Concert will benefit Barns, Blue Ridge Wildlife center

Posted: February 14, 2013

The Winchester Star

This young bald eagle fractured both its wings when it struck a power pole. The wings needed to be repaired surgically and are almost completely healed. In this photo Dr. Belinda Burwell is checking the progress of the healing while the eagle is waking from anesthesia.
Where’s Aubrey

Berryville — The Barns of Rose Hill is going to the birds — and the foxes, turtles, and bats.

The venue at 95 Chalmers Court in Berryville will hold a joint fundraiser for itself and the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Saturday featuring Americana group Where’s Aubrey, said Cheryl Ash, the Barns’ executive director.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. with a reception at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

The duo behind Where’s Aubrey — Gary McGraw of Clarke County and Rhine Singleton of New Hampshire — are donating their time for the concert so all proceeds can go to the two organizations, Ash said.

“They did a concert last year like this for the Blue Ridge Hospice at the Barns of Rose Hill and it was a complete sellout,” she said. “We had standing room only because people love to hear them. They are really good.”

The performance will include original songs written by guitar player Singleton that McGraw has embellished with improvisation on the fiddle and mandolin. The songs range in sound from old-time folk music to modern jazz.

The duo likes to create a homey atmosphere at their concerts, bringing home decor such as an orange chair, a lamp, and a rug onstage when they perform.

Most of the evening will feature only Where’s Aubrey, but members of McGraw’s other band, The Bitter Liberals, will help end the show. Members of that band are McGraw, Allen Kitselman of Berryville on guitar, Clark Hansbarger of Clarke County, guitar, and Mike Jewell of Waterford, congas.

“I love playing with both bands, but since we are so geographically far apart, I haven’t gotten them all together before,” McGraw said. “It should be interesting.”

The money raised for the wildlife center near Millwood will go toward its capital campaign, a $650,000 project to build a new building where it can help animals, said Dr. Belinda Burwell, founder, director, and veterinarian. Fundraising has reached about halfway so far.

The center has vastly outgrown the 200-year-old, 800-square-foot house where it currently resides, she said.

“We need more room for the animals and staff,” she said. “We would also like to be able to host education programs and be able to invite the public.”

In 2012, the center rescued 1,793 animals, Burwell said. It helps many more through its 24-hour wildlife hotline by giving advice to the public on things like getting baby birds back in their nests.

The center currently has about 75 animals, and this is the center’s slow season, said Heather Sparks, certified wildlife rehabilitator. Some of its patients include a hawk with lead poisoning, a fox that got stuck in a leg trap, an eastern screech owl that was hit by a car, and bats that needed a place to hibernate.

“If people find them in their homes, and want them out, which they usually do, and if they just throw them out in the winter, they can sometimes die because they need a nice warm place to hibernate over the winter,” she said. “People call us, and we give them a nice warm place to hibernate over the winter.”

Come summer, the center often has more than 300 animals as they come out of hibernation and have babies, Burwell said.

Performing a benefit for the wildlife center is exciting for the duo behind Where’s Aubrey. McGraw, who is the CTO of software company Cigital, has helped the center in the past, and Singleton is a practicing field ecologist and a professor at Franklin Pierce College.

The pair started playing together in 1985, when they both were attending the University of Virginia as undergraduates. They formed Where’s Aubrey in 2001 and started performing concerts about six years ago.

Since they are successful in their professions, the pair always donates the proceeds from their concerts to charity, McGraw said. To date, they have raised about $11,000 for different charities.

One of those was a concert in 2012 at the Barns for Blue Ridge Hospice. The concert raised $2,634, he said.

McGraw said he is looking forward to returning to play at the Barns because “the audience is so attentive to the song writing and the emotional content of the songs.”

“They really get into the performance and the writing,” he said. “It is a great joy to play for people who are such careful and experienced listeners.”

Information

Where’s Aubrey will perform for a fundraiser for the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center and the Barns of Rose Hill Saturday at the Barn, Berryville. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. with a reception at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 advance and $20 at the door. For more information, call 540-955-2004 or go to barnsofrosehill.org.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com.