Here’s a roundup of briefs around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Lynchburg Museum explores local history of midwives in new exhibit

The public is invited to attend the opening reception for the Lynchburg Museum’s new mini-exhibit celebrating Lynchburg midwife and “baby nurse” Julia Whiteley Branch.

Studio portrait of Julia Whiteley Branch, circa 1920. Courtesy of Old City Cemetery/Southern Memorial Association.

The reception will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the museum, 901 Court St. The event is free.

The exhibit traces Branch’s career in the early 1900s and the history of her fellow midwives in Lynchburg. Saturday’s event will feature remarks by two of Branch’s descendants, Malikka Karteron and Rosemary McDaniel, as well as by Katie Page, a certified nurse-midwife. Author and women’s health activist Linda Holmes of Hampton will sign copies of her book “Listen To Me Good: The Life Story of an Alabama Midwife.”

Branch was born enslaved in Bedford County around 1845. She lived most of her life in Lynchburg, where she became a popular midwife and baby nurse for many prominent local families. She died in 1937 and was buried in the Old City Cemetery.

The mini-exhibit is the beginning of a year-long research project to identify local midwives and related artifacts, culminating with a larger exhibit at the Lynchburg Museum opening in October 2023 during National Midwifery Week. The Lynchburg Museum encourages anyone with information about a local midwife to share it for possible inclusion in the upcoming exhibit.

The mini-exhibit and reception are co-sponsored by the Lynchburg Museum System, National Black Midwives Alliance, Virginia Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and Virginia Midwives Alliance.

The exhibit will remain on display through Dec. 31.

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Montgomery County Dialogue on Race responds to state education plan

The Montgomery County Dialogue on Race will hold a community briefing on its response to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s education plan on Friday.

The briefing will be held at 4:30 p.m. at the Hill School, 570 High St., Christiansburg.

In August, the Dialogue on Race convened more than 150 citizens to examine and critique the Youngkin administration’s report on Virginia schools, “Our Commitment to Virginians: High Expectations and Excellence for All Students,” which was released in May.

The results of the group’s work are online at

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Opera Roanoke hosts exploration of music, poetry

Opera Roanoke will present the second installment of its “A Way With Words” series, a poetry and music mash-up event, on Oct. 20 at The Spot on Kirk. The event will feature the work of composers and poets of color, showcased by four artists from across the region.

The concept for the series is an exploration of the intersection between music and poetry and an aim to highlight the work of black artists for the betterment of the community. The evening will feature poetry and readings by Bryan “Harvest Blaque” Hancock of Roanoke poetry group Soul Sessions; Nick George, a poet and teacher based in Lynchburg; and songs by two sopranos: Rebecca Cummings Scales of Roanoke and Olivia Rominiyi of Harrisonburg, accompanied by Gregory Thompson on piano.  

Subtitled “The Leap Chronicles,” the evening will explore what it means to “take the leap” toward new challenges, new opportunities and new beginnings in a post-COVID world. The artists will share songs and poems that have made an impact on their journey, followed by an open discussion with the audience.

For tickets to “A Way With Words Vol 2: The Leap Chronicles” at The Spot on Kirk, visit or call 540-982-2742. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. 

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From the Bluefield production: Derek Cruise as Dracula and Abigail McComas as Lucy. Courtesy of Bluefield University.

Bluefield University, Roanoke Ballet Theatre offer 2 takes on “Dracula”

Two groups are planning different productions of “Dracula.”

Bluefield University will produce the stage version Oct. 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 30 at 3 p.m., all in Harman Auditorium. The company will also present a Halloween performance at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31. Tickets for all performances are $10 in advance for adults and $5 for students and senior adults. Tickets are $12 and $7 at the door.

Roanoke Ballet Theatre will produce the ballet version at the Jefferson Center (541 Luck Ave.) on Oct. 29, at 2 and 7 p.m. This production is suitable for ages 8 and up and has a running time of 90 minutes. The cast consists of 53 dancers including 26 youth from Roanoke and Roanoke County. The lead role of Dracula will be played by Norbert Nirewicz, a native of Poland who began his ballet studies at the National Ballet School in Gdansk. He received a silver medal in Poland’s national Ballet Competition. As a dancer for the Polish National Ballet, he portrayed roles in a variety of classical ballets such as “Swan Lake,” “Giselle,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “La Fille Mal Gardee” in Warsaw and throughout Europe.

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Led Zeppelin tribute band to play in Rocky Mount

The Led Zeppelin tribute band Zoso will perform at the Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount on Nov. 10.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at