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Williamsburg celebrates the arts in September

David Nicholson

Each September, Williamsburg and York County celebrate the arts. The monthlong observance begins around Labor Day weekend and ends in early October with An Occasion for the Arts.

Here's a selected list of performing activities for you to consider attending:

•Sept. 3 and 5 — The Virginia Symphony performs free concerts at two waterfront locations: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 3 at Lake Matoaka Amphitheatre on the College of William and Mary's campus, and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 at Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown.

•Sept. 4 — Yorktown Celebrates Arts Month "Opening Night" fundraiser. 5:30 to 8 p.m. at The Freight Shed at Riverwalk Landing, 331 Water St. The Freight Shed will be transformed into a gallery featuring Wood Art plus music, food and beverages and a silent auction. Proceeds support visual and performing arts in the community. $35 in advance, $40 at the door. Tickets available in the Gallery at York Hall.

•Sept. 11, 18 and 25 — Rhythms on the Riverwalk concerts. This series features three Fridays of jazz and big band music on Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown. Bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating. Free. 757-890-3500.

•Sept. 13 — Second Sundays Festival of Art & Music. On the second Sunday of every month from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., stroll the streets of Colonial Williamsburg and take in arts, handcrafts and music. Activities include face painting and crafts projects for kids, folk and contemporary artwork, local authors with books appropriate for all ages, and performances.

•Sept. 14-15 — Williamsburg Symphonia. Music director Janna Hymes leads the orchestra in this first concert of the season, featuring works by Glinka, Dvorak and Brahms. 8 p.m. in the Kimball Theatre on Merchants Square. For tickets call 757-229-9857.

•Sept. 17 — "To Support and Defend" Constitution Day Concert. Celebrate the founding of the U.S. Constitution in music and spoken word presented by members of the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Band. The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums will perform independently and in concert with the band. 7 p.m. Merchants Square. Free.

•Sept. 17-Oct. 3 — Williamsburg Players presents the musical comedy "City of Angels." James-York Playhouse, 200 Hubbard Lane. 757-229-0431.

Sept. 18 — Tucker-Arnold Storytelling Concert. Featuring storytellers Carmen Deedy, Darci Tucker and Sarah Brady. 7 p.m. Kimball Theatre, Merchants Square. $15 adults, $12 seniors and children age 12 and under.

•Sept. 26-27 — Watermen's Museum Second Annual Folk Festival. Enjoy local and regional groups on three stages from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the museum, 309 Water St., Yorktown. Food and beverages available for purchase. Ticket required. 757-887-2641.

•Sept. 27 — Artspeaks Loud and Clear! Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center presents an art music fundraiser. Ford's Colony Swim and Tennis Club. Silent and live auctions, food and open wine and beverage bars, ending with a musical revue. $75. Information and reservations, contact Janis Wood at 757-220-2217 or by email at

•Sept. 30 — DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum's 30th Anniversary Celebration. 7 to 9 p.m. Galleries will be filled with strolling musicians and a re-cap of the past 30 years of exhibitions, programs, tours and events will be offered in the Hennage Auditorium. Collections include antique furniture, botanical prints, dollhouses, Chinese porcelain, silver tablewares, muskets, Southern textiles, paintings, quilts and musical instruments. Special-event ticket required, $15. (See related story in this issue).

•Oct. 3-4 — An Occasion for the Arts. Two-day outdoor visual and performing arts festival at Merchants Square and surrounding areas.

Opera in the Park

Virginia Opera's popular Opera in the Park returns Saturday, Sept.12 to Town Point Park on the downtown Norfolk riverfront.

The free outdoor event — park opens at 6 p.m. and concert starts at 7:30 p.m. — brings together young singers and the Virginia Symphony to perform an evening of opera and Broadway favorites. Conductor Adam Turner, the company's principal conductor and artistic adviser, also presents highlights from the four operas that make up the 2015-2016 season.

Tenor Javier Abreu will perform "Ah! mes amis," the aria from Donizetti's "The Daughter of the Regiment" that made Pavarotti famous. Baritone Troy Cook, a former Virginia Opera Emerging Artist now enjoying an international career, will sing an aria from Verdi's "Don Carlo" as well as a song from "Showboat." Meredith Lustig and Margaret Gawrysiak perform the well-known duet, "A boy like that/I have a love" from Bernstein's "West Side Story."

Orchestral selections include the Overture from Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman," the bubbly "Can-can" from Offenbach's "Orpheus In The Underworld" and the Overture from Rossini's "La Gazza Ladra."

Audience members should bring lawn chairs, picnic supplies and coolers with non-alcoholic beverages. Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the concert.

Virginia Opera will hold drawings for prizes, including tickets to opera performances and other local arts events and restaurant gift certificates.

Information about Virginia Opera's upcoming season is available by calling 866-673-7282 or online at

Stage Company campaign

Virginia Stage Company has announced the public portion of its fundraising campaign to renovate the Wells Theatre, its historic performing home in downtown Norfolk.

The theater company will kick off the drive at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9 at the theater located at Tazewell Street and Monticello Avenue.

Already, the company has raised more than $3.5 million of the $4 million needed through contributions from 130 donors.

Renovations will begin in late March 2016 and will include expanding the restrooms and adding casual seating areas, a new theater lobby lounge/bar, and a row of enlarged seats. There'll be upgrades to sound and lighting equipment and stage-rigging technology. The improvements will enable the theater to host more pre-Broadway shows, according to a stage company press release.

Earlier this month, the Stage Company announces its 37th season, which includes two new plays and two Tony Award winners. Here's the lineup:

"Peter and the Starcatcher," Sept. 22-Oct. 11 — A re-imagined story of Peter Pan.

•"All My Sons," Oct. 27-Nov. 5 — Arthur Miller's powerful drama about a family struggling to survive during World War II.

•"The Hampton Years," Jan. 19-Feb. 7, 2016 — A true story of a Jewish World War II refugee mentoring students from Hampton University. Part of the company's American Soil Series about new plays with local relevance to Hampton Roads.

•"Grounded," March 1-20, 2016 — A one-woman play about the shift in American warfare as drones take over the battlefield.

•"The Tempest, April 16-17, 2016 — The stage company will team with the Virginia Arts Festival and Virginia Symphony for this special two-day presentation of Shakespeare's final play set to the music of Sibelius.

The company's annual production of "A Christmas Carol" returns Dec. 9-24 as well.

Information on subscriptions ranging from $99-$220 and single tickets ranging from $19-$55 are available by calling 757-627-1234 or online at

Bruton Parish celebration

Bruton Parish Church, currently commemorating its 300th anniversary, will celebrate its ties with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation with An Evening of Food, Music and Discourse from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21.

The event will begin with a 5:30 p.m. dinner at the Bruton Parish House followed by two programs at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. It will conclude with an 8 p.m. organ recital by Rebecca Davy in the Wren Chapel on the College of William and Mary campus.

Tickets, if remaining, are $40, available by calling Davy at 757-645-3431

Nicholson can be reached by phone at 757-247-4794.

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