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RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: River Creek vocalist
Barbara Gracewood will perform at the Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg on Aug. 27. Times-Mirror/Joe Motheral
Barbara Gracewood who has lived in the River Creek community for two years brings her vocal talent to recordings, radio and the stage. She describes her entry into her career when she sang casually and was overheard by her husband who queried, “Where have you been?”

She had been singing with friends at gatherings, but with that encouragement she launched a career as a vocalist. She now has produced two CDs, sings at private parties, public places in Vero Beach where she spends part of the winter.

“I sing on the local radio when I’m in Florida,” she said. She performed at the Hibiscus Festival on the main stage. Her local venue will be on Aug. 27 at the Tally Ho Theater in Leesburg.

She says that her vocal selections represent 1940s music of several kinds including country and western, blue grass and what she refers to as “high class.”

I voiced my complaint about modern day vocalists and the strain of trying to hear the words as the electronic musical instruments seem to drown out the lyrics. She said that is not the case with her. She stresses the importance of being able to “articulate” and she endeavors to bring out the message that’s in the song.

It’s “very important.” I listened to songs on her CD entitled ‘Coming up for Air’ and her mellow voice with lyrics came through clearly.

Her favorite vocalist she says is Allyson Krause who is a blue grass/country singer and one who sang at the 2004 Academy Awards. Dolly Parton is another of her favorites. She paused for a moment when I asked her favorite song.

“Ghost in the Home,” sung by Krause. Another one in the country genre is Hank Williams’ song, “I can’t help it if I’m Still in Love with You.”

Gracewood said she tries to sing at least 15 minutes a day. She gives the list of songs she plans to sing at any given concert a lot of thought.

“I first must think of the demographic that would be the majority. I choose the songs that would best fit the situation.”

She explains that an outdoor setting would require “a more up tempo song selection.” Different than an “intimate setting.”

Her audience is generally in the age group of 36 and up. “My priority is to give my audience more than they expect.”
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River Creek resident Steve Taylor recently visited Russia. Courtesy Photo
River Creek resident Steve Taylor recently had a trip of a lifetime. As a former official in the Internal Revenue Service, he now operates on a consulting basis. As such he was entrusted with an assignment in Moscow where he spent a week.

“I was asked to speak to an international group of tax administrators about the future of tax administration in the digital, e-world,” he said.

While there he had an opportunity to do some sightseeing. One of the highlights he said involved a tour of the Kremlin Royal Palace.

“What a magnificent place,” he said. The palace displayed its several hundred years of life with a “blend of medieval and modern architecture, rich with gold trim, marble, art, inlaid floors and massive rooms. The feel of the history that took place there was palpable.”

The palace, built between 1837 and 1849, originally was the home of the Tsar.

Taylor said this was his first trip to Russia. He stayed at the Metropol Hotel near the Bolshoi Theater and Red Square. He described Moscow as “a very international, modern and vibrant city, clean and friendly.” He particularly noted the subway stations replete with “artifacts, murals and entertainment.”

“Many of the stations were built before and during WWII and are extremely deep as places to escape the German bombings,” he said.

Taylor's impressions gave extensive weight to architecture: Red Square, the cathedrals, monasteries, shops and restaurants.

“It is definitely a walking city. Everywhere I went was on foot or subway,” he said. The Russian people, he said, “seemed upbeat and cheerful. They were very nice at stores, restaurants, hotels. Lots of young folks.”

Taylor heard that the government gives a stipend to families with more than one child as they are concerned about an aging population.

Frozen on the Village Green

On Friday, July 24, the Village Green at Lansdowne Town Center will be continuing its summer movie series with the animated feature film, “Frozen.” The program starts at 6:30 p.m. with games, face painting and a moon bounce. The movie will begin showing at sundown (forecast to be 8:30 p.m.). The movie “Frozen” has been praised by critics as the finest animated movie made by Disney. “Frozen” received two Academy Awards after its release in 2013. Theater goers have been encouraged to bring something to sit on, refreshments and proper attire to fit the weather conditions.
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RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Breakfast with Gary Sinise
Vivian Dietrich, president of the Mid Atlantic chapter of Operation Homefront, met actor Gary Sinise at a recent National Press Club Speakers’ Breakfast. From left to right, Gen. James Livingston, Gary Sinise and Dietrich. Times-Mirror/Joe Motheral
River Creek resident Vivian Dietrich had the privilege of attending a National Press Club Speakers’ Breakfast featuring actor Gary Sinise.

The president of the Press Club introduced Dietrich to the audience as the president of the Mid Atlantic chapter of Operation Homefront, an organization that extends emergency aid to military families. The Gary Sinise Foundation shares in the same mission. They had an opportunity to meet each other and recognize their mutual interests. Sinise came to Washington to receive the American Leadership Award from the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation.

“I was thrilled to meet Gary Sinise. His genuine support for veterans and military causes was evident in our brief encounter,” Dietrich said.

Sinise, who may be best remembered for his award winning portrayal of Lieutenant Dan in “Forest Gump,” explained that according to a recent survey 71 percent of Americans do not understand what combat veterans endure.

“We have been at war for the past 14 years. And the emotional trauma experienced by veterans is at epidemic proportions,” he said.

Sinise also starred for nine years in the TV series “CSI: NY” and as an aside to his passion for helping military families, he mentioned that he would be among the cast of the weekly TV show, “Criminal Minds.”

One of the specific functions of the foundation has been to help finance “specially adapted smart homes” for quadruple amputees as a result of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. Recently, his organization assisted in doing so for a home in Lovettsville and Purcellville.

As an additional privilege, Dietrich met retired Gen. James Livingston who had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his distinguished service in the Vietnam War.

Lansdowne Summer Concert

The group Medicated Sunfish will be swimming onto the stage at Lansdowne on the Potomac Club, Saturday, July 18. The outdoor amphitheater has been the venue for performances of all kinds and can claim to be a comfortable setting for audiences.

The concert will get underway at 7 p.m. and go on until 9 p.m. The seven-piece Medicated Sunfish specializes in rock, psychedelic, reggae and blues. They come out of Wilmington, N.C. and have played before audiences up and down the East Coast. The concert is open to residents of Lansdowne.

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