New Funding Source for VBRMF

Traditional sources of funding, donations and concert tickets, have made possible the concerts and scholarships provided by VBRMF.  Now there is another source of funds which allows you an additional way to give to VBRMF at no cost to you!  If you are a Kroger shopper, you can link your Kroger rewards card to VBRMF and then Kroger will donate to VBRMF a percentage of your grocery expenditures each time you use your card.  There is no additional cost to you and your personal rewards points are not decreased.  What an easy way to give to Classical Music in the Mountains!  To register your card, just follow the steps listed below:


Madison String Quartet

On March 17th, 2017, the Floyd Center for the Arts and Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival welcome the talented Madison String Quartet to Floyd VA. Along with the concert Saturday evening the Quartet will lead a Master Class for local music students. The Madison String Quartet, praised for its energetic performances and inventive Madison String Quartet, March 17
The Floyd Center for the Arts and Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival welcome the talented Madison String Quartet to Floyd VA. Along with the concert Saturday evening the Quartet will lead a Master Class for local music students. The Madison String Quartet, praised for its energetic performances and inventive programming, is bringing a new side of classical music to the New York metropolitan area.Drawing on the international experience of its members, the Quartet “has carved a niche out for themselves by exploring Hispanic literature from both sides of the Atlantic”. (Paul Somers, Classical New Jersey) The Quartet is involved in blurring the line between performer and audience, creating a comfortable performance atmosphere for masterworks from past and present. The Madison String Quartet is essential listening.

To purchase tickets go to:

Exciting New Strings Program


The Blue Ridge Strings Program will introduce the study of classical music on stringed instruments to elementary age children in Floyd County.   Through hands on instruction and creative enrichment, the program will support growth and development by instilling a deep appreciation for music and specific skill in performance.

Co-sponsored by Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival (VBRMF) and The June Bug Center (JBC), the program will offer classes at the JBC for two hours each week.   The children will ride Floyd’s school buses to the JBC, and will receive an after-school snack before participating in a small group, one hour lesson and a musical enrichment activity.

Scheduled to start in the fall of 2017, the program will begin with violin instruction from a certified Suzuki instructor for 4th and 5th graders.  As the program grows, we plan to include classical guitar, viola, and cello instruction.

Instruments and snacks will be provided free of charge to those who choose to participate.  Tuition for students qualifying for free/reduced lunch is $60 per semester.  Tuition for other students is $120 per semester.  Scholarships will be provided for students who are unable to pay.

The creative enrichment program will be taught by guest artists and teachers.  Special “musical outings” will be available, as well as opportunities to perform publicly.

The program follows a model similar to the highly successful Floyd JAMS, now in its 6th year at JBC.  JBC will provide fiscal management.  A program director will handle organizational and administrative responsibilities.  VBRMF will provide financial and technical support.

Ways you can help the Blue Ridge Strings Program provide this special musical opportunity to Floyd’s children:

  1. Donate the annual instrument rental fee – $129.
  2. Provide a student scholarship  —  $60 or $120/semester
  3. Volunteer  —  assist with the enrichment program
  4. Text “Strings” to (540)692-3441 to donate any amount
  5. Mail  your check, made payable to VBRMF, to:    VBRMF, PO Box 757, Floyd, Va 24091.
  6. Contribute with paypal or you credit card online here

Let us know your interest or questions by contacting us at [email protected]  or 276-952-6580.

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2017 Scholarship Recipients

On May 21,2017, at the Bach to Bluegrass Concert, three young Floyd County musicians were awarded scholarships by VBRMF.   In memory of Ed Fallon, Eli Wildman, age 16, was awarded a scholarship to attend the Berklee Global String Program this summer.  Aila Wildman and Heather Blake, both 14, were awarded scholarships to attend the Roanoke Youth Symphony Orchestra Summer Institute.

Homeschooled siblings, Eli and Aila, playing mandolin and violin respectively, performed Kittlel’s The Boxing Reel at the concert. The siblings study and perform both classical and traditional music.  They have performed in and won numerous bluegrass competitions.  Aila plays in the first violin section of the Roanoke Youth Symphony Orchestra.  For more details on this talented duo, please see their bios in the musician section of the 2017 Bach to Bluegrass concert on this webpage.

Heather Blake is a rising 9th grade student at Floyd County High School (FCHS) where she plays bass clarinet in the FCHS concert band and is drum major for FCHS marching band.  She also plays bass clarinet in the Blacksburg Community Band.  She began playing violin 3 ½ years ago and has just been accepted into the Roanoke Youth Symphony Orchestra.  Heather was the recipient of the David Wiley Sr. annual scholarship.

Congratulations to these three fine young musicians!

Laurel Brooke Update

In 2015 Laurel Brooke of Floyd, a violinist, received the David S. Wiley Scholarship from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival. She then attended New River Community College for a year as a part-time student–not only to gain credits for general education, but also to continue studying with her teacher at the time, Benedict Goodfriend.

Brooke Laurel photo outdoors

By Chelsa Yoder Photography

During that year she set her sights on the University of Miami. She auditioned for, and was accepted into, the Frost School of Music to study under Charles Castleman. Laurel was able to use her scholarship from VBRMF to accept admission.

“This first year at music school,” writes Laurel, “has been exactly what I had hoped it would be.” Surrounded by hard-working, dedicated individuals who share her passion for music has been a privilege. “I have immersed myself in the musical world,” she adds, “and have found some lifelong friends while doing it.”

Currently she is taking music–theory, skills, essential technologies; business and entrepreneurship; and abnormal psychology. She also plays in the Frost Symphony Orchestra (three concerts a semester) and two small chamber ensembles (a string quartet and trio)––all while taking private lessons. Right now FSO is working towards its April 22nd program of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto.

With only five weeks left in her first year, Laurel has grown exponentially as a musician and as a person. “I love the diversity of a city—the different religions, languages, and cultures.” She has enjoyed branching out to try new things and meet new people. For example, she is a member of the University of Miami Ultimate Frisbee team. “The sport has brought me many friends and has so far taken me to Chicago, IL , and Austin, TX.”




Master Class

On April 1, aspiring young area musicians will gather in Floyd to participate in a classical string master class.  Instructors for the class are the members of the Julius Quartet – violinists Helen Hyun Jeong Lee and David Do, violist John Batchelder and cellist Byron Hogan.  Hailed by the The Bennington Banner as “the capMusic Photo (3)tivating young string quartet,” the group, formed in 2012,  performs in venues around the country and was awarded 1st prize at the first annual MA-ASTA String Quartet/Quintet Competition.   Currently, the quartet is the Graduate String Quartet in Residence at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University where they work with the renowned Shanghai Quartet.

In addition to performing, the members of the Julius Quartet  are advocates for educational workshops/ outreach events and enjoy providing student instruction.  Violist John Batchelder states  “As a quartet, we are compelled by a deep excitement to pass on our knowledge of instrumental playing, as well as music’s incredible power of connectivity and communication, to the younger generations of musicians. It is incredibly rewarding to witness a student’s discovery in their music making, reminding us of our own musical journeys and the guidance we received when we were their age.”

The Julius Quartet will perform in concert on April 1 at 7:30 pm at the Floyd Center for the Arts where tickets can be purchased by calling 540-745-2784.  The master class and concert are co-sponsored by Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival and the Floyd Center for the Arts.

2016 Vbrmf Scholarship Winner

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Local area musician and artist, Elizabeth Shelor, recently received her teaching certification from the Suzuki Music Institute.  Elizabeth, a 2016 scholarship winner with Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival (VBRMF) received tuition for the Suzuki training through the David Wiley, Sr., Scholarship Fund administered by VBRMF.

With other scholarship money from VBRMF, Shelor was awarded funds which are going toward the purchase of a violin.  A major focus of VBRMF, a non-profit affiliate of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, is promotion of classical music education via grants and scholarships to support promising area young musicians and music programs.

Elizabeth displayed her talent as a violinist when she performed at the Greenbrier resort during the Christmas holidays. Shelor states, “The Greenbrier was my White House experience.” She plans to continue to perform for weddings, concerts, fundraisers, and social events while teaching violin and piano from her private studio located at the Floyd Center for the Arts.

What a great personal and community investment of VBRMF donations!

House Concert

On September 11, 2016 in a beautiful mountain-top home in Meadows of Dan, 85 music lovers gathered for an afternoon of Classical Music in the Mountains, a fundraiser for Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival.  The program, coordinated by pianist and composer Zachary Groff, included violinist Alan Petermann and John Fulton, baritone.

The first half of the program featured original compositions Unfinished Prayer and Moonlit Walk by Groff, who played the piano with Petermann playing violin.  Their repertoire included Vocalise by Rachmaninoff and Sonata for Violin and Piano in E minor by Mozart.  Following intermission, with Groff accompanying on piano, Fulton thrilled the audience with his rich baritone voice as he sang 9 Songs of Travel, arranged by Vaughan Williams.

Two local wineries, Villa Appalachia and Stanburn Winery, shared their wines for the event.  Proceeds from the concert are earmarked for VBRMF’s support of young musicians.


Alan Petermann on violin


Music lovers enjoying an afternoon of classical music


Volunteers provided an array of hors d’oeuvres for the reception


Baritone John Fulton


Pianist/composer Zachary Groff

Pre-Concert Dinner at the Mozart in May Concert

New this year: reserve your tickets for dinner, catered by Cast Iron Catering, and dine with the artists before the show! Dinner tickets are $15 (reserve by April 30th)

Reserve Tickets


Cellist Liske-Doorandish to Perform February 21

VBRMF LLDoorandish photo Feb. 21Lisa Liske-Doorandish, an esteemed cellist, will perform at the June Bug Center in Floyd, Virginia, on Sunday, February 21, at 2:30 pm. She will be joined by Taylor Baldwin, pianist, and four young musicians: David Smith, Eleanore Liske-Doorandish, Elizabeth Shelor, and Aaron Shelor.

Sponsored by Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival, the concert is free, although donations are welcome. Afterward audience members will enjoy a reception. The June Bug is located at 251 Parkway Lane South.

Lisa chose to make her home in this area after completing her Master’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. When a local music school was seeking a cello teacher, she was recommended by her Suzuki pedagogy teacher (Annette Costanzi, now of London). Since 1998 she has directed her own studio, Community Cello Works. She has taught at Washington and Lee, Southern Virginia, and Hollins Universities. Also she she has become a sought-after clinician at workshops and master classes.

Performing both solo and chamber music, Lisa has served as associate principal cello of the Roanoke Symphony and principal cello of Opera Roanoke for ten years. Simultaneously she has developed a method of teaching high-quality cello technique and musicianship.

Lisa finds that the performing and teaching aspects of the cello complement each other and have equal importance to the community. Her program on February 21 is unique. For one reason, it presents some of her favorite repertoire for unaccompanied cello; for another, it features youngsters whom she has taught and mentored.

During her years at San Francisco Conservatory, Lisa was profoundly influenced by the violinist Anthony Martin, a member of New Esterhazy Quartet, Philharmonia Baroque, and Orchestra of the 18th Century. She has lived into his words: “My goal is to turn my students into my colleagues as quickly as possible.”

(Musicians pictures from Left to Right: David Smith, Lisa Liske-Doorandish, Eleanore Liske-Doorandish)