Winchester Barn Dance to support Blue Ridge Hospice

By Josette Keelor

WINCHESTER — Picture it, a barn two miles south of Winchester, white lights shining above a dancing crowd, music by a Johnny Cash tribute band singing out into a night iced with stars, and all the proceeds for Blue Ridge Hospice.

That’s the image local band The Cash Express had in mind for the Winchester Barn Dance on June 20. Now, with only three short weeks to go, they say they need the community’s help in making it a real foot stomping good time.

Seeking food vendors, band vocalist Melinda Bremmer said they hope to find a local Rotary Club or other civic organization to sell food as a fundraiser that evening.

Tickets, $20 in advance and $25 at the door, are available at All Tune & Lube in Kernstown, Italian Touch in Middletown, Shenandoah Valley Artworks in Strasburg, Miller’s Ace Hardware in Stephens City, Southern States in Stephens City, at Winchester Book Gallery and at Blue Ridge Hospice, 333 West Cork St., Suite 405. They’re also available online at winchesterbarndance.weebly.com/.

“Our target is to sell a minimum of 300 tickets. I want to sell 500,” Bremmer said.

“I’d really like to raise a substantial amount of money ’cause health care’s expensive.”

The band was inspired to help Blue Ridge Hospice after guitarist Mark Barreres told them of the exceptional end of life hospice care his mother-in-law recently received.

“It was wonderful,” he said.

But hospice relies on community donations to offset money not reimbursed by Medicare or insurance, said Blue Ridge Hospice Director of Development Jeanne Mezzatesta.

“Our policy is to never turn anyone away,” she said.

Luckily, they often receive offers like this from community members who want to help.

“I think we touch a lot of lives and people like to do things in return,” she said.

Fundraisers directly support the patient care fund that provides money to patients without insurance or those who can’t afford to pay, as well as music therapy, chaplaincy and bereavement programs. Last year Blue Ridge Hospice provided $367,900 to community members needing hospice care.

“Without those contributions, we couldn’t do what we do,” Mezzatesta said.

She said when Bremmer contacted her about supporting hospice with proceeds from the barn dance she thought it was a great idea.

“Events like this really make a difference,” she said. “It just sounds like a really neat venue.”

Planned at the historic Cloverdale Barn, on Cedar Creek Grade 1.7 miles south of Va. 37, the dance will include wine vendors Wicked Oak Winery of Star Tannery and Winchester Ballroom. Music will feature The Cash Express doing what it does best: performing hits by country music stars Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.

Bremmer as June Carter Cash and Lee Blanton as Johnny Cash will perform hits like “Jackson,” “Ring of Fire” and “Get Rhythm” with Barreres on electric guitar, Buddy Wolfe on banjo and mandolin and Steve Spence on bass.

“We do a Johnny Cash tribute show,” Bremmer said. “This is our first barn dance.”

The Winchester Barn Dance will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. June 20. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets will be $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For more information, visit winchesterbarndance.weebly.com/ or email Melinda Bremmer at OurFarmstoYou@gmail.com

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com>