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roanoke virginia

Celebrate BUZZ Anniversary on Aug. 3 630 485 Michael Hemphill

Celebrate BUZZ Anniversary on Aug. 3

It’s hard to believe that BUZZ made its Blue Ridge PBS debut on Aug. 5, 2020, with episode 1 featuring Southwest Virginia Ballet and marketing specialist Carrie Cousins.

We invite you to CELEBRATE our anniversary and PREVIEW our 13th episode on Tuesday, Aug. 3, at 6:30 pm at the Grandin Theatre. The event is free. Beer, wine, soft drinks, popcorn and candy will be available for purchase from the Grandin. (Pre-party for AAF Roanoke members and previous stars and supporters of BUZZ starts at 6:00 pm).

The event is free. Beer, wine, soft drinks, popcorn and candy will be available for purchase from the Grandin.

Our newest BUZZ is a special two-part show featuring the Christiansburg Institute, with Spectrum Media Solutions, that airs Aug. 4 and Aug. 11 on Blue Ridge PBS. 

For 100 years, the Christiansburg Institute stood as one of the finest schools for Black Americans in Virginia. Founded in 1866 just a year after the Civil War put an end to slavery, Christiansburg Institute became a testament to African-American self-preservation, educating thousands of students on its 185-acre campus. Education giants such as Booker T. Washington served as superintendent. 

But in 1966 school integration finally took hold in Virginia … and Christiansburg Institute’s legacy was quite literally whitewashed away. Its academic buildings were shuttered. Its students scattered to previously whites-only schools. Its land subdivided and sold off. Today all that’s left is one abandoned building on four acres.

But there’s a group of passionate people dedicated to preserving its history … and creating a catalyst for community conversations, racial justice and change. 

We thank Woods Rogers Attorneys at LawCommunity Foundation of the New River Valley, and Partners in Financial Planning for their sponsorship support of this episode … and all of you who have been part of BUZZ during our inaugural year. 

C.A.T.S. to be featured on upcoming BUZZ 720 518 Michael Hemphill

C.A.T.S. to be featured on upcoming BUZZ

We are BUZZing 🐝 to announce that we start production later this month on a new episode featuring Children’s Assistive Technology Service — a no-cost resource for children with disabilities in Virginia who need adaptive equipment and whose families have limited resources.

The episode will air in September on Blue Ridge PBS and VPM. Sponsorship support for this show is being provided by ABLEnow, which helps individuals with disabilities save money to pay for qualified expenses, without being taxed on the earnings — and in most cases, without losing eligibility for certain means-tested benefit programs.

Thank you, ABLEnow, for being a buzz4good for Virginia families in need!

BUZZ features Blue Ridge Women’s Center 600 337 Michael Hemphill

BUZZ features Blue Ridge Women’s Center

As originally broadcast on May 5, 2021, on Blue Ridge PBS …

A woman confronting an unexpected pregnancy too often doesn’t know where to turn. Blue Ridge Women’s Center wants her to turn to the nonprofit and its free resources that support her pregnancy, her transition to motherhood, or her decision to make an adoption plan. 

Through an array of radio stations and digital marketing pros, Mel Wheeler, Inc., is spreading the nonprofit’s mission to help women “feel empowered to make the best decision for themselves and their families.”

This episode is sponsored in part by Beacon Wealth Consultants.

BUZZ produces “Friends of the Blue Ridge JAM” for PBS 1024 1024 Michael Hemphill

BUZZ produces “Friends of the Blue Ridge JAM” for PBS

As originally broadcast May 1, 2021, on Blue Ridge PBS …

“Friends of the Blue Ridge JAM” is a special hour-long concert by the Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc. (JAM), hosted by Friends of the Blue Ridge. This collaboration celebrates cultural arts along the Blue Ridge Parkway, focusing on how musical traditions are being passed along to the next generation through community JAM programs. The show is produced by BUZZ.

This collaboration celebrates cultural arts along the Blue Ridge Parkway, focusing on how musical traditions are being passed along to the next generation through community JAM programs. The show is produced by BUZZ.

The episode features five young musicians ages 11 to 17 who have gained great interest and talent in old time and bluegrass music by participating in JAM programs. The segment will feature a mix of old-time and bluegrass music as well as interviews and information about the important missions of Friends of the Blue Ridge and JAM.

This performing group has graced stages at FloydFest, Merlefest, HoustonFest, Knoxville’s WDVX Blue Plate Special, and the West Virginia Strawberry Festival. 

Sophia Puckett, 17, of Galax, Va., is a singer, clawhammer banjo, mandolin, and accordion player who has already evolved from JAM student to JAM teacher in less than ten years. “This experience has taught me how to reach out to kids and get them to want to learn about the music,” said Sophia about her recent transition from student to teacher. 

Logan Thompson, 14, of Glade Spring, Va., got his musical start in the two JAM programs serving Washington County and Smyth County. A multi-instrumentalist, as well, Logan plays upright bass and clawhammer banjo in a way that feels more like generations of experience, rather than only a few short years. 

To demonstrate the powerful impact place-based education can have on students, Savannah Hodges of Wytheville, Va., joined the cast. At age 11, she has only been playing fiddle for a few months, but music “runs in her family” back to her great grandfather, James Lindsey. Savannah will be participating in the Wythe County JAM program next school year. 

Graydon Shepherd, 12, of West Jefferson, N.C., has been playing the fiddle in the Ashe JAM program since third grade. Much of his fiddle repertoire is local to Ashe and Grayson musical history – an area that is known for being a hotbed of musicians. He cited one of his favorite songs to be, “Sugar Hill”, a tune that is heard commonly at local fiddlers conventions and jam sessions. 

Karlee Hamm, 13, of Lansing, N.C., also participates in Ashe JAM, where she has learned how to play guitar and sing from local teaching artists. Karlee has been winning prizes in youth contests since a young age, and enjoys performing with the New River JAM Band, of which Logan and Sophia are also members.

BUZZ | Episode 8 featuring Feeding Southwest Virginia 600 337 Michael Hemphill

BUZZ | Episode 8 featuring Feeding Southwest Virginia

As originally aired April 7, 2021, on Blue Ridge PBS

Feeding Southwest Virginia operates in 26 counties, serves 360 partner agencies, feeds 100,000 people a month or $30 million worth of food a year.

But there’s one number especially important this year: 40. That’s the number of years that the nonprofit has been serving the region in 2021.

Helping Feeding Southwest Virginia celebrate this milestone is Access Advertising, joined by BOSS Motion Picture Company and Boyd Pearman Photography … with a couple of other surprises from the region’s leaders.