EventZone's Party in the Park summer concert series at Elmwood Park helps Thursday ditch its weekday persona and get loose with food, drinks, fun events, and a different musical headliner every week. On June 16, hips wiggle, toes tap, and fingers form synchronized kick-lines to the southern-rock sounds of Jim Quick & Coastline. The festival's more than 13,000 frolickers can unwind with a Budweiser or glass of Gallo wine ($4 each), or indulge in a guilt-free splurge on festival cuisine and soda, knowing that part of Party in the Park's proceeds go to local nonprofit organizations. With Parrothead Night as the theme of the evening, Jimmy Buffet fans and their exceedingly loyal spouses can feel free to don Hawaiian garb and warm up their margarita hands for the slushy merriment ahead, and Davidson's Clothing for Men takes over the stage at band intermission to give away free T-shirts ideal for hiding malfunctioning coconut bikinis.
Following the baton of music director and conductor David Stewart Wiley, the members of Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and its chorus deliver concerts that cover a wide spectrum of genres, regaling ears with everything from sci-fi soundtracks to masterpieces by classical composers. Roanoke Symphony Orchestra also surprises audiences with visits from renowned performers by the likes of singer-songwriter LeAnn Rimes and triple-threat Bernadette Peters. Before masterwork concerts, Wiley stages preconcert talks that give audiences musical insight on the pieces that will be performed. To complement its programming, the RSO records a podcast called Inside the Music, which broadcasts playlists off Beethoven’s first generation iPod.
Participants of the Boos and Brews 5K Race or the mile-long fun run are encouraged to run in Halloween costumes, adding an entertaining element to the friendly race. After completing the race without having their shoelaces tied together by prankster ghosts, runners can enjoy a post-race party with drinks, music, and awards for the best costumes and fastest runners.
With more than 28 years of dance-studio experience, Director Karen Stemen and her agile staff strive to instill her students with both technical dance training and a palpable passion for movement. An array of classes direct the feet of all age levels and abilities. Youngsters can hone ballet and tap skills, and adults can come to the studio seeking a challenging workout or serious training in techniques such as hip-hop and pointe, ideal for those who have trouble reaching the cereal on top of the refrigerator.
At Blueridge Rock School, there are no graduates—only band members. The school's program teaches students of all ages to play a musical instrument of their choice, be it guitar, drums, trombone, or even mandolin. For first-timers, class consists of practice and guided jam sessions with an instructor who closely monitors their progress.
Once they've mastered the basics, pupils move on to the intermediate classes, or the "sound check" stage. They're encouraged to improvise and experiment with their music, and eventually, they can audition for one of the school's bands. This marks the transition into the "On Tour" stage, which entails band practice every week and live shows at local venues. Open jam sessions continue to keep the players' skills sharp, while the staff imparts lessons on topics outside the realm of musicianship, such as marketing, lighting, and staging. The final stage of the curriculum, "Record Label," covers advanced song-writing and recording, allowing bands to even record their own original album and perform it live in front of an audience.
The three instructors at American Dance Centers have been teaching guests how to groove for more than 20 years?a timeframe that has only strengthened their belief in everyone's ability to dance. They usher students of all ages through group and private lessons on their studio's 1,400-square-foot floating floor, specializing in ballroom, Latin, and swing styles. Because their pupils share a common dedication to improvement, the teachers view the studio as a social space for dancers regardless of their individual skill levels or how many funky chickens they've eaten. In addition to classes, the staff hosts parties where amateurs and experts alike can benefit from casual practice. They bring aspiring performers to regional and national competitions and plan dance-themed getaways with other studios to resorts both nearby and overseas.