not damaging for me or anyone else.”

Shenk said that the basic belly dance stance is a lot like the martial art “horse stance”: feet apart, knees bent. “There is a lot of balance in that position. You are flexible. To be flexible and balanced allows you to do a lot in life that you did not know you were capable of. I am surprised at my own resilience.”

Shenk has been studying belly dancing for four years and teaching for a year and a half. “It took me about three years to get back my equilibrium,” she said.

Author Tracey Brown is a Harrisonburg resident and a Massage Therapist at the Beauty Spa, Harrisonburg, VA.

“There is a student in my class experiencing the slow death of her husband from cancer. We performed a dance at church on Good Friday. We used the imagery of healing in the dance. This was expressed through candles that showed light in darkness. We also used veils in the dance to express the things within death that are hidden from us. For me it was a prayer and an expression of sisterhood and community.”

Shenk now lives in Harrisonburg, and recently re-married. “It’s amazing how much we can bear,” she says of her experience. “You can get hit so hard like I was that summer. And you can still be okay, happy, survive–and sometimes even help carry other people.”

Shenk will be teaching a five-week fitness belly dance class at EMU beginning Tuesday, May 11. For more information contact the Fitness Center at (540) 432-4341, or email

This post was submitted by Tracey Brown.

All In: Friendly City Food Coop Seeks Last Loans to Open

It sounded ambitious (to an optimist), or crazy (to a lot of others): after four years of planning, fundraising and outreach, the Friendly City Food Coop committed itself to collecting more than $200,000 in member loans and adding a few hundred more member-owners, all within a month.

The coop – a member-owned grocery store that will carry local, natural, organic and fair trade goods – took its biggest step toward reality in mid-April by signing a lease for the old Mick-or-Mack building on East Wolfe Street, between Dollar General and the Post Office.

That lease, however, carried a significant contingency. It required the coop to Continue reading “All In: Friendly City Food Coop Seeks Last Loans to Open” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

US Healthcare: A little gratefulness would be nice.

Visit any US hospital doctor’s or surgeon’s lounge and you’ll hear the low, continuous rumble of complaints. Reimbursements are down, Medicare is cutting back, Obamacare is going to be the end of us, patients are waiting longer, Malpractice costs are skyrocketing. As a surgeon who has divided his time between Africa and America, I’ll be honest with you: it’s easy to lose patience with all the complaints.

We’ve forgotten how good we have it. Yes there are problems. Yes, some reform is needed (why don’t we start with tort reform..but don’t get me started, as I’ll soon sound like the ones I’m trying to encourage here). But we have the best system in the world. I’ve been in so many hospitals in East Africa and I can tell you: your worst nightmare would be waking up to find out you are in a Kenyan District hospital.
In the US, I use a “disposable” clip applier during laparoscopic surgery. It likely cost the patient one hundred and fifty dollars. In Kenya, I’d use the same “disposable” instrument a dozen times. (And guess what, it worked!). Overall, because there is no money, we were forced to make do. Patients endure “wards” with dozens of cots lining the walls. There is one sink at the end of the room, a pharmacy with the basics, and a housekeeping service that can’t seem to keep up….so I just learned to overlook the trash.

In Kenya, we didn’t have a CT scanner or MRI scanner at my hospital. We had an ultrasound, but no radiologist. We didn’t have many subspecialists. The medicine was provided by a generalist and if you come in with a head injury, you’ll get me (a general surgeon) instead of a neurosurgeon to drain the blood pressing on your brain.

But in Kenya, if you listen to the buzz around the doctors, there is a funny absence: no complaints. They’ve never known anything better and they’ve learned to make do.
I’m not saying there aren’t room for improvements. I’m just saying that mixed in with all of our negative comments, we should whisper a “thank you,” for the best health system in the world.

Harry Kraus, MD, FACS
Best-selling author of “The Six-Liter Club”

This post was submitted by Harry Kraus, MD.