We had so many talented people graciously providing entertainment for our event this year!
Author, journalist and podcaster Michael Pope provided some little known, yet fascinating historical anecdotes about Mardi Gras.
Michael is a reporter for Virginia Public Radio and Connection Newspapers who is also the co-host of the Transition Virginia podcast. He is the author of four books about the quirkier aspects of Northern Virginia history.
Sigrid Eilertson demonstrated how she made a vibrant and colorful Mardi Gras mask. She graciously donated the mask to BRAWS and it was for sale in our Silent Auction! Sigrid believes masks give us the ability to become something else, to transform ourselves and find a new identity. Throughout the ages, masks have defined us, defied us and beguiled us. Starting with our ancient ancestors, steeped in ritual and ceremony, they connect us to whence we came.
Sigrid is an Artist and an Art Therapist in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has a Masters Degree in Art Therapy from Marylhurst College and a BA in fine Arts from the College of Charleston. She is also a certified Restorative Yoga Instructor. Additionally, she is a local exhibiting artist, an avid gardener and a lover of all things furry. Sigrid has “lived a full life, traveling the hippy trail in Europe, having been a truck driver, working on a Lakota Reservation in South Dakota, employment on a psychiatric ward for 10 years as an art therapist and most recently becoming a mother.” All of these experiences have had a profound effect on her art.
Maggie Arrington started the Gumbo Stand in 2011 to raise money for hurricane relief, sending the proceeds to the Red Cross and Orleans Parish Humane Society. Over the years the proceeds were donated to various groups, but three years ago she decided to focus on aiding BRAWS. For the third year in a row, the Arrington's have hosted a Gumbo Fundraiser for BRAWS and has raised over $5000 for our organization. During Mardi Bras this year we got to see them demo how they made this highly sought after treat- AND there was both a pot of gumbo and a cooking class with Hank in our Silent Auction! About our Gumbo Chefs: Maggie is a Senior at Madison High School and loves supporting BRAWS through the Gumbo Stand. She is planning on majoring in Nursing when she goes to college next year. Hank works in preclinical pharmaceutical development and (thankfully for Maggie!) loves to cook and help out with fundraisers.
In celebration of Mardi Bras, Fernando taught us all how to make a traditional Mardi Gras cocktail- the Sazerac, a classic New Orleans cocktail that has recently become popular once again! W learned the tips and tricks to making the perfect drink to celebrate Mardi Bras this year in style! Go to Insta (@de_juice_lab) to browse a collection of Fernando's favorite recipes! Fernando has a diverse background of work experience with more than a decade working in the cocktail industry, learning about classic cocktails, tailoring them to people's palates and preferences. He has a unique interest in discovering and incorporating ingredients from around the globe as well as innovative techniques to put a spin on the classics.
This father and son team played Henryk Wieniawski Etude for two violins Op 18 #1 four our listening pleasure. Pavel was born in Russia and began his violin studies at the Central Music School of the Moscow Conservatory. He immigrated with his family to the United States in 1980. After settling in the Washington DC area, he was a frequent performer in various concert series and has performed as a soloist at the Kennedy Center and DAR Constitution Hall, as well as in other cities throughout the United States. He is a prize winner of the 1984 Romano Romanini and 1988 Nicolo Paganini International Violin competitions in Italy. He attended Indiana University and graduated with a degree in Violin Performance where he studied under the direction of the world renown professor Joseph Gingold. Pavel joined the National Symphony Orchestra in 1990 and plays in the first violin section. Also an accomplished professional aviator, Pavel is co-founder and co-owner of Skyway Air Taxi, an air charter business based in Manassas, Virginia. George Pekarsky, 18, began his violin studies at 4 with his father. At age 11, he joined the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras, beginning in their String Ensemble, and eventually their premier orchestra, the American Youth Philharmonic, in 2016. That same year, he was chosen to take part in the Youth Fellowship Program with the National Symphony Orchestra at the J.F. Kennedy Center, and in 2018 named a Markow Totevy Foundation Youth Violin Fellow. George has had many concertmaster positions, including with AYSE, AYSO, AYP, the National Orchestral Institute Youth Orchestra. He has also played in the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, and the Summer Music Institute at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Northern Virginia Regional Orchestra, and All-State Orchestra of Virginia.
George has performed in venues such as the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and Concert Hall, Wolf Trap Filene Center with ‘The Piano Guys’, the National Gallery of Art, NOVA’s Rachel M. Schlesinger Hall, Hylton Performing Arts Center, George Mason Center for the Performing Arts, and the Residence of the Ambassador of Colombia. Mr. Pekarsky has performed as guest soloist with several orchestras in the past few years including the Manassas Symphony Orchestra, Reston Community Orchestra, Westfield Chamber Orchestra, and the American Youth Philharmonic. He is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Violin Performance at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University under the tutelage of Alexander Kerr.
During Mardi Bras, tour guide Lynn O’Connell took us on some short travels through New Orleans – a city filled with history and mystery as well as stellar food!
Lynn has been a tour guide for decades and finds that New Orleans, Charleston & Santa Fe are some of the most popular U.S. spots. Locally, she can be found leading walking food tours throughout the metro DC area (yes, who wouldn’t love an afternoon spent walking, hearing history stories, and eating!).
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