Read Our News
Blog

“GIVE Roanoke” stars in new BUZZ on May 18

“GIVE Roanoke” stars in new BUZZ on May 18 900 506 Michael Hemphill

Free HIV testing, delivering food and comfort to Covid-positive homeless individuals, coordinating the statewide 211 Virginia call center, founding Total Action for Progress, RADAR, and the Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia — these are just a few of the programs that the Council of Community Services has provided over the last 60 years. 

As originally broadcast May 18, 2022, on Blue Ridge PBS …

In April 2022, CCS embarked on its newest venture by hosting “GIVE Roanoke,” a day of philanthropic giving for more than 100 nonprofits throughout the Roanoke Valley. BUZZ invited Freedom First and Lamar Advertising to provide some needed, well, buzz for the 24-hour online event, which ended up raising more than $300,000. 

BUZZ and CCS invites the community to attend our free Watch Party on June 8 at 6 pm at the Grandin Theatre where GIVE Roanoke prizes will be awarded.

Watch Party on June 8

Name

BUZZ Episode 19 features Tudor House & Virginia Children’s Theatre

BUZZ Episode 19 features Tudor House & Virginia Children’s Theatre 900 567 Michael Hemphill

“It was the most pain you can imagine.”

Virginia Children’s Theatre is famous for its family-friendly, crowd-pleasing productions along the lines of “Peter Pan” and “Wizard of Oz.”

But once each year, the theatre devotes itself to weightier, painful topics affecting adolescents through its program VCT4Teens.

In 2021 and 2022, VCT has done so in partnership with Tudor House, a nonprofit founded amid the most painful experience imaginable.

Helping Tudor House share its story — and resources — is AAF Roanoke member Nero Digital Design Studio.

BUZZ Watch Party featuring Virginia Children’s Theatre & Tudor House

BUZZ Watch Party featuring Virginia Children’s Theatre & Tudor House 1024 576 Michael Hemphill

Join us for a free special evening Wednesday, April 13, 6:00-8:00 pm at Grandin Theatre, that features the inspiring collaboration between two vital Roanoke Valley nonprofits: Virginia Children’s Theatre and Tudor House. (Register below.)

In summer 2020, Roanoke business and swimming icon Louis Tudor died by suicide. Out of the tragedy, Tudor House was born, a nonprofit that provides resources for individuals suffering from depression and mental illness. 

In 2022, Tudor House and Virginia Children’s Theatre partnered to present “Apologies: A play about teenage suicide” to families throughout the Roanoke Valley. 

Providing the pro bono marketing “buzz” for this show: Nero Digital Design.

  • 6:00 pm – Doors open (beer, wine, soft drinks and concessions available for purchase)
  • 6:30 pm – Performances by Virginia Children’s Theatre
  • 7:00 pm – Blue Ridge PBS premier of our new episode
  • 7:30 pm – Q&A with Tudor House

We thank Tudor’s Biscuit World, Mrs. Ruth Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Fulton C. Johnson, City of Roanoke (through American Rescue Plan funding) and Freedom First Credit Union for sponsoring this episode!

Watch Party on June 8

Name

BUZZ Episode 18 Features Roanoke Arts Pop!

BUZZ Episode 18 Features Roanoke Arts Pop! 1024 588 Michael Hemphill

As originally broadcast on March 23, 2022, on Blue Ridge PBS …

Helped by the “buzz” created by LeadPoint Digital’s digital marketing campaign, the Taubman Museum of Art hosted performances, exhibits and activities from 20+ different arts and cultural organizations at the 2nd annual Roanoke Arts Pop! on March 4-6, 2022.

In partnership with the Roanoke Cultural Endowment and City of Roanoke, BUZZ showcases the weekend event in this second part of a 6-episode series in 2022 revolving around a collective arts and cultural marketing initiative for the Roanoke Valley.

We thank Freedom First Credit Union for providing additional sponsorship support of this episode!

BUZZ Premier Party featuring Roanoke Arts Pop!

BUZZ Premier Party featuring Roanoke Arts Pop! 900 506 Michael Hemphill

Join us for a free special evening that highlights the Roanoke Valley’s arts and cultural organizations that collaborated March 4-6 for the amazing ROANOKE ARTS POP!

BUZZ first featured this arts extravaganza on Feb. 23 on Blue Ridge PBS. In this episode we previewed the weekend-long event coordinated by the Taubman Museum, the nonprofits eager to resume in-person performances and exhibits, and the marketing professionals at LeadPoint Digital who worked to give arts in Roanoke more “buzz.” 

On March 23, we invite you to a community Watch Party when Blue Ridge PBS broadcasts our newest episode showcasing the 32 organizations that participated in Roanoke Arts Pop! 

Watch Party on June 8

Name
  • 6:00 pm – Doors open (beer, wine, soft drinks and concessions available for purchase)
  • 6:30 pm – Encore showing of our Feb. 23 episode
  • 7:00 pm – Blue Ridge PBS premier of our new episode

These two shows are part of a 6-episode series that BUZZ is producing in 2022 – in partnership with the Roanoke Cultural Endowment and City of Roanoke – revolving around a collective arts and cultural marketing initiative for the Roanoke Valley. 

We thank Freedom First Credit Union for helping sponsor these episodes!

BUZZ Episode 17 previews Roanoke Arts Pop

BUZZ Episode 17 previews Roanoke Arts Pop 1024 576 Michael Hemphill

In March 2020, Roanoke Arts Pop! was the last big arts event in Southwest Virginia before Covid shut down the world.

A collaboration between 20+ arts and cultural organizations in the Roanoke Valley, Roanoke Arts Pop! resumes March 4-6, 2022, in downtown Roanoke.

In the first of a 6-part series – a partnership with the Roanoke Cultural Endowment and the City of Roanoke, Virginia – BUZZ previews the weekend-long event coordinated by the Taubman Museum as well as the participating nonprofits eager to resume in-person performances and exhibits, and the marketing professionals at LeadPoint Digital working to give arts in Roanoke more “buzz.”

Starring Center in the Square, Southwest Virginia Ballet, Mill Mountain Zoo, Roanoke Valley Children’s Choir, Salem Museum, Jefferson Center, Mill Mountain Theatre, Opera Roanoke, Virginia Children’s Theatre, Artemis Journal, CommUnity Arts Reach, Local Colors and Fashionista Roanoke.

We thank Freedom First Credit Union for providing sponsorship support of this episode!

BUZZ to Produce 6 Arts & Cultural Episodes in 2022

BUZZ to Produce 6 Arts & Cultural Episodes in 2022 900 506 Michael Hemphill

We are BUZZing about our new partnership with the City of Roanoke and Roanoke Cultural Endowment to produce six episodes in 2022 that feature our region’s arts and culture … and the organizations that make it possible. 

Read the news release issued Feb. 17 by the Roanoke Cultural Endowment.

As BUZZ creator Michael Hemphill shares in the news release: “Our very first BUZZ episode was produced at the start of the pandemic and featured Southwest Virginia Ballet. Given the challenges that permeated our country during this time, the beauty and joy of the ballet’s music and dancers offered comfort. That’s the power of art. We’re honored to share that story and bring more ‘buzz’ to the artists and organizations who provide that to Roanoke.”

The first episode of this 6-part series, airing Feb. 23 on Blue Ridge PBS, showcases how Roanoke’s arts and cultural nonprofits have survived the pandemic, and are now collaborating with the Taubman Museum of Art to present the weekend-long Roanoke Arts Pop! on March 4-6.

LeadPoint Digital, led by BUZZ veteran and AAF Roanoke president Carrie Cousins, works in this episode to give arts in Roanoke more “buzz.”

BUZZ 2022 Premier

BUZZ 2022 Premier 601 340 Michael Hemphill

Watch the 2022 premier of BUZZ 🐝 as it appeared Jan. 26 on Blue Ridge PBS …

Since our launch in 2020, we’ve featured 12 #nonprofits who’ve been helped by AAF Roanoke #marketingpros. In this episode — filmed at our recent 12th Day of Christmas party – BUZZ creator Michael Hemphill reflects on where we’ve come from, more importantly where we’re going, and acknowledges all who have made BUZZ possible.

Highlights include interviews with Hope to Walk, Local Colors, 5 Points Music Sanctuary, Children’s Trust, Council of Community Services, Virginia Children’s Theatre, Center in the Square and more.

Our “12 Buzz4Goods Song” about:

  1. Southwest Virginia Ballet & Carrie Cousins, MBA
  2. Healing Strides of VA & 5Points Creative
  3. Mill Mountain Zoo & Wordsprint
  4. RAM House & Wheeler Digital
  5. Eastmont Community Foundation & Wordsprint
  6. Feeding Southwest Virginia & Access Advertising & Public Relations
  7. Virginia 811 & Carrie Cousins
  8. Giles County, Virginia & 5Points Creative
  9. Blue Ridge Women’s Center & Wheeler Digital
  10. Christiansburg Institute & Spectrum Media Solutions
  11. Children’s Assistive Technology Service & 5Points Creative
  12. Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley & 5Points Creative

And our sponsors:
🐝 Partners in Financial Planning, LLC
🐝 Beacon Wealth Consultants, Inc.
🐝 Woods Rogers PLC
🐝 Community Foundation of the New River Valley
🐝 Virginia Film Office
🐝 Eastmont Community Foundation
🐝 Branch Builds
🐝 ABLEnow & Virginia529
🐝 Freedom First Credit Union
🐝 The Louise R. Lester Foundation

Patreon supporters: Paul and Tracy Jenkins, Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell, Lisa Garcia, Jeff and Carrie Pomeroy, Billy and Lindsey Tyra, and Jim Pearman

“12 Buzz4Goods” Song

“12 Buzz4Goods” Song 900 506 Michael Hemphill

Here on the 12th day of Christmas, BUZZ creator Michael Hemphill presents his “12 Buzz4Goods” song!

Here we look back on the 12 nonprofits that have been featured on BUZZ since our debut in August 2020 on Blue Ridge PBS. We also thank our sponsors and the marketing pros who gave these organizations more “buzz.”

And we look ahead to an exciting 2022!

  1. Southwest Virginia Ballet & Carrie Cousins
  2. Healing Strides & 5Points Creative
  3. Mill Mountain Zoo & Wordsprint
  4. RAM House & Wheeler Digital
  5. Eastmont Community Foundation & Wordsprint
  6. Feeding Southwest Virginia & Access
  7. Virginia811 & Carrie Cousins
  8. Giles County & 5Points Creative
  9. Blue Ridge Women’s Center & Wheeler Digital
  10. Christiansburg Institute & Soectrum Media Solutions
  11. Children’s Assistive Technology Service & 5Points Creative
  12. Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley & 5Points Creative

New Year’s “Sprezzatura”

New Year’s “Sprezzatura” 150 150 Michael Hemphill

I remember very little from my academic life, save the word “sprezzatura” from a Renaissance Literature class at Birmingham-Southern College. 

We were reading “The Book of the Courtier,” published in 1528, by Baldassare Castiglione, who defined the Italian word as “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.”

While “a certain nonchalance” certainly defined my attitude towards college classes, there seemed to be a distinct lack of sprezzatura once I started my career. 

Through the years, showing “effort” – as I observed in colleagues and, in truth, in myself – seemed much of the job description. The striving, grasping, busybodiness of it all, calculated by meeting minutes, office hours, frantic phone calls, number of emails/texts/posts … the appearance of doing the work was as much the point as the work itself.

Since launching Buzz4Good in 2020,  I’ve seen time and again AAF Roanoke members like Bruce Bryan, Carrie Cousins, Bill Gilmer, Tony Pearman, Theresa Passeretti and William Nelms seemingly effortlessly incorporate pro bono nonprofit projects into their existing workload. 

And I’ve seen nonprofit leaders like Pedro Szalay, Pamela Irvine, Jim Drader, Chris Sanchez, Melissa Woodson and Carol Young calmly execute their organization’s complex missions – whether inspiring art and learning or fighting homelessness, hunger, racism, depression – to better our communities. 

All of this during one of our country’s most challenging times in history.

Here at the end of 2021, I want to thank all who have helped me professionally give flight to Buzz, and for the personal lessons in how to do difficult things with “a certain nonchalance.” 

In an age when grace is in such short supply, I offer up more sprezzatura as a resolution for 2022. Happy New Year’s to you all!

Always buzzing,
Michael Hemphill
Creator of Buzz4Good