The Music School and Shop in Norton recently received a $10,000 grant from VCEDA. Photo courtesy of VCEDA.

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

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Norton music shop receives VCEDA grant

The Music School and Shop in Norton, which sells retail musical instruments and accessories and offers lessons, has received a $10,000 seed capital matching grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, according to a news release from VCEDA.

Owner James Wardell is a former K-12 music instructor whose son, Ryan Tackett Wardell, serves as general manager of the new shop. He emphasized the educational aspect of the business, adding at his project review interview that “we are music teachers at heart.”

The new business projects two full-time and 12 part-time employees within five years, said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA’s executive director/general counsel.

The business maintains studio space and a cadre of musical instructors who offer private and group lessons, classes, coaching and audition preparation.

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Governor makes board, council appointments

Gov. Glenn Youngkin last week announced a number of new board and council appointments, including several from Southwest and Southside:

  • Lauren Woodson of Roanoke, the community recreation coordinator for Roanoke Parks and Recreation, was named to the Citizens’ Advisory Council on Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion.
  • Nancy Agee of Salem, president and CEO of Carilion Clinic, and Emily O’Quinn of Bristol, a senior vice president at Alpha Metallurgical Resources, were named to the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board.  
  • Betsy Beamer of Henrico, director of planning and organization at McGuireWoods Consulting, was named to the Radford University Board of Visitors.
  • Robin Deiulio of Montgomery County, an engineer at KBR Inc., was named to the Criminal Justice Services Board.

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Virginia Museum of History and Culture seeks input on Vietnam exhibit

The Virginia Museum of History and Culture in Richmond has renewed its call for Virginians with personal connections to the Vietnam War to contribute to a new exhibition.

“Virginia and the Vietnam War” will immerse visitors in the experiences of Virginians during the Vietnam War era. The museum wants to interview any Virginians who experienced the war as a veteran, activist, refugee or military family member. The recorded interviews and transcriptions will be included in the exhibit and added to the museum’s oral history collection.

“Virginia and the Vietnam War” will open to the public on Nov. 23, 2024, and remain on view through April 27, 2025. Individuals interested in participating can learn more at

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8 businesses win funding in Danville Pittsylvania chamber competition

A new cabinetry design business and an expanding daycare center won the top prizes in the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Rev Up Danville Pittsylvania competition.

Eight small businesses were awarded $77,000 to open or expand their businesses in the two localities, according to a news release from the chamber.

The Rev Up program helps small business owners develop business plans, work with mentors and develop a pitch for their business.

Sixteen businesses participated in the competition. The winners are:

  • Little Bird Daycare, owner Chasity Phillips, $15,000.
  • Design To A ‘T’, owner Tyler Harrell, $15,000 plus $1,000 from Movement Bank.
  • Trey Belcher Training, owner Trey Belcher, $10,000.
  • Nicholas Drone Service, owner Nicholas Carty, $10,000.
  • Hammer Hill Computers, owner Steve Barrow, $10,000 plus $1,000 from Movement Bank.
  • Fitz Over Food, owner Terri Fitzgerald, $8,000.
  • The Little House Esthetics, owner Conner Finney, $5,000.
  • The Heritage Salon & Co., owner LaShawn Walker, $2,000.

Rev Up Danville Pittsylvania, now finishing its third year, has seen 32 business plans pitched to
judges for a total of $175,000 in funding. The fourth year of the program will open for
registration this fall with classes beginning in January.

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Bristol Rhythm & Roots adds Carlene Carter, Brent Cobb to lineup; single-day tickets available

Brent Cobb and Carlene Carter have joined the lineup for the three-day Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.

The daily schedule for the festival, which runs Sept. 8-10, also has been released, in addition to single “Any Day” passes, on sale for $70 plus tax/fees. The full artist schedule, including set times and stages, will be released late summer.

Weekend passes are on sale for $140 plus tax/fees, with the price increasing at the gate. For tickets and more information visit

The lineup also includes Nickel Creek, Margo Price, Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, Watchhouse, The Mavericks, 49 Winchester, Larkin Poe, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Allison Russell, Sierra Hull and more.