Affordability is in no way an indicator of quality. Lynchburg, for example, is one of the smallest cities in the country that boasts both a symphony orchestra and an opera company.
The Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra includes nationally known musicians and musicians from throughout the Region. Opera on the James has the same broad appeal, attracting singers from across the U.S. for its annual performance season. Local singers also perform with Opera on the James, and the Opera has community outreach programs.
The Bedford Artisan Trail showcases 80-plus artists, craftsmen, orchards, wineries, and others who support the arts and agri-tourism.
Amherst Glebe Arts Response hosts classical concerts in Amherst County. At the Bower Center for the Arts in Bedford, you can enjoy bluegrass and other concerts, and develop your own artistic skills with music and art classes.
The Jefferson Choral Society, the Region’s “largest classical chorus,” has a repertoire that includes everything from Mozart to show tunes. The group has performed locally and at Carnegie Hall, the Washington National Cathedral, and across Europe.
For more than 40 years, Little Town Players has presented live theater in the Town of Bedford. Lynchburg’s Endstation Theatre Company hosts a summer series, featuring re-imagined versions of well-known plays and works by budding playwrights from throughout the U.S.
In Appomattox, Wolfbane Productions offers an edgy array of theatrical experiences. Past shows have included Evil Dead: The Musical and Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. Wolfbane also hosts a ghost tour at Old Crawford Farm—reportedly the “number one most haunted location in the state of Virginia.”
Renaissance Theatre, Lynchburg’s oldest community theater, is known for its ambitious productions, including The Full Monty. There are community theaters in Appomattox and Rustburg, too.
In the early 1900s, Lynchburg’s Academy of Music—now the Academy Center of the Arts—presented such entertainment icons as Sarah Bernhardt, Harry Houdini, and The Three Stooges. Extensive renovations are currently under way to return the Academy to its original Beaux-Arts glory.
Despite construction, the Academy regularly hosts concerts, movie nights, plays, gallery exhibits, art talks, and classes. It is quickly becoming a hub for the Region’s arts scene.
The Region’s colleges and universities contribute to the arts ecosystem as well, hosting concerts, lectures, art shows, and plays. Liberty University also has a professional theater group, Alluvion Stage Company, in residence. Liberty’s Winterfest, a weekend of concerts and activities held over the New Year’s weekend, has attracted tens of thousands of young visitors to the Region over the past 15 years. Winterfest routinely draws people from across the east coast, including Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
Public schools across the Region have well-regarded theater programs. Lynchburg’s E.C. Glass High School has performed a wide array of Broadway musicals, including Les Miserables and Jesus Christ Superstar, while Dunbar Middle School, also in Lynchburg, fearlessly takes on such classics as South Pacific and Singin’ in the Rain.
The Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College exhibits work by such notable artists as Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper. Galleries at Randolph and other colleges in the Region are open to the public and host openings and other events.
Each September, the Lynchburg Art Festival attracts artists and art lovers from across Virginia. On “First Fridays,” Lynchburg’s downtown art spaces welcome visitors. The town of Bedford hosts a similar event on “Second Fridays.”
The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, in Amherst County, is a nationally known retreat for writers, artists, and composers. For budding artists, classes are offered by parks and recreation departments and other organizations. There are several art clubs in the Region as well.