Category Archives: Happenings

Ladies Night Out!

On April 10th, 2014, join the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) for Ladies Night Out at Phase 2 in Lynchburg. This is the perfect opportunity to get out with your girlfriends and get great deals on shoes, handbags, and more! Plus indulge in facials, massages, and manicures from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. All proceeds benefit abused and neglected children in your community. Many in Lynchburg remember this event as the Heart and Sole Shoe Market, or the “CASA Shoe Sale.” With changes in the shoe industry that occurred several years ago, we were no longer able to get thousands of donated shoes for the fundraiser. Since we could not afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on shoes to resell to the public, our board was forced to make a decision. We either had to cancel the event or restructure it.

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With over a decade of success, we opted to restructure to a Ladies Night Out format. Last year was the first year of the new format and it was successful! We are hoping to build on that year after year as these funds are critical to our mission. With your $40 ticket (or cheaper if you get one of our girlfriend bundle packages), you will receive admission, a chance to win a door prize, one adult beverage ticket, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and optional beverage choices.

Admission includes the opportunity to shop in our Heart and Sole Boutique which will include, yes…you guessed it: SHOES, handbags, fragrances, and more at discounted prices. There will also be music, a photo booth, massages, manicures, and more! Plus 15 vendors will be on hand to showcase their products and services.

Get your girlfriends together and come out to support a wonderful cause! Follow this link to purchase your tickets, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Opera Roanoke Presents Handel’s Julius Caesar

March is Women’s History Month—a time when we celebrate the accomplishments of amazing women who have inspired us to do great things.  Locally, you will be able to see talented women come together at Opera Roanoke for a fantastic performance of Handel’s Julius Caesar.  Amy Cofield Williamson, Teresa Buchholz, Carla Dirlikov, and Toby Newman will be joined by a female cast to tell the story of Caesar’s campaign in Egypt.  It features dramatic scenes for each of the principal characters performed by artists who are not only gifted, but also passionate about our community.

Buchholz will play the role of Julius Caesar—something that many men would likely find challenging.  “There is really no room for anything remotely feminine in his character,” she explains. “That has to be conveyed both physically and through my singing.”  It is a challenge that she looks forward to undertaking, but she realizes her masculine portrayal will require strength and creativity.  “Acting comes from within.  It’s not something you should layer on externally.  It comes out of the music,” she says, “[Great] singers act with their voices, not just their bodies.”

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Teresa Buchholz

Much like her colleagues, she is dedicated to giving her best to this production.  Their admiration for Handel and each other, as artists, will likely be evident in their performance.  For some of them it will be the first time they have crossed paths.  Others have been with Opera Roanoke for many years.  Regardless, they have spent months preparing for their roles and learning about their characters.  They do not make light of their responsibility to tell a story to the audience.

Newman also believes that her voice will be one of her strongest assets.  She describes it as a viable connection to those watching, and adds, “You have to sing and convey emotions that [they] can feel.  Your voice is an actor.”  The production will give the cast ample opportunity to make those connections.

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Toby Newman

Playing the role of Cleopatra, Williamson is excited to share Handel’s work with the Roanoke audience because she feels as though she has already connected with her character.  “I have so enjoyed preparing for this role,” she says, “mostly because of the beautiful music [he] wrote.  Of course, who wouldn’t love having the opportunity to perform the role of Cleopatra?  I can’t wait for Opera Roanoke to bring this beautiful music and history to life!”  Her respect for the production is contagious, and every cast member is committed to making the experience both enjoyable and educational.

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Amy Cofield Williamson

Phenomenal talent and passion for the stage is not all that makes these women unique.  Each one took a different path that led them to Opera Roanoke, and all of them display inspiring strength.  They stress the importance of having a mentor that brings out the best in you.  Many of them found mentors when they were very young, and almost all of them were inspired by strong women.  Dirlikov’s was her teacher and a famous African American opera singer, Shirley Verrett.  “She insisted that I strive for excellence,” she recalls. “She faced so much adversity in her career and never gave up.  I was fortunate to have her guidance.”

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Carla Dirlikov

We, as a community and an audience, will be the fortunate ones to see these ladies in action on stage.  Bella encourages everyone to celebrate Women’s History month by supporting the women you know who are doing great things in our community. Don’t forget to visit the Jefferson Center on March 21st or March 23rd to support this talented cast in their performance of Handel’s Julius Caesar.  For more information, go to Opera Roanoke’s website, www.operaroanoke.org.

For the Love of Books

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Starting a book club in Blacksburg can be a little intimidating.  Of course, so can relocating to Virginia from Charlotte with your spouse and six children.  Mims Driscoll is no stranger to hauling herself out of her comfort zone.  Although the environment is new to the Driscoll family, they have learned to follow her lead by finding their inner resolve and challenging themselves to live in the moment.  The Driscolls have faced individual personal struggles, sending their oldest sibling off to college, and even illness.  Yet they have discovered that the best way to overcome any obstacle is to take matters into their own hands and fight for their own happiness.Driscolls2

Facing these challenges has also required open communication within their family.  It sounds simple, but sometimes speaking openly with those we love can be a struggle—especially when you know that they are facing problems of their own.  Driscoll admits, “I wasn’t aware of how fully [the move] would affect all of our children.  It became a journey as a family.  We reoriented ourselves as to what family life would look like.”

Her goal was to immediately engage everyone, including herself, into the community.  Before moving, she began calling her children’s coaches.  Over the summer, they were allowed to attend practices and workouts with their future teammates.  As a result, they saw familiar faces at school from day one.  Afterwards, she attended a “Blacksburg Newcomers Club” meeting–in spite of her nerves.  It was a success.  “Almost as soon as I arrived, people began introducing themselves.  By the end of the night, I had already made a friend who invited me to the movies.”

Driscoll often reminds herself and her children, “We can’t control every dynamic we are going to be faced with, but we can control our responses.  We will get back up on our feet with grace.”

She hopes that the book club will choose a book each month that focuses on the human spirit and its ability to overcome.  “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is the club’s February selection.  It is a reflection of community values, and how, “in the time of turmoil, everything within us comes out: especially the desire for good, inner strength, and resolve.”

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“Books in the Burgs” will meet on the second Saturday of each month at 8 a.m. in the Blacksburg Recreation Center.