Kwame Anthony Appiah will speak at the Moss Arts Center in Blacksburg on March 15. Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech to host award-winning cultural theorist

Can democracy really exist in conflict? Kwame Anthony Appiah will shed light on this topic and others during the 2023 PPE Distinguished Public Lecture next week in Blacksburg.

Appiah is an author, a professor of philosophy and law at New York University and a columnist for The New York Times. His lecture, “Politics and Polarization: The Place of Identities in Democracy,” will explore the concept of identity, both philosophically and psychologically. He also will discuss the role of identities in democracy and the challenges of maintaining differing views in a humane way.

The event will be held at 5 p.m. March 15 in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre of the Moss Arts Center. It is free and open to the public, with a reception to follow. The annual event, established in 2017, is hosted by Virginia Tech’s Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

Appiah, who previously visited Virginia Tech as keynote speaker for the first Humanities Week in 2022, is widely published in literary and cultural studies, with a focus on African and African American culture. He received the National Humanities Medal in 2011 for his contributions to philosophy and the pursuit of truth in the contemporary world.

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Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers to headline Down by Downtown in Roanoke

Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers will headline this year’s Freedom First Down by Downtown Music Festival in Roanoke next month.

The band will play at Elmwood Park Amphitheater on April 22 as part of the four-day music festival, which will run April 20-23 at venues across downtown Roanoke and will feature dozens of musical performances. The festival happens in conjunction with the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon weekend.

Individual venues have varying ticket prices and cover fees for shows; visit for a full lineup and links to shows.

Tickets for Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers are available for $20 in advance ( and $25 at the door.

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Harvester adds BlackHawk, Led Zeppelin tribute band Zoso to 2023 lineup

Harvester Performance Center has announced two additions to its 2023 lineup. 

The venue will welcome multi-platinum country band BlackHawk at 8 p.m. April 22. Tickets start at $32.

Zoso, a Led Zeppelin tribute band, will take the stage at 8 p.m. Nov. 18. Tickets start at $27.

Tickets for both shows are on sale now at

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Wytheville CC announces lineup for March bluegrass show

Wytheville Community College’s next Bluegrass and Old-Time Jamboree will feature Whitetop Mountain Band and Cabin Creek Bluegrass Band.

The show will start at 7 p.m. March 18 and will be held in the William F. Snyder Auditorium on the WCC campus, 1000 E. Main St. in Wytheville.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The event is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to help defray the travel expenses of the bands.

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Wytheville Concert Series performance set for Friday

The Wytheville Concert Series will present an “All-Beethoven” concert on March 10 featuring pianist Harold Brown, cellist Julia Goudimova and violinist Kevin Matheson.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Wytheville.

The concert will consist of the Sonata Op. 96 for violin and piano and the “Archduke” Trio Op. 97.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to support the Wytheville Concert Series and the Wytheville Community College Food Bank. Wytheville Concert Series performances are presented by Wytheville Community College, St. Paul United Methodist Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Wytheville Presbyterian Church, the WCC Educational Foundation and the MacDowell Music Club.

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Roanoke to host Nowruz celebration March 18

Local Colors of Western Virginia, in collaboration with the city of Roanoke, Blue Ridge Literacy and Commonwealth Catholic Charities, will host a Nowruz celebration from noon to 2 p.m. on March 18 at the Melrose Public Library in Roanoke.

Nowruz, also known as Persian New Year, is an ancestral festivity marking the first day of spring and the renewal of nature. The event will feature food, music and activities that have cultural relevance for area residents who celebrate Nowruz.

For more information, visit the event on Facebook.

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Virginia Children’s Theatre announces 2023-24 season

Virginia Children’s Theatre will kick off its 16th season with a production of Disney’s “Descendants: The Musical” on Oct. 6-7 at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke.

The season will continue with productions of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” Dec. 1-3; “Completely, Absolutely Normal” Feb. 3, 2024; “Legally Blonde: The Musical, Jr.” March 29-30, 2024; “The Wiz” April 26-27, 2024; and “Songs of the Past: A VCT Concert Revival” in July 2024.

Tickets will go on sale this summer. For more information, call VCT at 540-400-7795 or visit

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Historic Sandusky hosts book fair in Lynchburg

Historic Sandusky at the University of Lynchburg will host a book fair from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 24-25.

The fair will feature new and used books from all genres, and proceeds will benefit the Historic Sandusky endowment.

The fair will be held at 757 Sandusky Drive. For more information, email

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Botetourt County Historical Society and Attic Productions team up for ‘Dear Nannie’

The Botetourt County Historical Society has teamed up with Attic Productions to stage a true love story that took place in Fincastle during the latter half of the 1800s.

The production, inspired by the 2013 book “Dear Nannie … yours devotedly, Charlie,” by Gail McMillan and Jean Robbins, tells of the ill-fated romance of Ann Godwin and Charles Figgat through letters written between the two for many years.

Showings will be April 14-16 and 21-23. Friday and Saturday evening performances will be held at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at or at the door. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Historical Society. Copies of “Dear Nannie” also will be available for purchase.

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Zoom session offers a virtual backstage peek at the Grand Ole Opry’s history and artifacts

The archives manager for the Grand Ole Opry will provide a virtual backstage glimpse at the storied venue’s history as part of the Birthplace of Country Music’s ongoing Speaker Sessions series.

Jen Larson will appear via Zoom at 7 p.m. March 14. The event is free and open to the public, but you must pre-register to join.

“We are excited to have this program with Jen Larson taking us on a behind-the-scenes journey into the fascinating country music artifacts and collections that represent nearly a century of legendary programming with the Grand Ole Opry’s iconic roster of artist members, ” said Rene Rodgers, head curator of the museum.

For more information about this Speaker Session and other events, visit the events page at

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‘The Book Keepers,’ a documentary about a Roanoke author and her husband, premieres at the Grandin Theatre next week

The Carilion Clinic Foundation will host the Roanoke premiere of “The Book Keepers” at the Grandin Theatre on March 16.

The award-winning film documents the events following the release of Roanoker Carol Wall’s debut memoir, “Mister Owita’s Guide To Gardening.” The book was a breakout success, but joy turned to tragedy when the breast cancer she wrote about returned, and she died months after its publication.

The movie follows her husband, Dick Wall, who is determined to keep his late wife’s dream alive by becoming her unlikely spokesperson on tour for her book. The film is the third feature documentary by Dick’s son Phil Wall, who wrote, produced, filmed, directed and edited the film.

Following its limited nationwide theatrical release in June, “The Book Keepers” won both the Jury Prize and Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Austin Film Festival and is an official selection for 13 other U.S. film festivals.

The screening is free and open to the public, with advance registration, and includes a book signing and Q&A with the filmmaker and his father. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the movie will begin at 6:30, with Q&A following. For more information and to register, click here.

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