Presenting professional artists since 1983, Rappahannock Concert Association, Inc. is dedicated to presenting live musical performances at extraordinary prices to a subscriber-based audience and to supporting music education
Our Mission Statement: The mission of the RCA is to provide quality live performances to a subscriber audience and the broader community in the Northern Neck area, and to support and fund music education for the region’s youth. RCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
RCA is governed by an all-volunteer board whose members handle the artist selection, publicity, subscription sales, business development, finances, and venue arrangements for each performance. We welcome new volunteers in this rewarding community endeavor. RCA makes available its Steinway grand piano to the Northumberland County public school music departments and sponsors student outreach programs to area schools. In addition, RCA offers free violin, viola and cello instruction through the Strings Crewe Program.
All concerts are held at the performing arts theater at the Northumberland County School complex located about 3 miles east of Heathsville on Route 360 and Academic Lane.
Address: 201 Academic Lane, Heathsville, Virginia 22473.
President: Martha Tallent
Publicity/Subscriptions: Nellie Landrum
Concerts, Co-Chairs: Carol Cole & Nancy Stogowski
Education Chair: Barbara Hays
Piano Manager: Linda Shore
Secretary: Dolores Meo
Treasurer: Acting – Martha Tallent
Thomas Gibson, M.D.
Sue Nunn (Ex-officio)
RADM John Sigler
Administrator: Erin Wild
Designer: Julie Stanley, At Home Printing
Sound Tech: Walt Mallorie
Webmaster: Dave Lipscombe, L! Marketing LLC
In 2009, the 27th season of the Rappahannock Concert Association (RCA), the organization took a leap of faith. The Board of Directors moved RCA from Richmond County, where it was formed by a handful of dedicated volunteers in 1983, to the newly completed state-of-the-art Northumberland High School Theater for the Performing Arts. The founders’ original goal of ensuring that good music of all types would be available to the community remained intact
After deciding to move, the Rappahannock Concert Association took yet another leap of faith to raise funds to purchase a piano. Thanks to fundraisers, generous donors and two grants, that effort succeeded. On Saturday, September 12, 2009, Professor Michael Chertock of the University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music sat at the $45,000 newly rebuilt Steinway B grand piano and played the inaugural performance in the new venue.
With the exception of 2020-2021, when the concert season was cancelled due to COVID-19, year after year, RCA’s board– and many dedicated volunteers—continue to bring an eclectic concert season that features highly professional performers to the Northern Neck community at an affordable price. The subscription price for the concert series each season is $100, and the price for a choice of three concerts is $60. Single tickets are $25 and STUDENTS ARE ALWAYS FREE.
We depend on our subscribers, local businesses and generous donors to ensure we will have the funds to continue this important work. It also enables us to give generously to school music programs in all Northern Neck counties. With severe cuts in the school budget, this means our donations are really appreciated. Since 2011, RCA has gifted over $22,000 to area music teachers.
Inspired by a $13,700 bequest from the estate of Carolyn Crewe Gray, in September 2018, RCA launched a new venture to benefit music education for Northern Neck students. Named the “Strings Crewe” after our benefactor’s middle name, a Suzuki method string instruction program began weekly lessons in violin, viola and cello. The program has grown and as of 2021 instruments and lessons are free for over 20 elementary aged students.
A look back to the roots of community concert associations begins in the 1920s, a time of turmoil when funding for the arts was not a reality. In 1927 an idea revolutionizing the performing arts in America sprang up simultaneously in the Great Lakes region and in several eastern states. Begun as a humble experiment, it grew to “the organized audience plan” and ultimately into “COMMUNITY CONCERT” – the largest, and most enduring network of performing arts presenters that has ever existed. It was a simple idea. Instead of struggling to make up deficits after the fact, money was raised first. Then the artists were hired. The result: People were willing to buy a season’s subscription, not knowing in advance what the concerts were going to be. Financial risk was eliminated and subscribers enjoyed a season of professional standard concerts at a reasonable price. That plan still works today.
In the aftermath of the 1929 stock market crash and the years of the Great Depression that followed, music played an important role in raising the morale of those left without hope of ever recovering from financial ruin. Homes were lost, farms and equipment fell to creditors and jobs disappeared, but people could forget their worries for a little while when they could listen to music. Then, during the World War II years that followed, our troops overseas and our factory workers at home were inspired by the Big Band era of Glenn Miller, the Dorsey Brothers and other big bands. Funds were raised to buy “War Bonds” (government bonds to pay for the war effort) at venues ranging from small town theaters to Madison Square Garden in New York. Music gave the troops a respite from battle and a connection with home. Music also inspired folks at home, who rallied to the cause.
In September 2021, 4th year students will form the String Orchestra for Northern Neck Youth (SONNY). SONNY will present two concerts annually.
RCA has a reciprocal arrangement with Concerts by the Bay – our reserved and regular subscribers may attend all performances at no charge. Just show your season ticket at the door. All concerts are held at 3:00 pm at the Mathews High School Auditorium, 9889 Buckley Hall Road (Route 198), Mathews, Virginia.
Go to concertsbythebay.org for current information on the status of that association’s concert schedule.