March 2021 Newsletter


The Arts Council Adopts 2021 Committees

The Arts Council will be focusing attention on the development of committees during 2021. As our organization has grown and developed over the years, so have the responsibilities of the council.

The new committee structure is designed to not only provide help with various projects, but to also involve more people in the community and gain input from Highlanders on how they would like to see the Arts Council provide art to the community.

Each of the new committees is chaired by a member of the Board of Directors and is tasked with specific responsibilities.

Responsibilities includes:

  • Finance (Caroline Smith) – works with treasurer on budget and fundraising
  • Marketing (Jason Canze) – promotion of events and membership
  • Visual Arts (Liz Delahoussaye)- coordinates exhibits and artist participation
  • Performing Arts (Clair Myers) – assists with full range of performing arts events
  • Workshops and Classes (Donna Bedwell)– helps develop educational opportunities
  • Technology (Rick Hill) – assists with sound equipment and technological opportunities
  • Hospitality  (Gretta Sandberg)- plans member outreach and other social occasions

The success of our new structure will depend on the involvement of members of the Highland County community. If you are interested in participating on one of the committees, please contact a member of the Board.

Member Message: Gretta Sandberg

When I first moved to Highland County in 2009, after having been an orchestra director in the public schools of Virginia for 44 years, I was asked to become a member of the Highland County Arts Council Board.

I was honored to be asked to join, as the Arts have always been an important part of my life. It is clear to me that the Arts contribute an enormous amount to a community and to individuals within that community.

I was thinking about starting a string program in Highland County at the time that I was asked to join the board of the Arts Council. I know what a bonus it is to have the backing of an Arts Organization when a string program is in its infancy.

The Highland County Arts Council has been a great supporter of my string program, which is part of the Allegheny Mountain String Project of the Garth Newel Music Center.

I am delighted to be able to be a part of the Arts Council, to help bring a variety of the Arts to Highland County and to promote the many arts that flourish within Highland County.

Bill Heid Photo by Wu Bin


Second Time Will Be the Charm

Bill Heid’s February 13 scheduled performance at the Highland Center was scrubbed because of the weather.

We, like Bill, are hoping March 13 will be snow-free. “With the weather finally (we hope) looking good, I’m looking forward performing for the good folks of Highland County. It’ll be doubly enjoyable to perform live again as the covid-19 pandemic has devastated the music business this past year.” said Bill Heid

The performance will explore the many styles of the Blues.The concert be available for a limited number of live audience members following the standard protocol social distances.

Check for reservations.The concert will also be streamed thanks to Board Member Rick Hill and his crew.

On The Road

Thanks to a grant from The Little Swiss Fund, the Highland County Arts Council will be able to take to performances across the county.

“It has always been our goal to enrich the cultural life and education opportunities for all members of our community,” said Donna Bedwell, President of the Arts Council. “Our specially designed trailer will provide us an additional means of achieving that goal.” The trailer will accommodate a portable stage and both lighting and sound systems. “That will allow the Council to take performances to any space—indoors or outdoors– that has a power source. There is not a section of our county that will be off limits!” exclaimed Bedwell

Clair Myers, chair of the Council’s performance committee, is excited by the prospect of increasing the variety of performances hosted by the Council and the opening for involving more local talent in the events. “We are looking towards a second monthly performance schedule,” says Myers. The offerings will feature a full range of entertainments.

The Performance committee will seek ideas and suggestions from Highland community members. “The highest priority is engaging a broad selection of local talents in the programning,” He said.

The new county-wide program will begin as soon as the pandemic limitations are lifted or modified to allow for gatherings of live audiences.

Those interested in joining Myers on the Performance Committee or with suggestions for programming and local talent should contact him at

Creativity Corner

Creativity Corner is a new feature included in our monthly newsletters.

Each month we will highlight one of Highland County’s many talented folks. We will highlight all the many varied forms that make up the Arts.

Stay tuned for our first offering, coming soon.



Grateful for Support

The support of all our members is critical to the Arts Council.

We are also very grateful for the support we receive through grants and foundations such as the Virginia Commission of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Little Swiss Fund.

But we would like to extend a special thank you this month to the Charles Pinkney Jones Charitable Trust.

The fund enabled us to continue our support of The Highland Center in its mission to be a catalyst for cultural and economic development. We are proud to be tenants and active users of this wonderful venue for the arts.

Streaming a Concert

Americans have grown quite used to watching television. As a result, our attention span has diminished considerably. Generally, we see a single shot for less than ten seconds, then the camera changes or the angle changes, or the distance changes. Every 10 seconds – or less! And most of us are completely unaware that this happening.

That is what we must take into consideration when streaming a concert. For the Boogie Kings concert on Dec. 12, we used three cameras, six mics and two sets of stage lights. We had three tech crew members, Derek Simmons ran the computer. He mixed the pre-recorded performers with the live performers and sent the whole thing to Facebook. Neal Mohlmann ran the soundboard mixing all the live sound which included the band , the host Clair Myers, and the auctioneer Donna Bedwell. Rick Hill kept after the three cameras, changing them for close-ups.

Rick was also the tech director and he produced all of the pre-recorded videos. He has been in charge of live-streaming his church’s worship service since March, 2020. “This is an ongoing experiment and a huge education for me,” he said. With no formal training in live streaming or video production he has been learning as he goes. “The internet is not as stable as the airwaves, so you really have to keep a sense of humor. Sometimes it’s very slow which causes the stream to be jumpy or pause. That is frustrating to folks who are watching, but it’s also frustrating to us.”

Sound quality is also very important to Rick. “Most people are using the speakers in their computer or on their phone. These are not very good. Some folks have gotten small external speakers and some folks have gotten really good speakers. So, we have to find a good balance between what we can really afford in the way of mics and mixers and what the audience is really going to be able to hear. I grew up with a bunch of friends who were audiophiles, so I got used to hearing really good sound. I try to get the best sound quality that I can on a very limited budget. Sometimes I have to get creative.”

The next Arts Council concert is Bill Heid on March 13. He is a solo jazz pianist, so the streaming will be a bit simpler. You can visit for a live streaming link



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